When did running begin for you?
I don’t recall doing much running before joining club. I was a swimmer in my youth and always preferred team sports like netball. I was mostly a gym person before club and avoided the treadmill more often than not. I enjoyed a spin class or two, which is how I ended up joining club.
The only run I remember doing was Cardiff Half in about 2010, stepping in for my sister when she picked up a stress fracture half way through her training. I avoided cross country like the plague in school, getting a real telling off from the PE teacher in the process.
I joined club in about 2013 (Membership Secretary will have to confirm this!) and haven’t looked back since! I’ve gone from jogging bottoms and battered daps to ‘neutral cushioning’ and Garmins (not that that has been much good these last few days!). I do take a leaf out of Mr Nellins’ book running without technology quite frequently though and really enjoy these runs the most.
Why do you run?
I’m not sure I know the answer to this! Most of the time I don’t think I enjoy the actual process of running. I suffer with the classic problem of taking an age to get out the door, moaning all the way round then saying how much I enjoyed it at the finish. It’s always worth it in the end.
Running for me is much more about the social aspects. Whether it be a club session on a Monday, a parkrun on a Saturday or a race on a Sunday. Runners and the running community are the best!
What race or moment in your running career holds the most significance and why?
I’ve got two stand out events that spring to mind. On a personal level a highlight was running the London Marathon in 2015, which I got to run as a result of the Club Ballot. I enjoyed every moment. I cried when I saw Tower Bridge; I cried when I saw Denise Lewis; I squealed when I saw my Mum at Mile 25; I wobbled when I saw the finish line and I whooped with joy at the goody bag – best goody bag I’ve ever seen.
The second event was the Brecon Cross Country when we were battered by the elements. It was truly horrific conditions. The tent blew away, we were knee deep in mud, the electricity went out in the Leisure Centre and many people were hypothermic. The conditions brought everyone together, working to get everyone safe, warm and dry. It was a true example of everything that is good about our club.
Who is your running inspiration?
This is the easiest question to answer – Lisa Cleary. It was Lisa who encouraged me to come along to club (GOYKYWT). Her enthusiasm for running is contagious and she is always encouraging everyone. Without her egging me on I don’t imagine I would have entered half the races I have and I hold her personally responsible for me entering Snowdonia Marathon not once but twice!!!! Whenever I lose motivation for running she always puts me back on the right track, even if she doesn’t know she’s done it. Thanks Lisa.
What event, past or present, would you like to take part in and why?
I’d like to have been an 800m runner like Kelly Holmes or Laura Muir. I have enjoyed the ‘Track Wednesdays’ organised by Ruth Cann, being paced round by Steve Goodfellow. There’s no feeling like track-induced nausea!
What golden piece of advice would you give other runners?
My advice would simply be to enjoy your running. My motto to myself when out there and the negative thoughts kick in is “you chose this”, no one forces me to run 6 miles in the rain or 20 miles in the heat. It’s all my own doing and I do it because deep down, I enjoy it!
Another nugget of advice is never be embarrassed to pee in a hedge. It’s a rite of passage all runners go through at some point (right???)
2020 hasn’t quite turned out as expected so I’m not making any running plans for the foreseeable. Getting back to group running in the near future is enough for me. As a Run Director at Cosmeston Lakes parkrun, I am also looking forward to getting back to that when the time comes. Saturday mornings are just not the same without parkrun (and the post run café visit).
And in the meantime, the wetsuit has been dusted off and I’m back in the water swimming, I hear cross training is a good thing!
Who would you like to nominate?
I’d like to hear the running story of everyone! But my nomination goes to my track pal, Ruth Cann.