Quakers Member Spotlight – November 2018
Gemma takes a break from working out your points in the Club Championship competition to tell us about her own running.
I started running when I was very young. My oldest sister Paula used to run when she was a teenager and my mam said I ran a lap of the running track with her when I was just two years old.
I joined a local running club when I was 11 and loved it. I have enjoyed running ever since.
2. What kept you going when you first started running?
I kept up running throughout my time at comprehensive school. I have always been quiet and was bullied at school. I found running a way to escape from everything. It was something that I felt good at, it gave me a purpose and a distraction.
3. How much training do you typically do each week?
Currently I only run a couple of times a week. I try to get to running club once a week and I love taking part in parkrun every Saturday.
I used to do a lot more gym work and cycling – these have taken a back seat since I became pregnant!
4. Be honest, do you enjoy training?
I always enjoy the social side of training now – not always the physical effort, so much!
I haven’t been competitive for a long time but when I was I used to enjoy pushing myself and seeing the areas that I improved at each week.
I like to see what positive effects it brings to people. I love that our club is so inclusive.
I love to cycle, a few years back I did a charity ride cycling from Land’s End to John O Groats; 1,000 miles in just nine days. It was an amazing experience and we raised over £48,000 for charity. Cycling is something that has kept me fit and injury free in the past. It is definitely something I would like to get back into in the future.
I have tried a triathlon once but swimming isn’t really something I excel at, haha! I loved the experience of it though and would recommend that anyone give it a try
I am an unusual runner who actually enjoys the treadmill, and have spent many happy hours in the Dolphin Centre, racking up the miles.
6. Do you manage to fit in any other hobbies?
I have enjoyed taking over the administration of the Quakers Club Championship. I like to volunteer at junior parkrun and have recently joined the South Park juniors core team.
I’m also at college part time, studying for my next accountancy qualification.
I love long dog walks in the forest with my husband Olly and having silly fun on the tandem and scooters.
I have done the Great North Run several times and I have really enjoyed this. I love the atmosphere and hearing everyone’s stories. I think it is a very emotional and rewarding run.
I have completed 4 marathons which are mentally challenging – especially the most recent in Porto, Portugal, where much of the course was run on cobblestones, and felt particularly difficult.
I did Total Warrior covering the 10k distance with Michelle Boshier; that was very challenging and so much fun, going through all the mud, jumping through flames and swimming through icy water. Michelle. I also enjoyed taking part in the Stockton River Rat Race and survived jumping in the Tees! Both events were fantastic.
I especially enjoyed taking part in this year’s Fountains 10k, when a group of us Quakers decided to just enjoy the beautiful scenery, and splash in every puddle, finishing with enormous smiles on our faces!
8. What’s your current running goal?
I don’t have any current running goals; we are expecting a baby, due in January, so I am planning to keep running as long as I am able to and see what the future brings after that. Maybe a running buggy!
9. What is your favourite race/distance/terrain?
My favourite distance now would have to be a shorter one like a 5k. I enjoy running trail races, I like to be out in the countryside.
I have also enjoyed the half marathon distance in the past, in some ways I have found this easier than 10k events.
I think my proudest running achievement would have to be completing the Great North Run in 1:58:00. I had tried a few times to get under two hours and the previous year did it in 2:00:02 so I was determined to break the two hours.
I was also proud of my Manchester marathon finish in 2016, under 5 hours.
11. Anything in your running experience you regret?
No! Maybe the swim at Coniston Triathlon…
12. Any advice to newcomers to running?
Just to come along to Quakers and parkrun and enjoy it. I think that it is important that they run for themselves. It is not all about being the fastest. Enjoy it in the way that makes you happy; never be intimidated.