What was your running experience like before taking part in the LandAid 10K? Any particular running/sporting achievements?
I really hated cross country at school, and any kind of long-distance running.
I have strong memories of cold, wet, miserable afternoons straggling behind all the bigger, stronger kids; my preference was to be running on the 100m track, getting it over with as quickly as possible!
It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I challenged myself to go from couch-to-half-marathon, purely for the personal challenge of it (and maybe in the vain hope that it would somehow make me ‘a runner’). I put in loads of effort to a training plan I’d found on the internet and managed to get round the Wilmslow Half Marathon with my pride just about intact. Did I enjoy the experience? No, not really! But I set myself a goal and conquered the challenge.
It wasn’t until I moved to the fringes of Peak District a couple of years later that I eventually found how I could truly enjoy running. I had always loved hiking up big hills but it wasn’t until an old friend encouraged me to run up those very same hills with him that something clicked (my heels three times, I suppose) and I found my running ‘home’.
My first proper fell race was a local one – the Bollington 3 Peaks – which takes in 9km and 380m of elevation in the beautiful countryside where I live. That race, and training for it, set off a long-lasting love affair with running (I’m now even on my local running club committee!).
So, for me, the greatest running achievement wouldn’t be how far, fast or high I have run before now but finally discovering my own way to enjoy it.