Zoltan, our Marathon-Finisher!

Zoltan after running the Marathon

Zoltan Zolyomi completed the London Marathon 2023!

Zoltan, wow you just ran a Marathon, what an incredible achievement! We’d love to hear more about your experience running the London Marathon 2023 for The Audley Foundation.

What motivated you to do the Marathon?

The challenge, I thrive on it. I am a qualified PE teacher and finished university in Hungary which is where my love for all sports comes from. I played semi-professional football and amateur tennis but unfortunately had 3 operations on my knees, so I had to give up football.

With work, sport moved down on my to do list over the years but few years ago I started running and it felt so good. I have done a few 10k runs and 2 half marathons but I never thought my knees would hold for 26 miles. Yet they worked. I was lucky to be picked out from the Ballot.

You ran for The Audley Foundation. What about the Foundation inspired you?

I worked for 4 - 5 star hotels in the United States and the UK for about 18 years before joining Audley 5 years ago. Taking care of people's needs became my passion. This was just an “obvious thing to do” to link the run with this amazing charity. More about The Audley Foundation.

Is it your first Marathon?

Yes, but if my knees let me not the last one.

What’s the furthest you’d run before this?

16.5 miles.

Do you consider yourself ‘a runner’?

Not really… I might start thinking about it.

Did you do anything special to prepare the day before the Marathon?

I travelled to London to pick up my number and then walked around in the city. Those who know me well know I love being in London. It’s a beautiful city. We had an early dinner in my favourite chef’s restaurant (Gordon Ramsey's, who has himself run 13 Marathons), then rested and drank plenty of water.

During the 26.2 miles, was there a breaking point?

At miles 18 I ran my tank dry.

What kept you going?

Jelly babies… Joking aside, I just took every mile one by one from there. 100m, walk, rest, run, and repeat. And thinking about people who mean a lot to me and dedicating miles to them.

Who was cheering you on?

My wife Anita came with me to London, but I felt the whole team at Audley was with me and helping. Lots of people were tracking me on the app and I had so many messages before and after. Of course one mile was ran for them all after the 18th.

What was your treat food after the Marathon?

Lots of cheese and Parma ham with nice bread.

What surprised you most about the experience?

That I always listen music when I run, but here I put my EarPods away. The music was nothing compare to the noise of the streets, the crowd was just unbelievable from mile one to the finish line. Amazing atmosphere!

Will you run another and if so what would you do differently next time?

I’ve already put my name in for the 2024 ballot so let’s see what happens. I will try running to 20 miles 3 weeks before the race to aim to bring my time down to around 4.5 hours.

Now you’re ‘a runner’, do you have any advice for others thinking of running a half or full Marathon?

Don’t think about it, just do it! It's worth every 4am wake up for training and all the pain. Follow a training plan and trust it, it does the work.

How does your body feel the day after?

It feels like a herd of elephants ran over me!!

Do you have any regrets?

Maybe not reaching 20 mile at training to allow me to achieve sub 5 hours time. I will next time.

Can you describe in three words the feeling of crossing the finish line?

Proud Satisfied Happy