In the news
Who is he?
Gareth Lloyd, 43, is head of Ratcliffe College, a co-educational day and boarding school for children aged three to 18, in Leicestershire. Next month, he is running the London Marathon and is using it to create and promote "Team Ratcliffe" for next year's race.
And who is he running for?
"For the Brain and Spine Foundation. I have two friends who are wheelchair-bound from spinal injuries, and in my first school we lost a student to a spine accident, so it's personal," Mr Lloyd explains. "I have run the marathon, and other races, several times, and my charities tend to be child-orientated. Someone's got to do it; while I've got legs, I'll use them."
This should be a breeze then?
"Now that I'm a head I can't train as much as I used to. When I do train, I go for intensity rather than distance, which is my key to success. When I have to work and go without training, it's frustrating. Running is the best stress-relief, our lives are phenomenally busy and you can't find time to go to the gym. I create time for running; I train late at night or very early in the morning and at the weekend."
What do his pupils think?
"They really enjoy it. I think the pupils like it because it gives me a good story to tell. And they follow the marathon with interest; they cheer me on at the sideline in the local races. For this marathon, they're organising something pretty big, I think a few are coming down, perhaps a coach-load with banners. I don't know what they've planned."
So it's the kids who keep him going?
"Yes, that and my appallingly huge appetite. I eat like there's no tomorrow, but it's healthily. My wife will be cooking me a lovely meal to have after I cross the finish line. It'll be my favourite, duck (preferably two) on a bed of rice with vegetables in garlic."
What are his plans after the race?
"I'll be back at the boarding school that same evening. I have a senior management meeting at 8.15am the next day and headmaster's assembly straight afterwards. I've done so many runs; I know how to look after myself."
And Team Ratcliffe?
"That's next year. I want to create a fund for the Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust and get a team of staff and parents to run the marathon in its aid. In July each year, the charity takes children with a range of disabilities on a pilgrimage; we send three or four sixth-formers but they have to fund themselves. I want the fund to support more sixth-formers to take more children away."