Run All the Miles; this is my journey of running, in particular using events I have participated in to express how running plays such a big part in my life.
The sole purpose of Run All The Miles is for myself to reflect, learn and improve from what I do. I try to be honest. I don’t paint a picture of smashing PB’s every time, or the ‘glory’ of running. I try and paint the real picture, to give a flavour of the event alongside my own feelings and thoughts, alongside my own experience of the love of running.
Along the way someone may stumble across this website and enjoy reading my tales and tribulations. Maybe it will help to encourage others to participate in events, to run races, to give things a go, to show we are all just human, we are nothing special and anyone can do this sort of thing.
I highlight some of the highs and some of the lows of running. These feelings and experiences may have been experienced by others, maybe some that aren’t always talked about. We’re all human and we are never alone.
Or maybe blogging about races and experiences is a self indulgence matter. Blog-gloat, Face-gloat, Twitter-gloat you choose. We’re all human and we like to do our best and share our experiences with others. This is my way of doing it.
I have been ‘recreational’ running for around 8 years, ‘club’ running for about 5 years and ‘ultra running’ for about 3 years. My passion lies in long distance off road running, probably better know as ‘Ultra’s’. Although I own pairs and pairs of Hoka One One’s, I drink coconut water and own one of those silly ‘vest’ like rucksacks I don’t own a beard, the obligatory check-list for ultra running?
Anyone can run, I am just an ordinary ‘anyone’ too. I wasn’t a runner as a child, I used to swim but not run. I fell in love with off-road running whilst getting bored of trying to achieve ‘personal bests’ on the road a few years ago. One December after smashing a 10km PB by over a minute and feeling no sense of achievement what so ever I knew it was time to leave the road behind and try something different.
A week later I took myself out into the Peak District and got very lost. I had not run more than 13.1 miles on road before. I was out for a few hours, pottering about on the moorlands in the brutal winter winds. I probably only did about 16 miles but when I emerged back home I felt an enormous sense of achievement. Running up and down hills, stopping to appreciate my surroundings, choosing my own path not following others. I had fallen in love with off road running.
I am not superfast (how you define ‘fast’ I find subjective anyway), but I can keep going ‘long’. I can ‘chick’ plenty of male runners later on in the ‘game’ and just keep going and going and going. That sense of achievement to keep running long and keep feeling strong can be an overwhelming emotion.
In addition the ultra running community is so warm and friendly. You go to a 10km road race, you line up, you run, you go home. An ultra-marathon ‘event’ is an experience. You line up, you run, you talk, you eat, you run some more, you talk more, you eat some more, you negotiate, you run a little bit more. You make friends for life. You enjoy the whole experience and not just the ‘run’.
I joined ‘Sheffield Running Club’ some 4 or so years ago. A fantastic club catering for all abilities. I particularly enjoy the Cross Country events in the Autumn and Winter months alongside the relays and other team events that the club hosts. We always supply an ample amount of cake after each event.
Running clubs are fantastic. Sheffield Running Club is literally for everyone. From the near on sub 2.30 marathon runners to those who are just starting out. Everyone is encouraged to achieve their own goals in a way that suits them.
Joining a running club was one of the best things I ever did. It took me a while to pluck up the courage to go along having the ‘I am not good enough for a Running Club’ mentality which was wrong, oh so wrong. Go on, join your local running club now if you like running and are not already in a club.
I’ve achieved some things that I never thought I would achieve. Depending who you are reading this will depend on how you look at these achievements. Each achievement is personal to me and what ‘I’ can do within my own limits.
For me running is about having fun, enjoying the experience, keeping healthy and enjoying the simple outdoors with like-minded people, coming away with a sense of achievement and that ‘feel good factor’.
The path through running meanders up and down. Sometimes you reach the peak of the mountain and feel on top of the world. 2014 was one of these peaks for me, achieving things I thought were beyond my limits.
Sometimes the path is scattered with obstacles, big boulders which stop you doing what you want to do. Injuries, health problems, general barriers in life. But you put one foot forward and slowly unblock those obstacles, learn and adapt to make way for better things in the future.
My top 5 ‘best’ performances
Here are my best performances to date
- Long Tour of Bradwell – 2014 – A 34 mile ‘fell race’ with 7000ft of climb – 1st Female by 20 minutes, 3 minutes behind the female course record held by ‘Bob Graeme Round’ record holder; Nicky Spinks.
- Ring O’Fire – 2014 – A 135 mile ultra-marathon around the Isle of Anglesey in Wales over 3 days. 106 starters, 54 finishers. 3rd Female, 11th overall.
- Redbull Steeplechase – 2014 – A 21 mile ‘4 stage knockout’ competition in the Peak District. 5th Female (First 10 get through out of 250 female runners).
- Rowbotham’s Round Rotherham 50m – 2015 – A 50 mile ‘trail’ ultra-marathon around the townships of Rotherham and surrounding area. 1st Female by nearly 50 minutes in 8 hours and 2 minutes and 55 seconds.
- Hoka Highland Fling – 2015 – The first 53 miles of the West Highland Way. Part of the Scottish Ultra Championships. Attracts a high calibre of runners. 4th Female and 1st F40.
My top 5 ‘favourite’ personal running moments
Sometimes the best performances are not always the favourite performances. Here are my top 5 personal running moments to date.
- Helping my best friend to run a 2.07 half marathon at the Ramathon – 2015.
- Picking up Athlete of the Year – 2014 at Sheffield Running Club for my running performances throughout 2014
- Finishing Ring O’Fire – 2014 – 135 miles over 3 days following the coastal path around Anglesey
- Running from Sheffield to Derby unsupported on my own in 2014, 40 miles.
- Running my first Ultra (Dukeries Ultra – 2012 – 32 miles, coming 2nd Female) and the following day running the Sheffield Half Marathon – 2012 and PB’ing on the Sheffield Half Marathon Course. This was pivotal for my journey into the world of ultra running.
My top 5 ‘worst’ moments
Running brings its highs and lows, sometimes races don’t go as planned, either in the race or afterwards. Here is a list of my top 5 ‘worst’ running moments.
- Round Latrigg Fell Race – 2015 – 5 miles in I broke my leg on the flat disused railway line path. I hobbled in the last of the 0.5 miles to finish in just under 44 minutes
- Edale Skyline – 2015 – Horrendous weather with temperatures as low as -10 degrees on Kinder Scout. I was unable to feel my body and nearly caught hypothermia.
- Spooky 10km – Nottingham – 2012 – A rather ‘interesting’ race with certain bowel movements going very very wrong.
- Winterhill Cross Country – 2014 – Women’s issues resulted in my first ever DNF
- Double or Quit – 2012 – A win however bodily pains afterwards left me in a lot of pain.
My top 5 ‘best’ times
My times are nothing to shout about, in-fact one could say they are a bit on the weak side, but for me it’s not about time its about enjoyment. Here are my so called ‘best’ times, the one I am most proud of is the 50 miler.
- Rowbotham’s Round Rotherham 50m – 2014 8:02:55
- London Marathon – 2014 3:19:11
- Tissington Half Marathon – 2012 1:27:41
- Heanor 10km – 2014 40:59
- Conkers Parkrun- 2012 20.31
Just Run all the miles you can and most importantly enjoy.