I’ve always had a deep love of running and found it is the easiest and cheapest way to exercise, as you only need trainers and as a lady a good sports bra, then you can nip out whenever is practical. I could not class myself as an elite runner but with the right support I have improved and I do ok.
I did a few races when I was at university, but back in the early 90s the competition was tough and this can be very disheartening, we are lucky that everyone who enters races nowadays is appreciated for their efforts and treated the same whether they come first or last.
I started running with Sutton Harriers some years ago, mainly because I took my son and as he was under 11 I had to stay on site, so I thought I may as well join in. They have some great coaches and I had real praise and encouragement from them.
I then went on to join parkrun, at Mansfield, in 2012. There were 28 of us and it was a tossup between me and a friend who would be last, there were some real speedy ones there. I have made some really good friendships through park run and I know some elite runners who support me and I support them. The supporting environment, irrespective of ability builds confidence and it may surprise you to know that even some elite runners are not confident in their abilities. Parkrun has grown so big since then and I am only at the back if I tail walk (as a volunteer) these days, it has opened up to all abilities.
In August 2017, I had a slipped disc the pain was incredible, I had booked into Robin Hood Half, which was 5 weeks away. Every footstep was painful but every day putting myself through the pain barrier I could do more. I pushed myself such that by Robin Hood Half I not only supported a friend but managed to run the first 10 miles and drag myself round the rest. I did it! Knowing that I could achieve and with a disappointing rejection from London I went onto to do Boston Marathon, with a very slow ultra as part of the training (once it’s in your head you can do more than 26.2 miles you know you can do it!). Since then I have done a number of other marathons and ultras (where I love the freedom of being out in the countryside).
I have helped others achieve their goals and in 2018 I was voted goats’ goat of the year (mountain goats running club) for the support I had given others and for the fact I helped others achieve more than they believed they could.
I then joined Kirkby Klaxons and subsequently NWR, where I have met yet more wonderful people, who again help support each other and build confidence. What I see time and time again is that there are some amazing runners out there, who lack confidence not ability. So I have been part of the journey for some runners from the couch to 5k and seen them graduate, which was an amazing experience. It was incredible to see some of these ladies go on to achieve their first marathon.
Last year I set up Ashfield Triathlon group, a few of us who had never tried a triathlon before decided to try York super sprint. I went to a training course and got all the information of how they are run, we were all very nervous about making sure we did everything in the rules but an hour later we were done and surprised ourselves. We were elated.
Since then, I have joined Chesterfield Tri Club, as I needed to learn freestyle (front crawl), to give me a better chance of competing and I won the club for best improver. Lock down proved a challenge with restrictions on when you could go out and who you could go out with. I did some virtual events, including the London virtual Marathon and it was entered into the Guiness book of records for the largest remote mass participation event. So I have a certificate for joining in the event and being part of achieving this record. After events started opening up again took on a few triathlons. I also completed my longest running event so far the Dukeries 40 (actually 42 miles) around Sherwood Forest. I have done Boston Marathon UK again, and Loch Ness Marathon (in was hilly cold and wet at times), unfortunately I didn’t see Nessie in the Loch. I was the first person to complete the Sherwood six pack, a series of runs in Sherwood Forest that add up to 26.2 miles, which I did in a day. I won the award for endurance running from Chesterfield tri-Club and Sutton Harriers AC. I have also been awarded with the “best influencer” from Chesterfield Tri club for the help and support I have given others and for the number of women I have brought into the sport. I have set up an informal women’s running group (Women In North Nottinghamshire Enjoying Running Socially), where we do funs runs and activities. We did a Christmas Santa run for Women’s Refuge and an Easter Event to provide seeds for a garden at the NHS. I do like to prove that you are never to old to do something new. So, I am now putting running and cycling challenges into my agenda. I have been accepted on Swim Serpentine in September a 2-mile swim around Hyde Park’s lake serpentine. The chance of a place at London Marathon (the real event!) came from “Hear Together” has come form a charity in Nottingham, whereby I can run the marathon if I raise funds for the charity. If I complete these and the London 100-mile bike ride, I will complete the London Classics.
Probably the best thing about the sports I have been involved in, is not the health benefits although these are good but the people and friendships I have made along the way. I have met some truly amazing people who are achieving extraordinary results and yet still remain humble and supportive to others. When I am surrounding by such people it does become infectious and one minute you are entering a 5k then next moment you are running an ultra around Derby. I can not tell you how amazing you feel when you cross the finish line of any endurance event, you are exhausted and elated all at once.
I would like you to support me in raising money for this amazing charity but also get involved.