Inspirational Runners: Leyla This Day I Love

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.

Inspirational Runner Leyla This Day I Love

Running Challenge

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.

Inspirational Runner Leyla This Day I Love

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.

Inspirational runners Leyla This Day I Love

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

Parkrun Run director jacket worn by Inspirational Runner Leyla This Day I Love

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.

running medals

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

National Running show ambassador Inspirational Runner Leyla This Day I Love

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?

Inspirational Runner Leyla This Day I Love

1 thought on “Inspirational Runners: Leyla This Day I Love”

  1. Wow! Leyla’s story is incredible. She really has achieved so much and running obviously brought some fantastic opportunities with it.
    I loved reading about her being a Running Mayor. That seems like a really good initiative to get more people running.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.