'Few black women run 26.2 - but I did' - Women's Running

Few black women run 26.2 – but I did

Author: Chris Macdonald

Read Time:   |  May 20, 2014

Few black women run 26.2 – but I did

Few black women run 26.2 – but I did

The best thing about running is the freedom to let your mind wander, no phones, and no music, just my breathing in the wind

Before I got injured my typical running routine was three days a week at the gym running on the treadmill and one outdoor run on the weekend. My running ambition at the time was quite simply to stay motivated to cross a finish line. I ran alone as at the time none of my friends were interested in anything energetic, however some friends and my husband did start to walk whilst l ran on my weekend runs.

I did my first ever 5K in Hyde Park in 2005. It was a hot sunny day full of thousands of women and l was feeling under the weather from a bug whilst on a recent holiday. I jogged slowly, walked a lot and couldn’t wait to finish.

My first 10K was in Victoria Park, three loops of the park, the furthest l had ever attempted and it was a hot sunny day and my friends, husband and children were cheering me on.

I have always struggled to get the right pace – fast, slow or dither? Half marathons were my favourite distance because l could start slow and by mile 11 I always found a second wind and felt quite relaxed as l finished.

10K is harder than a marathon. With 10K running practice makes perfect, but the distance is my least favourite. Having said that, my favourite 10K ever was the Bupa 10,000 and l have jogged, walked and talked my way around this course. The landmarks are amazing; the atmosphere is fabulous, everyone is happy and united regardless of colour, age or shape. It reminds me of the London Marathon atmosphere that should be bottled and sold.

My running mantra is Relax, Focus and l’m nearer to the finish than the start.

I met Baroness and TV presenter Floella Benjamin at the Excel Centre in 2008 as l was going into the ladies toilets and as women do, we started to chat. We came out and she introduced her partner to me and l introduced my husband to her. We were chatting like old friends and one of the things she said was that not a lot of black women run the marathon. I found that statement quite intriguing and on observation quite true.

British Paralympic wheelchair athlete David Weir is another hero of mine. l love his ambition, grit and determination when he does the Marathon. And Mo Farah because as he said, ‘why do a marathon that is easier to win? London is the only one to do.’

My body shape is not designed for long distance running but my determination and being self-motivated is. It has taken me years to realise my self worth and that only came about through running. I have had three knee operations because of tears in my knees, plus lm an older bird too but at least l can walk.

Against the advice of my physio I went ahead, trained and took part in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2012. My training didn’t always go to plan, my knees were just about holding up and l decided if l can’t run it, l can walk. It was good as my first marathon, my time didn’t reflect the fantastic experience l had on that day and the main thing was that l finished safely and had no regrets. Life is too short for regrets.

Adrienne Michael-Ives, 50, is a healthcare worker from London

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Chris Macdonald

Editor-at-Large, Women's Running

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