The marathon is a very special distance. Anyone who has ventured this distance will know. It’s the perfect required combination of endurance and speed. Let alone the mental strength.

Finishing a marathon is a special feat…

..But finishing your first marathon at the age of 66 is unbelievably special.

More than that, finishing your first marathon at age 66 in a virtual event on your own and smashing your goal time by 10 minutes is extraordinary!

Judy Christmas has been following the CoachParry Running Through Menopause Training Framework for just over 2 months. She took up running only 4 years ago, in order to keep up with the grandchildren (although I highly doubt they’re running 26.2 miles).

But after suffering from constant injuries 2 or 3 years in her training, she realised she was not training correctly and decided to seek out specialist advice. She stumbled across the Coach Parry Running Through Menopause Training Framework and has thrived since. 

Judy’s goal was to run the London Marathon this year. Obviously, COVID had other ideas, but this did not deter Judy from still attempting the virtual race.

We all know how different virtual races can be, they lack the atmosphere and adrenaline rush big marathon races provide.

Nonetheless, Judy had trained hard up until this point and was not going to let the virtual aspect hold her back. (Neither was she going to let the horrid London weather hold her back either).

Her goal time for her first marathon was 5hr30. Judy decided to head out in the cold, wet and (by not only sunny South African standards) really tough conditions….

She had planned her route, albeit somewhat hilly, around friend’s houses for the support, and landed up running 5h19, smashing her goal time by 11 minutes!

Can you just imagine what she would have run in the usual London Marathon atmosphere!?

These journeys are very seldom without their struggles and for Judy, aside from her previous injuries, she had struggled to get her fueling and nutrition right for the longest time. 

As she joined Team Coach Parry, we had just released our Practical Nutrition for the Over 50’s Runner online video course. And when Judy raised her issues with fueling in the Coach Parry Forum, the team sent her this resource straight away, to which Judy partly credits her success. 

I asked Judy what it is about the Coach Parry Online Training Club she enjoys most…

“The forum is brilliant. Being able to ask questions, any questions, and know that these would be answered quickly is fantastic. Also it’s really interesting looking at other runners questions because often one may have the same question or raise a point of interest that can be really useful to others.” 

I just love success stories like this! People loving their running and succeeding in personal goals is what running is all about. 

Judy’s passion for running shines through and we’re extremely proud to have been a part of her journey! 

Judy’s future goals are to run next year’s London Marathon in sub5 hours (hopefully it’s not a virtual event), she would also like to attempt a triathlon. 

We’re excited to help Judy get to these goals and to have been a part of her success story! Here’s to many more!


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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