Active Travel



My Running Journey & Win a Pair of PUMA IGNITE TRAINERS

Jun 12, 2015 | Uncategorized | 37 comments

I haven’t always been a runner, not even close. I played a lot of sport at school because it was fun and gave me something to do. I was at boarding school and being on the sports teams kept us busy, and meant our parents could come and watch our matches! I ran the 100m and did the long jump as my athletics contribution, and dreaded the days that we had to run the 1500m or run suicides in hockey practice (running the lines of the hockey field- 25m, 50m, 75m, 100m and back again multiple times).

During University I played netball occasionally, and joined the gym in my third year, going halfheartedly a few times a week. I left Uni slightly overweight, and really unfit. During my gap year travelling we did a lot of sporty adventures, including cycling down Death Road (the most dangerous road in the world in Peru), cycling down Cotopaxi (volcano in Equador), and hiking Mount Kinibalu (highest mountain in Southeast Asia), but I also ate and drank a lot!


Back in London I decided to set myself a huge challenge and do something in memory of my friend Vic, who had sadly taken his own life in June 2009 after suffering from depression. I signed up to run the London Marathon and raise money for MIND. I started training immediately, building up to a mile, and from there up to 3 miles. I remember having to complete a 10K training run on a family holiday to Oman. I roped my cousins in to running it with me at the hotel gym (far too hot to run outside!) and was disheartened to see they all finished 15K in the same time it took me to run 10!

I trained hard throughout the winter, making up to 18 miles before I was struck with a knee injury and unfortunately had to defer my London Marathon entry. Instead of staying fit and keeping up my running fitness throughout the next 6 months, I stopped completely. Of course, that made it so much harder to start again, building back up from nothing. This time I did things a little differently though, I chose an 18 week training programme from Hal Higdon, and joined a gym. I started including strength work into my routine as well as shorter, speedier treadmill runs, as well as signing up for races to use as training runs. This is where my love of races and medals began!

I ran my first 5K in December 2010 – the RNLI 5K in Regent’s Park with my Step-Dad, finishing in just under 30mins. I didn’t run in the antlers or nose because I wanted to get a good time, HA!

first ever race


I completed the Bath Half, Marlow half and Portsmouth Half in 2012 as training for the London Marathon, clocking in times between 2.11-2.17. I was pleased with how I’d run, and couldn’t imagine myself ever running faster! Luckily, my friend Emily was running the London Marathon that year too, so we ran our 20 miler together across London. It was so much more fun than running alone that we decided to run the actual marathon together too. It was such a help to have her there to get each other through the tough times. We crossed the finish line holding hands in 4.54.59!

finished marathon

Luckily this time, I didn’t stop running after completing the marathon, joined a gym closer to my work, and fell in love with exercise classes. I continued to run my usual 3 mile route as well as regular interval sessions on the treadmill, plus plenty of BodyPump classes. Fast forward to January 2013 and I decided to sign up for a half marathon in Eastbourne with some friends, without looking at the course profile (I will never learn!). I trained a little bit, including a 10 miler just to check I could finish the distance, and actually had a really great race. I finished in 2.06– my first sub 10 min mile race, and felt great throughout. I had got my running/racing mojo back!


Around this time I signed up to go to a free run club held at Whole Foods in Piccadilly, organised by Boutique Sport, these runs were training for the Energizer Night Run (a 5 and 10K through Battersea Park). I met Leah there on my first session, running and chatting with her all the way round London. I started attending sessions every week, and met some lovely ladies that I’m still friends with now. These 3 mile runs in the dark and rain reaffirmed my love of outdoor running, whatever the weather!

I completed the Energizer Night Run, and immediately joined a running club to train for We Own the Night 10K race in June.


I kept running regularly, and when I was given the chance to run the New York Marathon in November 2013, I jumped at it. With just 10 weeks to train, I asked for the expert advice from Gia, who guided me through tempo runs, 400m repeats, easy runs and double day workouts. Training paid off, and I loved almost every moment of the 26.2 miles through New York City. I finished in 4.09- 45 minutes faster than my first marathon and speedier than I would have dreamed of.

New York Marathon

Of course, lots of runners cross the finish line and have their sights set on their next marathon or race. I started thinking about the next 4 marathons, wondering whether I could complete all 6 Marathon Majors.

