Interview: The Marathon author Philippa Cates

When Philippa Cates first posted her spoof rhyming story ‘The Marathon’ on the Run Mummy Run Facebook Group, it was an instant hit with our running community. We are delighted to announce that Philippa’s story is now available to purchase as a fully illustrated book.

 You can purchase Philippa’s book here now. By doing so, a percentage of  the sales will be put back into the Run Mummy Run community to help furnish our cheer squads with a new banner. Philippa also promises to number and sign the first 50 books sold to Run Mummy Run community members, so get shopping!

Run Mummy Run caught up with Philippa just after her book was launched.

Front cover of the Marathon by Philippa Cates Run Mummy Run

What is your book about?

The Marathon is a cheeky, but family-friendly satirical rhyming story that follows our hero, Runner, as he takes on the gruelling business of training for and running a marathon. Not a natural athlete, and with a weakness for cake and socialising, Runner faces many distractions along the way. But will he complete his challenge?

It’s been illustrated by the hugely talented artist, Terry Cooper, who has captured my characters perfectly; I particularly like when Runner meets The Marathon for the first time!

I’m so pleased that some money from the book sales will be put towards banners for the Run Mummy Run cheer squads up and down the country. In my opinion, there’s nothing like the boost you get from people encouraging you during a race!

What inspired you to write it?

While I was training for the Virgin London Marathon 2017, I realised how single-minded I had become, even turning down social events because I had a long run in the morning.

I spent a lot of time during those long weekend runs trying to distract myself from all my aches and pains – and the many miles I still had left to cover – and started thinking about the temptations that could get in the way of a training programme.

I’m a huge fan of the comedy grown-up spoof books that are now available, and thought I could apply similar humour to marathon training. One morning, while I was dragging myself through a Saturday morning 15-miler, I started drafting The Marathon in my head. I think it was only the fact that I wanted to get back and write down my ideas that actually got me home that day!

However, it was the overwhelming support I got from the Run Mummy Run community when I posted the original version of my story online that prompted me to get it illustrated and published.

Illustrated marathon runner Run Mummy Run

Have you always been a runner?

Yes and no. At school, I was a keen cross-country runner, but then had to take a long break from running. I’ve told the story before of how I got into long-distance running, but it’s worth telling again as it’s testament to what the body is capable of, even as it gets older.

I finally got back into jogging shortly before I met my husband, Dave. I wasn’t covering many miles and my idea of a run was 20 minutes around the local park before a refreshing beverage. Dave, on the other hand, had recently completed an Iron Man distance triathlon, and the jog round the park constituted his warm-up.

Our first runs together were a not-so romantic combination of endless waiting (him) and incessant whinging (me) as I failed to make it past half an hour without glucose and/or thoughts of exchanging him for a slower model.

One hazy evening in the pub, I allegedly agreed to do a half-marathon with him. Our training runs took place during winter evenings and involved head torches and wet feet. I thought we were crazy; a sentiment shared by our babysitter. However, that heady mix of endorphins, Lycra™ and Deep Heat soon became a way of life and I’ve not looked back.

Do you have other stories in mind?

Yes! My next book should be out next year and I am sure many of the Run Mummy Run community will relate to it. In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy The Marathon.

Marathon runner Phillipa Cates running arms aloft Run Mummy Run


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