This week we are happy to have a guest article from North Herts Road Runners’ Sue Foot. Sue started to run ultra marathons well into her 50’s and is looking forward to competing in the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc next year.
OK, so here goes on my first contribution to a blog! I have been following Paul’s running activities via his mother Cathy who belongs to the same running club as me, North Herts Road Runners, based in Letchworth, England. Cathy and I are the same age and share a love of running even though we have now hit 60! My running started when I was around 45 years of age and over the years since then I have run the London Marathon seven times plus a few other low-key marathons. But in 2011 things started to change and I ran my first 50K and loved it and then I was hooked! During 2012 I started to run some off-road marathons organised by the LDWA (the Long Distance Walkers Association) where you are provided with route instructions and have to find your way across fields, trails, woodland, footpaths and roads to the finish. This really suited me as I was no longer struggling to run a fast time on a road marathon; it also suited my legs as I was no longer pounding the tarmac!
This passion has continued into 2013 when in January I ran the Country to Capital ultra, a 45-mile route from Wendover across the Chilterns to join the Grand Union Canal all the way to Little Venice in London. An inspiring run where I had my first interaction with some well-seasoned ultra-runners. The experience I had was very similar to when I ran my first marathon – I finished with a big smile on my face and wanted more! And more I have had. So far this year I have run 10 ultras (the longest being 85 miles on the Ridgeway Challenge) and seven marathons and still have three to go before December.
So what makes a 60-year-old woman want to keep on running longer distances? Is it the fear of getting old and not wanting to retire gracefully sipping cups of tea in front of the TV? Maybe. But for me age doesn’t come into my rationale. I love running. I love the thought of taking part in an event that enables me to run in parts of the country that I would probably never visit if it weren’t for the fact that I was running. When I run these events I savour every minute of the countryside, what is going on around me, views you could only experience by climbing up some very steep hills, and chatting to people about their experiences and why they too are hooked on ultra-running.
My ultimate goal is to be able to run the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc next year. I have the requisite number of points to enter, but as it is a ballot it is very much going to be down to luck! Entry is in December – what a great Christmas present to myself if I get a place! So as long as I keep healthy and fit I am hoping to be running well into my 60s. My plan next year is hopefully to travel a little further and sample some events in other parts of Europe and, who knows, maybe I might even get a place in the Marathon des Sables in 2015 as I have my name down for that too!
Thanks Sue, keep on clocking up those miles and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on in your next race.