I ran the Paris marathon (Not a marathon major) in April 2014, finishing disappointingly 37 seconds over my goal- 4.00.37. I was gutted, but knew that my training had been sub par for this marathon- a mistake I wouldn’t make again.


The fire to run a sub 4 finish was well and truly lit! I entered the lottery for the Berlin marathon and was thrilled to get a place. I trained really, really hard throughout the summer – hitting pretty much every workout on point. I felt in a great place before starting the race, however the race wasn’t pretty. I struggled through every mile from 16 onwards- but I made it, crossing the finish line in 3.49!

Berlin Marathon medal

I’ve been on a bit of a running sabbatical this year, choosing to take lots of classes instead of racing all that much. But I’m lacing up my trainers again, and about to throw myself fully back into training for the Chicago Marathon in October- major number 4! If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that PUMA recently set me a 21 day challenge to re-ignite my running and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed a bit of a kick up the bum to get going again! My not-so-secret A goal for Chicago is to run a BQ (Boston Qualifying time of 3.35), it means running really, really fast for me and I’ll need all the help I can get!

I’ll be blogging my training here over the summer- be sure to follow along! In the meantime, I’d love to know YOUR running story- leave a comment below or for an extra entry write your own blog post about your running journey to be in with a chance to WIN A PAIR OF PUMA IGNITE trainers! Competition is open to UK and US- closes 11.59pm 19th June. 



This post is sponsored by PUMA. 


  1. missd3bbie

    I only started running in May and have been reading all your old posts to learn some tips. I’ve just finished the Couch 2 5K app and I’m working on my 5km time at the moment before doing my first parkrun next weekend. I’m hoping to get under 40 minutes at the moment. I’ve wanted to be able to run 5km for years but always gave up.

    I’m quite addicted to exercise now and feel restless sitting at a desk all day. I used to be far too lazy to do anything other than walk and a bit of dance, but since I started running I’m also doing yoga and swimming to get a more rounded workout.

  2. Emma

    I started running in Jan 2014 with my goal being a 5k race in April. Having never been a runner before I thought this was a realistic target. I just missed meeting my target of 25 mins coming in at 25.28 but was delighted for being my first race. I kept saying 5k was a long enough distance for me then decided to keep running one night and ended up doing 9k. Realising I could do more I signed up for the Race for Life 10k.

    With studying and the cold winter in Scotland, running took a back seat until Feb 15 when I agreed to run another 10k in May with a friend and managed to smash this is a time of 53.53 which I was delighted with. Girls at work had signed up for the Edinburgh Half Marathon thhs year and convinced me I’d manage a longer distance so I’m currently training for a Half Marathon at the ene of June.

    Some of the longer runs have been challenging but it’s a great feeling when you’ve finished to realise that this time last year I’d never have been able to do that. Starting to love running and will definitely continue after the Half Marathon! I love that no matter what kind of day i’ve had once I’ve been running it totally clears your head! 🙂 A bit of fresh air is the best medicine!

  3. Margaret (@HaveAGoodRun)

    Your story sounds a LOT like mine, except I didn’t play any sports at all in high school or university! I started running around 2009, because I suddenly found myself surrounded by runners. I’d never EVER thought about running a marathon, let along become a runner! I started slowly on the treadmill, then ran a 5k, a half, more halfs, and finally decided on a marathon (Chicago 2010). Like you, injury struck me down but I decided that next time I’d be smart and train right. I ran my first marathon in May 2011 in 4:13, and NYC in Nov 2011 in 4:06. I switched to Run Less Run Faster for Chicago 2012 and ran it in 3:47! Paris in April 2014 was 3:46, and like you I’m interested in but terrified about pursuing a 3:35! Gotta run fast to get fast though!

