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I am currently in the process of re-vamping this website and never really noticed how out of date my original author note was until now – and much has changed. For a start, two children became three! (Not necessarily on purpose, but don’t mention that to delightful daughter number three, Lottie, who has brightened our lives since her ‘surprise’ arrival in April 2017.) We are now proud owners of a teenager, Hannah, and our middle daughter, Nancy, hurtles towards High School at a frightening rate.
Life does indeed move quickly. Leanne starts a new job this term as a teaching and learning consultant for a local trust of primary schools and I am now deputy head at my primary school.
I decided to leave the original blog intro in situ as a reminder of how far I have come in a relatively short space of time. I now think of myself as a fully fledged runner and feel like I have done it all my life. However, as the original intro demonstrates, just six years ago I still considered myself a ‘bit-part’ runner and, to all intents and purposes, that is exactly what I was.
My first ultra was the Lakeland Trails 110k in June 2015 and this blog was set up to chart my progress towards that. Since then I have competed in several other ultras and performed to a reasonable level in most of them, culminating in completing the Montane Lakeland 100 in 2019 at the second attempt, having debut DNF’d in 2018. For obvious reasons, I have not run an ultra race since but am now aiming to return to racing back where it all started, the Lakeland Trails Ultimate Trail – these days reduced by 10k to 100 and, it has to be said, on a considerably easier course. But 60+ miles in the Lakes is still… well, 60+ miles in the Lakes! Expect all weather, tricky conditions underfoot, plenty of climbing and descending and the usual levels of pain and suffering.
I think a lot of friends and people who know me or follow my blog think of me as an ‘experienced’ ultra racer but, in reality, I don’t race very often. I am not a ‘bling’ chaser (I haven’t got a clue where my running medals are, they don’t interest me in the slightest) and I tend to prefer the process of training for an event to the actual event itself. This is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that, during the 12 months of lockdown (which is pretty much what we experienced in Greater Manchester) my running has transformed to previously unachieved levels without any races whatsoever!
And what of my other running? Well, that was changed forever the day that I was bullied/kidnapped (harsh language but not as far from the truth as you might imagine) into joining Wigan Harriers by a certain persistent member of the club who scouted me in the September 2015 Wigan 10k and invited me along to training. As joining a club tends to do, the consistent approach to the sessions led to such rapid improvement that, literally only twelve months later, I destroyed all my PBs at every road distance in one glorious, chaotic, six week period despite not being able to prepare properly for any of them.
I briefly mentioned above how the recent lockdowns have transformed my running (see recent blogs as evidence of this) and I think the one thing I have learned in the last six years is ‘You never stop learning’. Ultra running in particular is not an exact science; there are so many facets to successfully finishing an ultra that there is always improvement to be found somewhere and something to be learned from every race – especially the ones that don’t go to plan.
But the most important idea I am trying to promote in this blog is to get out there and try ‘stuff’ now, whatever that may be. Life is too short not to. I feel like a 25 year old but am approaching my 50th year at a rate of knots which I do not like to think about! So consider this a blog about what can be achieved in life, rather than in running. If you find some motivation or inspiration as a result then I am very happy about that.
Get out there and do it – go on!