What made you get into running?
I was supporting my brother, as he was doing a marathon – he persuaded me to do a half marathon with him. It was only supposed to be a one off. It was extremely hard work for me as I had only trained a few times up to about 7 miles or so on road. It was a trail marathon and very muddy! The pain was forgotten when I crossed the finish line and had a medal around my neck… I wanted to do more races and shortly after signed up for a marathon and joined a running club. Things escalated quite quickly from there. I only started running in my late 30’s and never thought it would take over my life like it has done.
What has been your proudest/best running moment?
My original bucket list had both Boston Marathon and the Marathon des Sables on it. I’ve done both (the MdS twice now) – the finish line of both have been very sweet moments. Crossing the famous Boston Marathon finish line was a real highlight. The crowds are just ridiculous cheering along the last mile, even though I was so broken from running, it’s such a momentous iconic race it was one of the happiest moments I’ve had running.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?
There have been some big races, Ring O Fire (a 3 tough day ultra marathon) and a non-stop 100 miler have been big challenges… but I would say the hardest thing is keeping the speed in my legs. It is a constant challenge. I’m no spring chicken and it does not come easily to me and takes work. Big races and ultras take it out of your legs and can take a few weeks to get over. It’s like going back to square one every few months. Endurance stays with me, but the speed does not! It’s a constant battle and there are some weeks where it really does not feel easy.
Who is your inspiration, and why?
Mimi Anderson is a fantastic Ultra runner. There is not much she has not done. She runs great distances and iconic races, broken world records and is a relentless force of positivity. She is also a very lovely woman.
I am also constantly inspired by fellow runners within the run community, it isn’t necessarily the distance stuff that can inspire. When you read about someone on twitter who has gone out and run in the pouring rain, or up a hill in a new fast time for them, it encourages you to go out for a run!
What are your future goals?
Very shortly I will be branching out into triathlon and having a go at an Ironman, swimming and cycling are not really my forte, but it will be good to tick it off. There are longer goals: races which I dream about doing (Badwater Ultramarathon); targets I want to achieve (new marathon PB hopefully this year); and also a few races in the calendar. Amongst ultras, 10k’s and other races I have booked in – next June I’ll be heading out to the Peru to tackle Jungle Ultra, a 5 day self-sufficient race through the humid jungle. It’s got over 50 river crossings, piranhas and creepy crawlies galore! Eeek!
What would be your one piece of essential advice to someone looking to start up running?
It’s a pretty boring answer but get fitted for the correct trainers. When I started I had completely the wrong footwear on and kept on getting injured! A decent sports shop should analyze your gait and let you know what suits you. What other runners wear may not really be the correct trainer for you!
What is your favourite piece of running kit?
My race vests – these are bags that comfortably carry kit in them. Frequently ultra marathons have compulsory kit (jackets, foil blankets, etc)– and as you are out running for long periods of time, you need to comfortably carry your water and food. My main bag and good all rounder is the Ultimate Direction PB race vest.
What’s your favourite thing about running?
The people. I’ve met the most wonderful people and made great friends running. From Twitter, to my run club, to everyone on the ultra marathon circuit – runners are just the most supportive bunch. My kind of people!
As it’s Women in Sport Week: What do you think is the biggest challenge for women runners, & how do you overcome them?’
I try not to think that there are any barriers in particular for women runners. Especially in Ultra running, there are women performing at a very high level and some are on par with male performances. It’s so encouraging. There are plenty of female driven run initiatives out there to support women, from Run Mummy Run to race specific support like wmnrun100 that support and encourage women to put your trainers on and get out there!