  4. lizzydening

    When I was younger I was never particularly sporty – I’m not competitive and was always hideously self-conscious. At one point I hired a personal trainer and did start to run in 30 min bursts three times a week, but it was only ever with a view to losing weight. It was so, so boring, and I hated every knee-slamming, blister-bursting minute!
    This April, however, after driving home through awful traffic on a beautiful sunny day, I felt something new. An urge to get outside. But more than that – to run. Not for my figure or for anyone else, but simply because I could. I paced myself (something I’d never really done before) and was delighted to see how far my little legs could carry me. It was a revelation – running wasn’t about losing weight, punishing myself or even, really, about getting fit. It was about pleasure, and seeing how capable and strong I really was. Since then I’ve built up to 5k twice a week (still slow and steady, but it never did the tortoise any harm, right?) and even – I can’t believe I am saying this – joined a running club last night. Everyone was really welcoming, and even though I was right near the back, I was just pleased that I didn’t need to stop at all en route.
    I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic, obsessed with promotions and goals and praise. It’s such a relief – and a joy – to discover a world where I can set my own goals, however small, and continue to meet them and surprise myself. There aren’t many other activities that could boast that in just 40 minutes, a couple of times a week.
    I’m delighted to have found your blog, and to see all of the races, events and challenges which (hopefully) now await me.

  5. sam

    Give me some trainers

  6. Emilie

    I started running using the Couch 2 5k app, like a million other people. I was in my second year of University and I’d noticed that my life was not at all healthy. I’d never been a sporty person at school and I’d never wanted to be! But as an all-or-nothing kind of person, I threw myself into fitness and found that I loved running.

    Entering myself for my first Manchester 10k was scary, but I knew I needed a goal. I completed the 10k in 57 minutes and 34 seconds, only slightly beating it the next year! (56:42)

    I’m now training (sort of) for the Great North Run, my first half marathon. I’ve not been as committed as I was at first, but since starting sessions with a personal trainer, things should start looking up!

    Since starting my fitness journey, I’ve managed to lose over a stone – though I was only on the border of being overweight! I’m now much healthier and have a much better outlook on life. 🙂

    Emilie xx

  7. Ab

    I almost cant remember my life without running, even though it only started in 2012! My mum had been terribly ill over the Christmas period, and once she was home and on the road to recovery I decided that I’d love to set myself a challenge to raise money for the amazing hospital ward that cared for her. I entered the ballot for the Royal Parks half October 2012 (Knowing this would be a HUGE challenge for me, as I pretty much did no exercise aside from the odd swim and drunken dancing in nightclubs!), and when I found out in late January I’d got a place that’s pretty much when my training started! I remember feeling so proud of run/walking about a mile & half!!

    After Royal Parks, I remember thinking this running stuff is actually alright I might keep it up. I also remember thinking immediately after the race “How on EARTH do people run marathons?!” however within about 2 weeks something clicked in my mind and I decided that I wanted to run the London Marathon the following year! I finished VLM 2013, my first marathon in 4.51 and the rest is history!! I’ve now finished 4 marathons, with a 5th planned for this October, countless half’s & 10k’s & other distances and events. I love running, its helped me through some tough times and given me much happiness over the last 3 or so years, I couldn’t image life without it now 🙂

    Ab x

  8. Dave March

    Great story! Thanks Charlie.

    I started running at the age of 5 or 6 with my Dad. He was a marathoner and keen lunchtime runner. I remember he used to time me to run round the block, then I’d do the same for him. Around that time, I ran a 5k and I remember being upset because I wasn’t allowed to run the 10k with my Dad. Unfortunately, he died the following year so we were never able to run together as adults. All that was 28 years ago now, and I started running again about 5 years ago. (I also made a futile attempt in about 2003 but got a nosebleed so stopped)
    When I found out my wife was pregnant I decided I needed to get fit and signed up for Brighton marathon in 2012. The impending baby and the ridiculous-ness of having to do a couch to 42k was all the motivation I needed to start the habit that I wish I’d never grown out of.
    I got 3:48 that year, and 3:54 the next. I threw in a few 10k’s here and there, the odd Parkrun, the amazing Red Bull Steeplechase and this year the London Marathon in 3:26.
    My personal highlight was meeting my Dads training buddy and getting a copy of his (handwritten) training diary from 1988 in preparation for the Red Bull Steeplechase, that really meant a lot.
    During this short time I also became a run leader, and a running coach with Run England and I now help others achieve their running potential.
    I’ve made many friends on this journey so far, some of them I would regard amongst my closest mates. I learn more from every run, and I remember my Dad every time l stand on a start line.
    This year will see my first ultra, my continued forays into triathlon, and (I hope) my Son’s first Parkrun when he turns 4 in August.

