- How long have you been running and what inspired you to take up running as a hobby?
I used to run at school in the Cross-Country team, and on sports day as well as the local athletics club. I was actually quite good for my school, but soon discovered teenage things were more interesting. I started running again when my daughter was little and I needed something that I could do around parenting and working full time. I think I got inspired to do Knowle Fun Run one year and it started there. After doing the Moonwalk with a group of friends Jo Tork inspired me to try Knowle and Dorridge RC and I’ve been hooked ever since.
I have since become a running leader, running coach and a fitness instructor to support others to develop a love and knowledge for fitness and running. I particularly want to focus on supporting people with disabilities and mental health conditions to discover and enjoy fitness/running.
- What is it that you enjoy about running?
I don’t think I particularly enjoy it while I am running, but the after buzz is amazing. It has taken me to some amazing places whether being a parkrun tourist, local club races, exploring the local off-road routes (especially over lockdown) or taking myself out of my comfort zone and pushing my body to limits I would not have done if I didn’t run. Most importantly the friends and people I have got to know through running has been great as I didn’t grow up in Solihull and have needed to make friends out of work and family. I love the community spirit whether I am run director at parkrun, coaching for the club or just encouraging others to take up and enjoy running.
- Do you prefer to run alone or with other people?
I’m happy with either but lockdown has made me realise how much I have missed running with friends. It seems less difficult when you are with friends.
- What is your favourite distance to run/race and why?
I’m currently training for London Marathon, but I think a half marathon is something I feel I don’t need to train for anymore. I just need to work on my pace now.
- What is your biggest running achievement and why?
I did the Yorkshire Marathon in October 2018, wow it hurt, it was a very difficult mental and physical challenge, but I did it. It rained consistently all the way around. 5 hours of running in the rain in a vest and shorts. Every muscle hurt, I had no energy and at times it was getting harder to put one foot in front of the other. It got harder as the crowds dispersed and the surrounding runners got less, but like me I talked to anyone whether they wanted to listen or not. I tried calling my family when it got very tough and none of them answered so I just talked to myself in the end. I said never again unless I ever gained a place in London and that happened sooner than I thought, so if I go again (fingers crossed Covid doesn’t cancel it again this year).
- What has been your lowest/toughest running moment and why?
Getting injured in December, so I joined Rob on the side lines cheering on other club members as he was injured too, and as I couldn’t do anything and still wanted to be involved somehow. The hardest day was going to watch parkrun on New Year’s Day as we always do that day. I went to watch at both Brueton and Kingsbury and felt sad that I couldn’t join in. Some runs can seem harder than others and sometimes I can’t pin point why, sometimes it’s just one of those days.
- Have you ever had to take a break from running due to injury?
Yes, December 2019 for a month. I got hamstring tendinopathy and I know feel I am an expert on tendons as I must have researched it a million times to work out how to get it better again. Even now in July it can still get tender occasionally but I’ve learnt how to manage it (hence why I’m typing as it’s a sore day and it’s raining) Strength work, rest and respect for the tendon is key to recovery.
- Do you do any other forms of exercise to aid/compliment your running?
Yes, I like to mix up my exercise. When the gyms are open, I like to focus on strength work and swimming. I try to join in with a yoga class too to keep some flexibility in my legs, and butt muscles as this can support my running ability.
- What are your running goals/targets for the next 12-18 months?
Just to get through London whenever that happens and I’m booked onto a mountain half marathon next summer.
- What advice would you give to a someone who is thinking of taking up running?
Running is just amazing for fitness, mental wellbeing and getting to know a community and making new friends. Anyone no matter of size, shape, ability and age can run. It doesn’t matter how quick or slow you are, it’s still better than doing nothing. No one ever regrets going for a run, but may regret not going for a run (oh dear I better go out in the rain and practice what I preach).