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50th Blog and a Marathon

April 30, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Updates

50th Blog and a Marathon


Believe it or not we are marking the 50th Blog already, and the Marathon I am referring to is neither the journey to get to this posting or the chocolate bar now known as Snickers. It’s about one of Cunard’s Officers who ran the London Marathon last Sunday. Before we get to that I would like to thank everyone who has logged on over the last eight months and of course all the support I get from Guest Bloggers and Interviewees not forgetting Shelley, Matt and Richard for all their support back in Southampton. I am hoping that we will continue to develop new ideas as the Blog evolves.


After all the excitement of the World Cruises, Queen Mary 2 is settling in to her Transatlantic season and I hope to get another guest Blog from someone on her soon. Meanwhile on Queen Victoria we are coming to the end of a very successful first voyage of the summer season. Before this week’s guest Blog here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week of the 1st to the 7th May:


May 1 2004


QE2 and Queen Mary 2 arrive in Southampton – the first time two Cunard Queens have been in the company’s home port since 1967. QE2 relinquishes the title of flagship to RMS Queen Mary 2. QE2 is the longest serving Cunard flagship.


May 2 1969


QE2 Maiden Voyage. Southampton to New York – 4 days, 16 Hours & 35 Minutes – she had become the only ship left offering a scheduled transatlantic service.


May 2 2005


Queen Elizabeth 2 marked 36 years of service on Monday, May 2 when she arrived back in Southampton. A special birthday party was held on board to honor the ship, with pecial guests including nine former and current Captains as well as 80 year old John Whitworth OBE, who was the Managing Director of Cunard Line at the time of QE2’s introduction and who was instrumental in the ship’s construction.


May 3 1982


Queen Elizabeth 2 is requisitioned by the British Government for the Falkland Islands campaign. Cunard Countess is also chartered for use in the conflict.


Sally Spiers is a Personnel and Training Manager who has worked on Queen Victoria and most recently on Queen Mary 2.  Guests often find it interesting to hear what we get up to when we’re on leave; well how about this? I first heard about Sally’s intention to run the 26 mile London Marathon on the 26th of April, a month ago when she was busy training on board Queen Mary 2 during the World Cruise. Here she is being encouraged by Captain Nick Bates, David Stephenson (Hotel Manager) and Brian Wattling (Chief Engineer).



It’s a great story so here’s Sally tell you all about it: –


Special Guest Blog – Sally Spiers Personnel and Training Manager – Queen Mary 2

The words ‘World Cruise’ always conjure up so many thoughts and images, and the diversity that individuals gain from the experience is immense. For me the 2009 World cruise will be an epoch in my life, and something that I will never forget. Firstly, it’s been my very first world cruise and the fact that it’s on Queen Mary 2 makes it unforgettable. Secondly, I made the mammoth commitment to run the London Marathon and raise funds for the British Red Cross.


With me disembarking on the 20th of April and the Marathon taking place just six days later, all my training had to take place on board. The most common question I was asked, (and often by guests) was; “How do you train and how can you possibly prepare your body for such a great challenge whilst the majority of your time is spent sailing across oceans?” Well it’s simple, everything you do from the second you wake up turns into part of your training plan, whether it be walking up the 14 flights of stairs or pacing laps around the deck at lunch time (3 laps is the equivalent of just over a mile, making a staggering 78 laps to match the Marathon itself). Not being a regular runner I followed all of the advice offered, and got myself a training plan. However, I quickly concluded these were designed for people who work 5 days a week and have evenings free (not really conducive to ship life). It was only at the latter stages of my training that I realised how training on the ship helped me more than I could possibly have imagined.


A lot of my deck training at sea was generally against a strong breeze and a great resistance workout (really helping you to control your breathing). Training in the heat and immense humidity of the Caribbean, India, and Egypt made me focus on digging deep in terms of body strength and breathing. When the deck was busy, I relied on the treadmill and learned to hill run. Please don’t think that training on board has been easy, quite the contrary, it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Everyone knows that working on a ship consists of long working hours, and trying to find an extra two or three hours in your day is a challenge in itself (let alone getting yourself motivated). I think the hardest part was the commitment and the discipline (especially with so many amazing ports to visit). While my friends were off enjoying the amazing local cuisine and tourist sites, I explored the ports in a different way; Forest Gump style! Mind you, I do believe the best way to explore any port is to run around it. You see some truly amazing things including Copacabana beach, the bright lights of Hong Kong and Sydney Opera house. All these memories helped me through my 26 miles. Here I am taking a few moments away from training.



As you would expect with life at sea, my fellow crew members have been incredibly supportive. I’ve been touched by the extreme efforts of my colleagues, from magazine articles on running to collections of sponsorship. The health and fitness team were consistently on hand with TLC and advice. The Mess team ensured I was “carbed up”; it was like having lots of mums on board. It was a fantastic training; after all, how many people can say that they’ve ran around the world to train for the London Marathon. That’s what the Queen Mary 2 does; it makes your dreams become reality! Even the team on Queen Victoria sent many goodwill messages, which just goes to show how much of a family we are.


The day itself was the most amazing and surreal thing that I’ve ever done; it was fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone!


The first 7 miles flew by and I was making really good time (apart from the 15 minutes that it took for me to queue for the loo during the 4th mile….nerves I think). In honesty the first ten miles were fairly easy and comfortable. The crowds were amazing and everyone was so supportive, that you couldn’t help but love every second.


By about 12 miles I didn’t feel so good; not tired or leg pains but with a terrible stitch. I had to slow down for a while, but still kept going. By the time I got to the 18th mile it was becoming a real struggle but despite not feeling good, I never for a second thought of giving up.  


The last five miles were fantastic. Passing Katie Price and Peter Andre was clearly a highlight! As you can imagine, you have to do a little sprint to the finish line and it felt amazing. It was great to have so many friends and family waiting. I managed it in 6 hours 27 minutes which although was a little longer than I hoped. I am just so happy I did it.

Since then I must admit I have been incredibly stiff and today I found a leaflet they gave me; “The Chicago Marathon – 11th October! Tempting but I’ll think about that after some rest.


I’d like to thank everyone for all the amazing messages, and I’m not being cheesy when I say that it was those messages and good thoughts that got me through the tough miles. I’m proud to say I’ve reached well over my $2000 target and money is still coming in – so thanks again!


Thank you Sally so much for sharing your inspiring story and of course our congratulations for your incredible achievement. You can still donate something if you wish by going to the following website: –




That’s it for another week but I’ll be back soon with more news so thank you again for logging on to this 50th Blog and please keep those comments and questions coming in. Cheers Alastair

  1. Christian Reay says:

    Congratulations on your 50th blog! Its good to see Queen Mary 2 back in her element on the transatlantic circuit and Queen Victoria taking over QE2′s mantle on ex-UK voyages to/from Southampton.

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