    Everyone has such great stories behind why they run – keep it up folks.


  9. Amanda

    Wow, I loved reading your running story! Such a fun goal to run all the major marathons. One of my life running goals is the mararthon on every continent. I’m also slowly working on running in all 50 states. I’m only going on marathon #4, but it’s a start 😉 each one has been in a different state so far. Good luck on trying to BQ!! I am so envious! I’m a slower runner so I think my best shot is when I’m older. I’m aiming for 4:15 at MCM in October.

  10. Rose

    An inspirational story! I ran my first Half Marathon in 2013 but since then, my running has dropped off. I recently joined a Couch to 5k group and hope to do the Race for Life Bristol 5k in July. Its good to know that you can come back from being injured/ having a break and take your running even further!

  11. Hannah

    I love this post and reading all the comments! My running story:

    I started running in 2011, just on my own around the local park, and entered a 10km race as a challenge. Not long afterwards I got an injury to my knee (later found out it was ITB syndrome) so knowing nothing about running, I rested for a week, then a month, then 3 months etc but the pain kept coming back straight away.

    I mentioned it to my GP who referred me to a physiotherapist at my local hospital. In all the years I’ve been reading running blogs, I’ve never heard of anyone using NHS physios – it’s always people paying loads of money for a private one! But I really recommend it. Within a couple of weeks I started a weekly 8-week group course. It cured me! After 8 weeks, I started running again, 1km to start with and then increasing it by no more than 10%.

    Shortly afterwards in 2012 I discovered parkrun which has really changed my running life. I wanted a PB every week so started going out in the week to get fitter. I’m chuffed with my current PB of 20.58 🙂 100 parkruns later and I still love it although unfortunately I now live in a country without parkrun!

    In Sept 2013 I did my first half marathon in 1:43 and really enjoyed it. This was followed by 3 more halfs at the start of 2014 (3 only because my would-be PB at Hampton Court Palace HM wasn’t counted as the course was short and I really wanted to try and get a PB that spring with all the training – I didn’t).

    Then last month I somehow managed a 5 min HM PB with 1:38. I feel I may have peaked!

    Now I’m trying to decide whether to take the plunge and enter a marathon this autumn. I look forward to following your training blogs about your marathon journey!

  12. Kel

    I had two major knee surgeries that left me wondering if I could run, along with long-term plantar fasciitis. Finally I decided to go for it and started running, despite the pain. The first year my feet ached after every run, but slowly things have improved, and it really has never bothered my knees. I enjoy running on trails so much!

  13. Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers

    Great post! I started running back in 2008 after a bad breakup – a friend had convinced me to do a sprint triathlon and I figured it’d be a good way to occupy my time with all I was dealing with. Little did I know I’d grow to LOVE endurance sports and go on to complete two full marathons, a bunch of halfs, and several triathlons!

  14. Georgie

    I started running in 2006, aged 18 when my friend signed me up for a Race for Life. My dad tried to give me training programme and I refused to even jog to the end of the road. The race came and I finished it in 29 minutes, shocking everyone who’d never seen me run before! After that, I hung up my trainers for a fair few years until my best friend ran a 10k. Seeing that normal people could do that, I entered one myself and trained lots. The race came, I ran it in 55 minutes and since then I haven’t stopped. I’ve carried on training and in the two years and a half years since then I’ve done lots more races. This weekend I’m running the Liverpool Half Marathon.

  15. Mrs B

    I starter running 10 years ago now when i was running to catch a train for my first job out of uni and rrealised I was out of breath. I decided that this was not a good way to start working life so, too skint to join a gym, I found some old shorts, shoes etc and started running round the block. I did my first 1/2 marathon when a load of friends coaxed me into doing it and then pulled out, leaving me to run alone! I had an appointment right after teh race so I had to run fast to make it intime! My first marathon was with my husband and in unseasonably hot weather. i clocked 3:31:30 and got the bug. At the new year I decided to see what happens if I really push it and in April i finished Manchester Marathon on 3:00:01. Now the aim is to get those 2second off, but really I’d love 2:50:00. I’ve started running with groups and have discovered that track training is actually quite fun.

