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Monday 14 January 2019

GUEST BLOG - My running journey! by Sarah Clarke

I started running in 2016 when I needed some time to myself. I have two young daughters with special and additional needs and times can be tough. I wanted to get physically fit and mentally happier. Running seemed like a good bet. So, I downloaded the 0 to 5k app and put on my trainers and off I went. At first, I felt conscious and silly about what I looked like running but as other runners went past me with an out of breath 'hello', I soon just fitted in.

I got to my 5k goal in eight weeks and was so pleased with myself. I was totally hooked on running and felt so much better. 

I came across a running group, Run Surrey Hills with Jude Palmer, so I signed up to join. It was an 8-week trail course with a great bunch of ladies who, like me, were new to running. We had so much fun and were soon picking up the pace and distance. Running coach Jude was such an inspiration to me, her passion for the outdoors and running was so addictive I just loved running with her. I can still hear her voice in my head saying 'run tall'.

When our course came to an end, I had a crazy thought of doing the Surrey Hills Challenge. Jude said she had every confidence that I could do it, so I signed up for my first ever 10k!!! I was so excited but nervous too. 

I kept training pretty much every other evening once I'd put the girls to bed. It was hard fitting it in around them, and several different therapy sessions they have, but I wanted them to see their mummy keeping fit and hopefully inspire them to be healthy. 

Race day came and the weather could not have been any worse! The heavens had opened and I was absolutely soaked before I had even started the run! The buzz at the event was brilliant though and I didn't care about being wet, I just wanted to do it. We lined up at the start, everyone nervously excited and waiting for the go ahead. Then we were off. Splashing through so many puddles and mud, my feet were swimming in my trainers! My hands were so cold, I couldn't feel them. Running up the long hill of Denbie’s was really hard. I've always struggled with that hill but I had Jude’s voice in my head, 'run tall, knees up!' So I just kept going. Everyone was so lovely and really encouraging as they overtook me, saying 'well done, keep going,'. So lovely to have that support in a race. 

My legs were almost ready to give up when I saw the finish line, I could feel my heart pumping and I was quite choked up the closer I got to it. As I crossed the finish line I had tears in my eyes, I was so happy I'd done it. There, as I collected my 10k medal, was Jude. I was so happy to see my coach and inspiration at the end. 

I completed my first 10k in 1 hour 12 minutes, I was pleased with my time. 

My girls were very proud of me and loved my medal! I am now keen to progress to maybe a half marathon! I will definitely do the next Surrey Hills Challenge it was a brilliant event.

Sarah Clarke


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