Tell us about yourself and your running history.
I am 35 and I am a teacher at Victoria Special Needs School in Birmingham. I started running about 10 years ago because a friend asked me to do a 10Kk with her. I was a little afraid because I was never very good at PE at school, but I quite liked the idea of getting fit, so I gave it a go and really enjoyed it. I ran casually for a few years after that, but got more serious about it when I moved back to Birmingham. I have tried most distances, but I tend to enjoy longer races, particularly 10 miles.
Are you a member of a running club?
I am a member of Bournville Harriers in Birmingham. I didn’t join a club until about six years ago and would definitely recommend it. It has completely changed my running and I have met some fantastic people through it.
What made you sign up for the WR10K race?
The first race I ever did was a women’s race at Sefton Park in Liverpool, where I used to live. I had hardly run at all before that, but trained hard for it and got round in about 65 minutes. I thoroughly enjoyed the race, and loved racing and training in the park over the years that followed. I have been anxious about racing recently and decided that going back to where I started might be a good idea. I searched for races at Sefton Park and was really excited to see that, not only was there a race coming up there, but it was another women’s race, just like my first race.
Have you done any of our other races before?
I haven’t. I missed the Birmingham race as I haven’t been racing too much recently.
You were injured before the race. How long were you injured for?
I was saying after the race that I haven’t raced much for a while, but that’s actually just because of nerves rather than injury. The last proper injury had been a stress fracture on my fibula about two and a half years ago, which was very frustrating! I’ve been relatively injury-free since then (touch-wood).
How long did you have to train for the race?
I train all year round and my training changes according to the time of year. I do more conditioning work and higher mileage in the winter and then drop my weekly mileage down and add in more speed sessions over the summer. All my training at the moment is based around running 5k and 10k distances.
What were your expectations going into the race?
I definitely did not expect to win and hadn’t given much thought at all to where I might finish. I knew it was a flat course, so prior to the race I had been hoping to run a time close to my PB. On the day, I was really nervous (as I always am) and was mostly just focused on actually starting the race and then enjoying it!
Have you won any other races?
I have been first lady at some races, but I have never won a women’s-only race before, so that was a definite first. It felt totally different, because there are usually a fair number of people ahead of me in a race – even when I’ve been first lady in the past, there have usually been at least 20 men in front of me! This time it was only the lead bike, so that was exciting.
You ran gadget-free. Why?
I have tried racing with a watch before, but I check it obsessively during the race and psych myself out. Now I only tend to wear a stopwatch and check it at the mile markers, but sometimes I don’t even bother with that. I was hoping to run close to my PB, but wasn’t sure what I would manage on the day because of the heat.
Were you a long way ahead of the other runners?
I found out afterward I was about five minutes ahead of the other runners, but I genuinely had no idea, I was just trying to run the best race I could.
Did you realise you were going to break 40 minutes?
I had no idea, I really hoped I would as I haven’t managed it yet this summer.
Is it your fastest 10K time to date?
No it isn’t, but I’m getting closer to it again which I am pleased with.
How often do you train?
I train around five days a week in the summer and six in the winter. I work really long days, and it can be hard fitting it in, but I really love to run.
How many miles do you cover in a typical week?
It varies due to the time of year. About 40 miles a week at the moment, but I’ll start building up again in the autumn and peak after Christmas.