  16. kristenk

    This is an awesome running story! I’m amazed by how fast you got once you started training right. I’m currently training for half #6 and it’s the first time I’m fully cross training and doing speed work and it’s making a difference! Good luck with your BQ in the fall!

  17. Catherine Hill

    Loved reading your story! I started running approx 7 years ago when I met my other half. It felt like something we could do together and something that I should be doing. It took me around 4 years to realise that there is more to running than running the same route, distance, speed!! Lunchtime running often meant I always ran 5k/30 mins – needed to have time to shower and eat too! I saw a small 10k advertised near to my work and haven’t looked back since taking part in that race, having this year signed up for my 2nd half marathon and a marathon next year – eek, what will be next? I’m not sure, but I know that whatever it is it will be fun and challenging ☺️

  18. Charissa (@ColourfulPalate)

    Wow, good for you! My best running memory is when I decided to cross run a full marathon off my life bucket list. I did it and am so proud of myself. Recently I was in a bad car accident, so my fitness/running has deteriorate to the point a 5k scares me…so my goal is to get my muscle back and run a 5k this year or next!

  19. Zoe at Splodz Blogz

    Like you I loved doing sport at School but I did it along side ALL the other things including music and science clubs so never got good at anything. I went to the gym on and off through Uni and since then have been a bit fickle with running. Over 5 years I did 6 10km road races with the personal challenge of doing sub 60 minutes, but never managed it. After running the British 10k on the hottest day of the year and going slower than ever before I gave up – I’ve tried a mile or two since then but nothing to speak of for a couple of years or more. I think I’ve pretty much decided that my running journey is finished, it’s not for me, I prefer other things like hiking and would rather spend my time on those. Although that sub-60 minute 10km is still on my bucket list, so maybe I’ll give it another go one day.

  20. Amanda Kelsey

    Really enjoyed reading this post- it’s so nice to read that you were once a beginner runner.
    I also loved sports at school, I competed for Scotland in Sports Acrobatics until I had severe glandular fever and had to stop all sports for over a year.
    I then went to uni and joined the gym and trampoline club but nothing serious. I continued to try out different sports and love trying new things.
    10 years down the line and I have put on a considerable amount of weight since uni but have taken up running in the last year on and off. I have now completed a few 5k runs and did my first 10k in January. Unfortunately I injured my achilles and had to take a break again but this month I have started running again and am training for the nike 10k at the end of this month. I don’t think I will get the time that I originally was aiming for but I am happy to be back running.
    I have just come back from a weeks holiday in Lanzarote and am proud to say I completed two runs whilst out there- a few years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of running whilst on holiday and now I can’t think why I wouldn’t. It was a great way to see more of the town that we stayed in and the post run dip in the pool felt amazing!
    Running for me has brought the start of my new fitness journey, I have made new friends through running and we have started a small running group with some of the girls from work.
    I am still very slow at running but I enjoy it and it reminds me of how amazing my body is.

  21. Laura (@deviantcupcake)

    This is super-long, because my running journey has been a long one, and I don’t have a blog to post it on, so apologies!

    My running story started in 2009. I was recovering from an auto-immune illness and had been doing Pilates and some strength training for some time to aid my recovery. During that time, I found a career path I wanted to follow, and it required a certain level of fitness. All very well, I knew I had it in me to pass the strength tests. But I’d have to be able to run in order to pass the fitness tests.

    I never liked running. I was overweight in secondary school, hated PE, and when we had to run around the track I wouldn’t get far before having to stop to walk. My teacher would stop me after the first lap, because I would have held up the whole class if they’d had to wait for me to do another. So I never thought I could run. But I wanted this job, so I went out and bought a pair of trainers, an armband to stick my iPod in, and I started to run. It was every bit as hard and awful as I remembered. But this time I was fitter, and I had a goal that I was determined to reach. I started running in country lanes, which wasn’t ideal but it was the only place close to home. Between the traffic and potholes, I decided it was too dangerous and invested in a treadmill.

    It was when I got the treadmill set up in the shed, beside the Pilates reformer, that I fell in love with running. The alone time was great and I built up my endurance and ability whilst blasting the Glee soundtracks really loudly. Good thing we didn’t have neighbours!

