My background

I was not an especially sporty kid. I swam with a couple of local clubs on-and-off between the ages of eight and 14 and played netball and field hockey for school. As a student I got into water polo, but it was only after having finished university that I stumbled onto triathlon and, eventually, running.

I did enjoy the triathlons. The high point was definitely representing Team GB in the European Age Group Championships in 2009 (Holten, NL) and 2010 (Athlone, IRL). But there was something about the simplicity and purity of running that drew me to it like a magnet.

I’ve never been any good at fixing stuff and the fear of punctures often put me off cycling. Swimming is awesome, but you need a pool! With running, the kit is super simple and you can just slip it on and zip out, straight from your front door, no matter how little time you have. The endorphins start flowing and BOOM! You feel amazing for the rest of the day.

So, running became my major passion and I’ve not looked back.

The London Triathlon, 8th August 2010.

My early running adventures

Virgin London Marathon, 25th April 2010.

I joined my first running club (the St. Albans Striders) in 2007 and started going along to weekly track sessions where I made heaps of progress. It was very satisfying to improve so rapidly and I started to win some small local races, which in turn motivated me to try harder. 

Inevitably the increased training intensity led to injury, when I tore the meniscus in my left knee towards the end of 2009 and needed an arthroscopy. I managed to fight back in time to line up at the Championship start of the Virgin London Marathon in April 2010 – my first marathon and one of my all-time favourite race experiences.

The next couple of years were jam-packed with training and racing and I was also very busy and happy leading the St. Albans Striders as club Chair (from 2009 to 2012) and socialising lots with many lovely runner friends. 

Soon after, big exciting changes came into my life. First, my husband and I relocated to South West France for his job and I gave up mine. Not long after, I discovered I was expecting our first baby. The next five years were filled with four pregnancies, three kids, renovating a house and getting to grips with a new language and way of life. But very little running.

My first taste of buggy running

I continued to run until about six months into my first pregnancy and then pretty much stopped completely until my last baby was six months old. That was a huge break – over five years.

My awesome running buggy (a Thule Chariot Cross) was a 35th birthday present from my (very generous) husband and the key to unlocking a whole part of myself that I had stored away when I became a mother.

When I returned to running I didn’t have any proper trainers and couldn’t even jog for 30 minutes without stopping. But I felt such freedom, out-and-about with my happy baby, that I fell in love with the sport all over again.

I began to feel stronger and my competitive spirit was soon re-awakened, so I started to train for my first race back – a half marathon in September 2018.

Tiny DD in the Thule Chariot Cross on one of our first runs together, 25th May 2018.

My return to racing

Semi-marathon de Tournefeuille, 30th September 2018.

I did every single training run with DD in the stroller. I had expected to feel really strong and “free” solo on race day, but actually I really missed her!

This gave me the idea to try my next race with the buggy, so at the end of the month DD and I lined up for another local half marathon. We finished in 1hr37 amongst enormous support all along the course and, to my enormous surprise, were called up onto the podium for a prize for fifth female.

That was a brilliant day.

Soon after, I stumbled upon the Guinness World Records (GWR) site and saw there was a “female half marathon pushing a pram” record potentially within my reach. It stood at 1hr27, so it would have been an enormous task for me to get into that kind of shape (still breastfeeding and within a year of giving birth).

Just as I was starting to believe it could be done, however, that record was broken in the USA and taken down to an entirely unrealistic 1hr22 (phenomenal!). My with-buggy half-marathon best is 1hr30 (March 2022), which I am nonetheless very proud of.

I joined my new running club down here (Blagnac SC) in September 2019, when my eldest daughter YY was just old enough to join the kids section. I loved having a club vest to wear again and it was really special doing cross country and other events with YY where we could both race on the same day in the same colours.

Boosted by my new training group and coach, I started to rediscover a bit of my old form towards the end of 2019, going sub 1:30 for the half marathon and sub 40 for the 10km.

Ronde de Ramonville 10km, 8th December 2019, where I ran 39:39.
Filthy legs after the Boucle du Bassac, March 2020. My trail shoes (Mizuno Wave Mujin Trail) were brand new that day and were never the same again!

I was able to fit in a handful of good races at the start of 2020, most memorably a three-person relay where my two fabulous teammates and I won the ladies’ race and set a new course record.

I also did an extremely muddy 17km race on my 37th birthday, which I was thrilled to win, trails not being my forte!

And then Covid-19 struck.