“You have to do the best with what God gave you.” – Mrs. Gump

I love running, it makes me feel fit, it clears my head, it’s when I have some of my best ideas or work out my problems, but most of all it’s my time. When I’m running no one can get me on the phone, ask me what’s for dinner, try to sell me something. I’m free & doing what I want to be doing right in the here & now!

I only started running about 9 years ago, around the same time I got involved in fundraising for Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Manchester House was not yet open & so we were raising money for the build. I decided to offer my support by signing up for the Manchester 10K although I quickly realised I hadn’t really run any distance since school!

Once I put my mind to something I’m like a dog with a bone! I started training & in Dunny’s words ‘became obsessed’! I didn’t, I just realised how much I enjoyed running & how much I benefit from it both mentally & physically. Needless to say that 1st 10K went well, I came in at 53 minutes & felt an enormous sense of achievement. Lots more races followed & I enjoyed running locally with a couple of friends. We live in a hilly part of the world which is great training so when I did the Great North half marathon it felt pretty flat! I did that run when I was 44 & managed it in 1:46.

Life is hectic though & sometimes it gets in the way. The last few years have been pretty busy with work, the children & my Mum who is suffering late stages Alzheimer’s. I still ran but it felt like a chore, I no longer felt I enjoyed it……I’d lost my mojo and I missed it!!

So in January I got in touch with Kieron, the Online Running Coach. We met up on 3rd January & I gave him my target of doing the Manchester Half Marathon on 19 May 2019 in under 2 hours. My main goal however was just to get back into running & to enjoy it. I needed to be motivated again. For the last 4.5 months I have worked with my coach, stuck to training plans of 4 runs a week, covering hill sessions, speed session, treadmill & road runs. I’ve entered a 10 miler & several 10K’s & beaten my expectations in all of them!

When the day of the Half Marathon came (again I was running in support of RMHC) I told myself I just wanted to get through it, enjoy the atmosphere & come in under 2 hours. The weather was ideal for a change, overcast, dry & not too warm. with 6,500 people running this race the 1st couple of miles are pretty crowded. It’s hard to get going & find your pace as there asr so many around you. But a few miles in I got into my stride & focused on enjoying the run through my home town, through the Etihad Stadium & then Old Trafford & past Music legend & Manchester icon Clint Boon, DJ’ing & supporting the runners & the crowds of well wishers.

The Manchester Run is always an amazing demonstration of how charitable people are, everyone was running for someone or some cause & all the Charities are out there cheering on their runners. It makes you very proud to be a part of it & proud to support my charity RMHC.

The last few miles were tough, your legs are really doing there own thing by then & that’s when the power of the mind takes over. So many people say to me that they’d love to run but they can’t. I tell them they can do anything they set their mind to, believe you can & you will!

But oh that feeling of crossing the finishing line! You can’t beat it. You are proud, energised & happy it’s over! You can spend the rest of the day feeling smug about what you’ve achieved, knowing you have earned a couple of drinks & a few treats! I love checking my official time online a few hours later. This time I wasn’t disappointed………1:46 & 10th in my age & gender category! I’m really chuffed, I know I said I wanted to do under 2 hours but in my own mind I wanted sub 1:50 & the best thing? I’ve got my mojo back!

So going forward, I want to continue working with my coach. I need to start some strength training, maybe look at my diet & keep running. I said I’ll never do a marathon & I stick by that but can you really ever say never? For me it’s about doing something I enjoy & I want to run for may years to come. I’m 51 now, why shouldn’t I be doing this when I’m 81? With the right diet, training plan & mind set anything is possible!

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