    Sadly, the new career didn’t pan out. My health got in the way and so I kept bumbling along in the part-time job I’d been doing, but I kept running. Then in 2010 disaster struck when I found myself with hip and sciatic pain. I couldn’t walk, let alone run. I had problems with that for a very long time, and despite numerous trips to several different GPs, none of them came up with a cause or solution, or even an MRI to try and help. Thank goodness for my osteopath! She got me moving again, but I was too afraid to run without knowing the cause of the problem. I had a few attempts over the next couple of years but encountered pain every time and eventually decided to sell my treadmill.

    In 2014, having seen my boyfriend train for the Wales Marathon, I decided it was time to start running again. Dr Google came to my aid and helped me to find out that it was piriformis syndrome causing my pain. So, armed with this knowledge and a lot of helpful stretches, I started running again. By now I was living in a more built-up area, so I had roads and parks I could run in. Wow, running outdoors is more difficult than I ever remembered it being on the treadmill! And the number of flies I swallowed whilst gasping for breath…
    Let’s just say I wasn’t enjoying my return to running. It was so hard, and I felt as though I was getting nowhere. It seemed like every week I had a new injury, and I could not get as far as a mile. Eventually, I gave up. I was in constant pain (probably due to awful trainers, which I’ve now thrown away) and just felt totally disheartened seeing all the other runners fly by looking so happy.

    I was so miserable having failed at running. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do it, knowing that I’d done it in the past. I let it go, and over the next 9 months or so also let myself go. I didn’t work out much, partly because I let fear of injury get in my way, but also because of an awful defeatist attitude.

    Early in 2015 I gave myself a kick in the backside and made myself start training again. Pilates, strength training, exercise bike… And then the little running niggle came back. So I downloaded C25K and dragged my boyfriend out to run along the canal bank with me. He hated it, but I loved it. Somehow I’d found a positive attitude and was determined to succeed. My C25K app failed me on one solo run, and instead of running for 2 minutes I found I’d run through 2 songs on my iPod. Whoop! I actually abandoned the app and just started listening to my body. I joined the beginners group of my local running club and started to go out with them on Monday evenings to train. I smashed my first mile on a not-very-flat run with my boyfriend. A few days later I hit 2.19, and the run after that I got to 3 miles.

    My next goal is to do the local Parkrun. It’s a tricky one because it’s not flat, but I’m gonna beat it! I’m going to work on my speed for a little while this summer, and I’ve signed up for a 10k charity run in February, so later in the year I’ll be upping my distance to train for that.

    I never, ever thought I’d be a runner. If only my 15-year-old self could see me now…

    • charlotte

      I love this!! Thank you so so much for sharing! A ParkRun is such a great, friendly place to start, plus there’s often a good coffee shop to treat yourself after!

  22. MrsB | Mind over Matter

    5 years ago when my youngest son was 1, my husband said one day “I’ve signed us both up for a half marathon. It’s in 6 months.” My response “Whaaaat? I can’t run!”
    Well, my first training run was with him and it was 7km. I didn’t die and started to train by myself. I ran that half marathon, my first race, in 1:53 and the rest is history 🙂

  23. Abbie Rebecca Davidson

    Having always been know for being a bit clumsy, heavy footed and not particularly athletic, last year I seen a friend complete the Edinburgh Half Marathon and decided, next year, I’m going to do that!

    Running 13.1 seemed impossible to start with, so I signed up for a 5k and slowly began training. Running consistently for 1mile was a struggle, but slowly I started becoming stronger and fitter. I have to credit most of my hard work to my favourite tunes. Whenever the going gets tough I know to reach for a bit of Beyonce to ‘Sasha feirce’ through the pain- much to on lookers amusement.

    During the run up to the Edinburgh Half Marathon I also completed two 10k races and the Edinburgh Kilomathon (which is 8miles). My enthusiasm had also spread to a close friend and my boyfriend who were now both running as much as me! By this point I was a month or so away from the half marathon and had fallen in love with fitness. I started yoga classes, hill walking and completely changed my diet finally realising life was about enjoying good food that fuels my bosy, not calorie counting and stressing about being ‘beach bosy ready’. A term that now makes me shudder and infuriates the hell out of me, but that rant is for another day. Running had become my passion, and also therapy! Nothing is better than having miles and miles to sweat and think things out.

    Last month I completed the Edinburgh Half Marathon in 1:59 and loved EVERY minute of it. I was so proud of what I had a achieved.

