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Nic Berry on life after rugby

With just under two months to go to the London Marathon, Nic Berry tells us how his training is going!

Berry was forced to retire from professional rugby earlier in the season and is running the London Marathon for London Wasps Club charity Mind, alongside strength and conditioning coach Ian Taplin.

By Nic Berry

“After a few weeks with a sore knee I was delighted to get a good run in over the weekend and that’s left me feeling very positive now as we count down the weeks to the Marathon.

I’m thankful to the medical staff at Wasps – Terry Evans and Cassandra Gramozi – who helped me get it right as I was a little worried given how close the big day is! It has taken my body a bit of time to adjust to long distance running – which you never do as a rugby player – so I have had a few niggles since I started training. The physios would call what I had runners knee – which is quite nice - but it’s fine now again. I was getting a little bit antsy seeing everybody out running while I was resting up so I need to knuckle down again and get my runs in.

I decided to do the Marathon not long after being forced to retire. I needed something to focus on and I wanted to stick something in my diary which gave me something else to think about and when I spoke to a few guys in the office at Wasps it was something that came up and really appealed to me. The Marathon is not something you can fake, you have to put the work in and it has really helped me make the transition from playing.

At the moment I am running about three times a week - using routes around Fulham, Putney and Hyde Park – with two short runs in the week and one longer one at the weekend.

I have never done anything like this before and it’s been a good experience. I've been really surprised by how much I've enjoyed the training. Afterwards I would love to look at something like an ultra-marathon or something really endurance related. That sort of thing really appeals to me though it may be a few years down the line. I love watching guys like Ben Fogle and James Cracknell and what they do, it definitely inspires me to do something really out there, something that tests me mentally, not just physically.

Over the last few months I have been really lucky that lots of areas of my life have fallen into place and that has made my transition from rugby easier.

The first major change was the birth of my daughter Mila Eve in January so having her alongside our 19 month old Will has kept my wife and I really busy!

Away from that I am also now well down a career path in teaching which was always my aim after rugby. I already had a degree and now I am adding to that with more qualifications and I’ve completed my practical placements as well in the last few months in Harrow. I have been offered a place at Harrow School for the next academic year which I am really excited about. It is a fantastic school and will be a great challenge for me.

I am also still around the Club a lot. My wife and I moved to London not knowing a single person so the majority of my friends here are associated with Wasps. It is definitely getting easier to see the boys out there the busier I am. I can watch now and not get too emotional about it. It's hard though when you watch them play and know the moves they are calling and who is supposed to be where and doing what. I know that in time when this group of players move on, I'll be able to watch a Wasps' game and not feel that pang of pain.

I am really pleased for everyone here that things have been so much better this season. I always knew that would happen to be honest and one of the reasons we wanted to stay here and I wanted to keep playing here is because I wanted to be part of that.

Dai Young is a fantastic guy – the best coach I have ever had - then you have you some amazing young guys who have so talented here that it’s scary. The next 18 months or so are very exciting for everyone at this Club and it’s going to be great to watch it.

For me running will be a big part of my life now until after April 21 but I’ve got a lot else going on now to keep me very busy!

I succumbed to joining Twitter last week and am feeling my way with it! If you want to follow me you can do so but don’t expect too much! I am using @nicberrywasps

If you’d like to sponsor Tappers and myself the Marathon, here is the link – we are raising for Mind, a fantastic charity with a big association with the Club so please give generously!

Thanks everyone!