My 57 year old Mum inspired me to give running a try.

The first three months of the year are always busy for us at This Mum Runs – with lots of new runners taking their very first steps, others taking tentative steps towards their first events, or more regular runners taking on bigger personal challenges. Throughout February and March we will be featuring stories of TMR runners of ALL experience levels; we hope you find them as inspiring as we do.

Meet Sandra (half marathon first-timer) and her daughter Sarah (marathon first-timer).

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Hello, Im Sandra and I’m 57. Last week I completed my first ever half marathon, which I was lucky enough to run with my daughter Sarah, and my TMR friends. Here is my story.

I signed up for a beginners running program shortly after my 50th birthday. I’d never run before – in fact I HATED PE at school. But I felt like it would be a new challenge, that would help me feel fitter and lose some unwanted weight.

After this a hip problem stopped me running for a few years, but through my daughter I found This Mum Runs. With them, I run for my health but most of all I run for the social aspect and I’ve truly made some great friends. I look forward to seeing them every week and we really keep each other going.

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Before this Sunday, I’d run two park runs and three 10ks. Anything more had seemed totally out of reach.  But I set myself a goal of completing a half marathon before I was 60 – and when I crossed the finish line of the Llanelli Half, I’d done it three years early – so as you can imagine I am over the moon!

Leading up to the big day,  it was almost not going to happen. I’d taken a fall during a training run and fractured my elbow.

After 8 weeks of recovery,  my confidence was feeling pretty knocked; but with the support and encouragement from my TMR friends, I got back to it. I started again with 30 min social runs, then 45mins runs with everyone’s support – and particularly the support of my new friend Gina who I’d met through This Mum Runs.

4 miles became 6 then 8 then a 10 a long run with Sarah too and an 11 miler. Honestly I couldn’t believe it when I finally got to the race start line! I’d set myself the target of completing it in under 3 hours – and I managed to finish in 2:44:03 with a huge smile on my face!

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My friend, Gina, who has only run one other half marathon before this, got a PB running it in under 2:30 – I was so pleased for her and am so thankful to everyone for their love and support.

My top tip for anyone training for a race this spring? Stick to your own pace, don;t worry what anyone else is doing and trust your gut. Find some friends to train with, it makes so much difference! Running really is mind over matter and if I can do it anyone can! Also on race day – jelly babies are the perfect pick me up!

Meet Sarah

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A few years ago, my Mum signed up to a beginner running course and at first me and my sister just chuckled – this was just something that never in a million years did we expect Mum to do. She’d always been a walker (as she doesn’t drive) but running….?!

Seeing her so happy and confident, though I wanted a piece of the action too as I did enjoy sport at school and life had just got in the way.  So I signed up to the next beginners course as she went up to the Improvers group.

4 years later, I’m a regular runner and This Mum Runs Run Angel – and as cheesy as it sounds, I now run because I absolutely love it! I do some of my weekly runs with a TMR group and some on my own or with a couple of friends. I love the headspace it gives me, I love how it makes me feel, I love what it brings out in me and others.

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I really enjoy doing park run, and over the past 4 years have run eleven 10ks and ten half marathons.

I have also been fortunate (!) enough to secure a place in this years London Marathon raising money for AGEuk.

From a young age watching the London Marathon on the TV and always enjoying running, it was something I’d always wanted to be a part of. When I then started running and entering so many half marathons, it was something that only time was in charge of. Ballots 3 years running were no joy so I applied for a charity place – raising funds for a charity that meant something to me and my role with patients at work [as a phlebotomist].

My life has totally changed now – with running firmly fixed in my weekly planner. Ive gone from never having run, to following a Marathon training plan written by Runners World! Most of my training is based on the intermediate plan, but with the easy plan for days when life is busy or I’m just too tired so that I don’t give in. If it feels too much,  I just take a step back which is something that has really helped with half marathon training too.

Something new I am trying is two strength sessions per week and a sports massage (which I can promise you, isn’t a treat!) once every 5-6 weeks. What I still need to get to grips with is how to ‘fuel not feed’. Running as much as I now am makes me soooooooo hungry… and I have a bit of thing for cake!

Four years ago I could never have imagined entering the London Marathon – and if I can do it, anyone can. Every bit of advice I’ve ever received has come from others or read in a book so my top tip is to ask lots of questions and read as much as you can bear! Most of all enjoy yourself. Smiling really does make it easier.

Sarah is running the London Marathon 2019 to raise funds for AgeUK. Her Just Giving page is here.

This Mum Runs is a people-powered community-first organisation that empowers Mums everywhere to be healthier and happier. Through a network of volunteer Run Angels we offer free, social runs every Wednesday and Sunday across London, Bristol and Bath – with Cardiff and Brighton launching soon (and more to follow in 2019). To keep up to date with our plans – and for plenty of inspiration too – sign up for our weekly email here.

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