Back in 2014 if someone had asked if I ran my reply would have been ‘Only if something is chasing me, I am late or I am on fire’. To put it simply, running just wasn’t for me, I neither understood it or saw the point in it. I had little to no desire to ever run. Fast forward to today and I have completed 24 Ultras and marathons with the furthest I have ever run in one day of 65 miles. Life has come a long way in 7 years.
So What changed? You might ask. To put it simply a challenge. I am not one to turn down a challenge or a dare, I have a competitive nature you see, especially one which I feel I could do well. A challenge that at the end of ten months I could run ten miles. That sounded easy to me, so to up the game slightly I booked a half marathon in ten months time.
It hit me on my very first run exactly how much I had underestimated this challenge. I just kept telling myself by the end of this month I will be able to run a mile. A mile a month that’s all I had to do. I worked out the clothes I was wearing were too heavy, cotton t shirts are not great to run in. I bought new shoes. I showed up and I pushed myself until I got it. I ran a mile. I kept going.
It wasn’t easy. I suffered injuries, illness and various other setbacks but this determination to complete this challenge kept me going. I started at Parkrun, and became eager to get my 5km time under 30 mins. It did not come naturally to me, but I worked for it. My half marathon was looming now, nerves began to kick in.
I wasn’t sure what to expect running my first half marathon. I was nervous, wondering if perhaps this was the challenge that would beat me. I had no idea about fueling strategies, not a clue about pacing and cross training was just another word. I will never forget the feeling when I hit 10 miles and realised I only had 3 to go, it felt like the longest three miles ever. I could hear the crowds and I knew I was getting closer to the finish. Until eventually it appeared, I had done it.
I look back at this photo and see just how far I have come, not only in terms of running but also as a person. Running has taught me so much. It has shown me what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. It has allowed me to travel the world. I have run in various countries and competed in some unbelievable races. It opened up the door to a whole community of supportive people, including my parkrun family. One of my proudest moments was wearing the Run Director vest at parkrun for the first time
In 2015 I ran my first marathon whilst almost 20 weeks pregnant. I took a year off in 2016 and in 2018 I decided to run 12 marathons/ultras in 12 months. I raised £2000 for Meningitis Research Foundation in doing so.
My passion and love for running continues to grow and I am growing both as a person and as a runner. I am now a qualified Leader in Running fitness, an assistant athletics coach and a guide running. Recently, I was so incredibly honoured to be appointed as the Running Mayor for Barnsley as part of Runsome. I am an ambassador for some fantastic running brands including, Worry Less design, Big bobble Hats and the National Running Show
My children now have a keen interest in running. My eldest recently won Sportsperson of the year at her school, I could not have been prouder. Running has provided us with a common interest and I love how my children are now inspired to run too. Running is my freedom, my therapy and it gives me space to think. I am so grateful for that crazy challenge all those many years ago because who knows where I might be now without it?