Twenty-four years of running! If some of you do your calculations, you will work out that my running started a few months after the birth of my second daughter, Katie. I was a postnatal wreck, overweight and a bit lost. Rich and I decided I needed to find an easy way to get fit between feeding new baby so we visited ARO Sports to kit me out in a pair of shorts and some trainers. A bad attitude meant that the only way I was going to actually run further than the front path was to drive our Astra Belmont some distance from home, chuck me out and then follow me home in the car. Fun times, and how hard was that?
Kit was a bit more restricted in those days, and I can remember my shorts flapping in the wind. I can also remember feeling so much better about everything and a cloud lifted every time I felt myself go a bit further. So, I was getting my mojo back but needed to check out this racing lark. Royston 10K was my first race. My friend Hayley held the baby, I breastfed ten minutes before the start and finished the race to the sound of a screaming pink Katie. But, I had done it. Time? No idea, I had found a new hobby.
Rich found me a running club who happened to be holding their AGM at Letchworth Rugby Club where he still played. I joined, I stayed and I have loved it ever since. I ran a few good times, well good for me, and my greatest running achievement is probably the London Marathon in 3 hours 41 minutes. I still sleep with the medal. But, times and stuff are not for me. I love running midweek leagues, cross country and relays. I also love running with my club mates and get a real kick from seeing my daughters loving their running as well. Although the day we ran the Pirton boxing day fun run and both overtook me was a bittersweet memory.
I cannot write about my running journey without mentioning Katrin Rippel, a lovely lady who ran with Karen and I back in the day. A very generous person who always congratulated everyone and encouraged us all, she was my nemesis in virtually every race we entered together. The gloves were off when we ran, and the three of us were frequently close together. Three very competitive ladies who took no prisoners. At the finish line however, all was forgiven and we would congratulate the winner on that occasion. Katrin sadly died very young and I still miss running with her.
I’m still running, slightly slower but still loving it. I have lots to thank this wonderful club for: great friends, fabulous memories, huge laughs and so so much I could tell you about, like stopping at a water stop for 20 minutes with lightning during the Welwyn 10K, running through a huge pile of excrement thinking it was a solid pile of tarmac, Smiler as a jockey at the Gilbey Gallop, running down the Mall to the London Marathon finish feeling like I had actually won, and running in the pitch black for the Round Norfolk Relay listening to Voodoo Doll on full blast. Many more memories to come no doubt.
I have also had the huge privilege of helping with our races, in particular the Standalone 10K, which I have seen change over the years in so many ways. The First Saturday of the Month also has a special place in my heart. It’s a great start to the weekend, seeing people run, and a good chat with running buddies. Remember the guy who ran the December one in a pair of swimming trunks? What a moment, but not a patch on the man who ran the Greenway in gold lycra budgie smugglers. I am going to have to stop now and go for a run…
Thank you for reading my story.