    Running has changed my outlook on life- I am capable of anything I put my mind to. Yesterday I completed a 5k assult course in the mud, just for fun. And walking through tesco with a bin bag for a skirt of mud everywhere, with one of my closest friends has got to be a highlight so far this year. I have already a signed up for 3 more half marathons and the big, scary, exciting FULL EDINBURGH MARATHON next year. I can’t wait for the challenge (and a wee pair of PUMA trainers would be a welcome addition to my training plan).

    Love and hugs, adventure is out there!


  24. Rachel

    I’ve only been running seriously for 10 months now, but it feels like much longer than that. Up until last September, I had phases where I would go out, run for a month or two and then stop. I’ve always been a sporty person, playing badminton and doing countless sports through school, but I’ve found it harder and harder to do these sports after graduating university and keep up my fitness to a level where I can perform in my other sports well.

    My mum was an avid runner, and she did many 10k races and a couple of half marathons in her time (including the Great North Run). We did a couple of Race for Life 5k races together when I was around 12/13 years old, and I remember absolutely hating the training! My mum died in 2010 from breast and secondary liver cancer, and finally at the back end of 2014 I got myself into gear, said to myself that I wanted to make a lifestyle change and follow in her footsteps. I signed up to the 2015 Reading Half Marathon, and after five months of training (and a bout of shin splints in between!) I managed to finish in 2:04:09.

    For my first half marathon, I ran for the charity that looks after the Cancer Hospital where my mum and grandpa both stayed when they were ill. I’m proud to say that I raised £680 for them, and a race means so much more when you are running for a cause you are so close to. That first half marathon has only ignited my love for running more; I’m now a member of a running club which I go to every week and I’m starting to really improve my pace and stamina. Running gives me a sense of freedom that I can’t get from any other sport, and it pushes me more than I’ve ever pushed myself before.

  25. Grace

    This was so inspiring to read and loving reading all the comments too- newly discovered your blog this week and so glad I did! My running journey began at the start of this month, so it’s a short story compared to your epic novel ! For the last 3 years I’ve been addicted to classes everything from spinning, boxing to yoga. While I still enjoy these I felt like it was time to set myself a goal so I signed up for the Bupa 10k next year after never running in my life. I’m currently starting slowly (your recent post on how to start running was really useful) with a Zero to 30 minute 6 week plan 🙂 excited to see where this takes me!

  26. Laura

    It’s so interesting to read about different running journeys, it just shows that no two experiences are the same and how amazing/addictive running is! So, here’s mine: I jogged a bit in my late teens and while I was at uni but never paid any attention to pacing myself and had to stop every two minutes to catch my breath. Once, when was out “running”, a man asked me if I was training for a relay as I was stopping all the time! But I persisted and ran shorter distances on the treadmill at the gym. In 2012, I signed up for my first race, a Race for Life 10k around Clapham Common. It was that evening, in my endorphin-fuelled haze, that I decided to sign up for a half marathon. Sadly, illness meant that I couldn’t do it until the following summer but on a very hot day in July 2013, I completed my first half marathon in 2:07. Since then, I’ve struggled a lot with injury (shin splints, ITB/knee issues etc) but that didn’t stop me from running my first marathon in Munich, in October 2014. Crossing the finish line felt like one of the best things I had ever done and the bucket list of marathons that I want to run is growing all the time (New York and Melbourne are at the top of my list if anyone is interested). I’m currently injured again and haven’t run for three months but I have a place in the Berlin marathon this September and I’m determined to run/jog/walk it, even if it takes me 6 hours! Injury may prevent me from running more often than it should but I’ll never give up my favourite exercise unless I absolutely have to. Here’s to many more marathons!

  27. Emma StripesandSnapshots

    Love hearing your running story. Inspired, I’ve written mine and it will be posted tomorrow!

  28. Lesli

    Really enjoyed reading about your journey. Thanks for the inspiration to a) keep running and b) share my own running journey! You can read mine here:

  29. cistov

    I started making a conscious effort to go for walks during lunch time about 4-5 years ago. I was keeping track of my walks and they were gradually becoming more & more ambitious – including longer ones on weekends, after getting an early morning bus to the nearby country park. Around that time I also started learning about good nutrition and exercise science in general, and one point it dawned on me that running could the next logical step.

