So this weekend saw me complete a running challenge that one year ago I would have thought impossible.
My journey to this point began in July 2016, when realising I needed to take action to improve my physical health and fitness as my weight crept towards 18 stone. I began by fixing my diet, followed by walking then swimming. I repeatedly considered running – but running wasn’t something I thought I could do. I showed no promise as a runner when young, and previous attempts as an adult had soon fallen by the wayside.
It was October 2016 when I heard about parkrun and I made a decision to commit. I started a couch to 5K program, sticking to the three sessions per week. Then early December it happened – I ran 5k at parkrun in 26mins 35. The emotion of achieving my goal was strong – I couldn’t believe that I had done it, and then I the realised that the time wasn’t bad either.
The positive impact went beyond my physical health. I noted benefits to my confidence levels and ability to deal with everyday stress, gained through achieving exercise goals. In simple terms I felt stronger.
5k progressed to 10K, and then a half marathon. Times got better and better, and my weight was down to just over 12 stone. So it was time to find a bigger challenge for October to celebrate 1 year as a runner. That’s when I discovered both The Limestone Way Ultra Half event and the existence of ‘The Running Charity’. Using the event to raise some funds for TRC was a way I could give something back and help others to benefit from everything running has to offer.
As I ascended and descended along the route, all of the grit and determination that this year has given me was called upon, but the feeling of crossing the finish line in just over three hours, motivated by the knowledge that others had donated to The Running Charity, was immense.
I ran 17 miles, covering a 1500 ft ascent from Monyash to Hope in Peak District via the Limestone Way, and finished third in my age group. So this week I have achieved a new goal, and I feel stronger yet again.
My advice for others – just go for it and enjoy it, start small and great things will follow. My next goal is a 30 mile ultra-trail run in May.