I have been passionate about running since I was 15 when I started exploring the hills in the Peak District. By the time I was 18, I’d discovered fell running and there was no going back. I remember describing running downhill to a friend “it feels like flying”.
As a student at Durham University, I teamed up with Helene Diamantides (nee Whitaker) and dragged her off to Coniston fell race in the Lake District. She loved it and when she found out that I’d completed the Bob Graham Round (at 19, possibly still the youngest woman), Helene also had to conquer the 42 Peak 24 hour round from Keswick.
It was the start of many adventures together. At the ages of just 22, Helene and I headed out to Nepal, trekked into Tibet to acclimatise and returned to smash the record running from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu. the record stood for 13 years and is now held by our friend Lizzy Hawker. Love the way it’s still held by a woman.
The trip to Nepal introduced me to big mountains where I eventually met Andy, the father of my 18-year-old son and partner for over 20 years. Climbing has been a part of my life ever since.
I’m now 53. Spending so many years running, means my body doesn’t like training the way I used to when I was young. But I still exercise every day even if it’s just walking up my nearest hill or fitting in a yoga session. I run purely for the love of it.
My pet hate is being told: “you need to slow down now you’re in your 50’s”. I really don’t see why life should change just because you’re a bit older. Maybe my son does disappear into the distance when we go for a run together, but that doesn’t stop me enjoying the exercise.
I’m not ready to start sitting on the sofa…
Life is one big adventure. I’d love to inspire you to aim for your dreams, get fit and start living life to the full. We all get distracted by work and the day-to-day mundane, but it’s so important to keep track of the bigger picture. I want to get to those Pearly Gates with a completely trashed body and a head full of wonder. I hope you’ll join me…