    I completed the NHS Couch to 5K podcast program in September 2013 (I owe narrator Laura a drink or two), ran my first 5K race in Battersea park on a rather chilly November morning that same year, then took a deep breath and signed up for 3 half marathons. At that point thought of running 21K was genuinely scary, but having not one but three events to train for somehow made it easier (that and perhaps a little too much Christmas wine).

    There is something about running that I can’t quite put into words. It’s now become an integral part of my life and I hope it stays this way for the foreseeable future.

  30. Ashleigh

    Love hearing your story and reading your blog! I’m also a Londoner running Chicago in October and am very excited for my second marathon! I’ll be training ‘with’ my good friend Jenny who lives in the windy city. She’s running her first trail marathon in Illinois the week afterwards so although we can’t go for runs together we’ll be comparing training highs and lows and cheering each other on in real life on race days. Looking forward to following your training tales too!

    I’ve been running off and on since Jenny bought a book about running when we were both at uni and somehow persuaded me we should give it a go. Until that point I was not at all sporty – I hated even watching sports and had dreaded school PE with such an intensity that I even wrote an article for Just Seventeen about how awful it was! In fact, neither Jenny nor I could cope with running for a whole minute when we first started but somehow we both stuck at it, building up to regular 30 minute runs and now we’re both marathoners.

    I was always a bit off and on about running, despite a few 10ks and half marathons (and a Brussels 20k while I lived in Belgium), but didn’t really feel the running love until my first marathon. I’d had a pretty miserable time when I moved back from Belgium and really struggled to readjust to London life. Things eventually improved and I was determined to set myself a really big challenge so signed up for my first marathon in Brighton, in 2014. I ran for Mind, who were amazing, and it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever done! Having my friends and family there to cheer me on was so inspiring, and even though it took me more than 5 hours 28 mins I knew I’d have to do another. The sense of accomplishment from having set myself a really tough goal, worked hard and achieved it was really incredible. I’m a total running addict now with 10k and half marathon PBs this spring and quite a collection of fluorescent lycra! I can’t ever imagine hating sport again.

  31. Ciara Sullivan

    Hi Charlie!

    Thank you for sharing your story and I have loved reading everyone else’s inspiration!

    I have never been a runner, I did ballet for 15 years and other dance whilst I was growing up and then discovered Zumba and other classes at the Uni gym but running never appealed!

    The Christmas before last I decided to run a 10k for the spinal injuries association who help people all over the UK recover and get back to independence after an accident. This was a charity close to my heart as they were a huge help to my own brother following his accident 10 years ago. I roped my boyfriend and my oldest brother into the run with me and we signed up to the Bupa 10K run in March 2014. Bearing in mind I had never run before, when I set out on my first ‘training session’ I ran less than 1km and told my boyfriend I was having an asthma attack and had to stop to which he told me ‘you don’t even have asthma, come on’ which was very fair as I was just being totally weak! I kept my training up, going running 3 times a week building up to 9k in the end and then completed the run in just over an hour which I was so pleased with. Since I signed up to that first run, I have kept running and completed another 10k in Regents Park earlier this year. I have discovered a whole new world of health, food and fitness which I love exploring and finding new recipes, sites and recommendations. Running lets me de stress after a long day at work, explore new places and keeps me happy and healthy, I love it now and I am looking ahead to my 3rd 10k in October which is in Scarborough! I hope to beat my PB and I am looking to the fresh sea air and the promise of fish and chips on the seafront after to push me on! Most of all I think I am lucky to be able to run for these charities who are so deserving of our conations and I am grateful to my friends and family who put up with me always asking for fundraising!

    Good luck to you all

    Ciara xx

  32. rularuns

    Such a great post. Love reading all your times as they are very similar to mine, so I have to believe with better training I can run a much faster marathon. I’ve always been sporty, playing international basketball as a junior, but only after retiring from playing did I really fall in love with running for runnings sake. 2 marathons completed now, and desperate to complete more. Good luck with your BQ goal



  1. How I Fell in Love with Running (and You Can, Too) - […] friend Charlie Watson who writes at The Runner Beans has a great post on her (ongoing) journey to complete…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *