I had been a reluctant runner for a number of years, a “should” run kind of runner and every time out was a chore. I was feeling a bit low after losing my Dad suddenly from a heart attack and a friend recommended I go along to her local ladies running club for some support and encouragement. She had mentioned this many times over the two years she had been a member with no success of getting me there. Reluctantly on Christmas Eve 2011, (I couldn’t find an excuse not to go) I ventured out and did my first run with them, a five-mile steady run around the countryside and what a great bunch of ladies, they welcomed me into the group and the coffee and mince pie afterwards felt well earned.
A couple of them knew me already through my work and within five weeks of running with them, they encouraged me to run the Virgin London Marathon in 2012 for Heart UK as three girls had club places so training was all planned out. Without their experience and support I never would have thought this possible. I completed this in 4.22 and was delighted to raise £3.5k for the charity and stop for a hug all round at the 13 and 22 mile points with my running buddies waiting on the sidelines.
Running and the girls I ran with helped me at a very difficult time in my life. The running gave me focus, the endorphins from running and improved stamina lifted me. The sense of achievement being able to run gave me confidence. The weekly downloads on life, the tummy problems associated with distance running, the shared life wisdom across the ages and the light hearted banter helped the miles melt away and made the running so much easier for me. The more I ran, the more I loved it and completed my Virgin Money London Marathon hatrick in April this year.
I still enjoy the odd solitary run and have since become a coach at the club Sole Sisters North Bristol. I am blessed to have made some good friends there who I would not have met unless I had started running again.
Unfortunately due to some recent knee issues my marathon days are over. I’ve had eight weeks off running which has been tough. But with some good quad/glute strengthening work, cross training, flexibility work in the shape of yoga and some supportive sports massage work, I am hopeful to keep on running again now and have entered the Bath Half 2015 as my focus.
And for the races I won’t be able to do this year, I’ll be there supporting the other runners who are all as mad as me.