Non-runner to Ultra Runner in 30 months

I’m trying to write something every week, but not if there is nothing to write about.

This week I haven’t been out much. I’m getting ready for the 3 Forts Challenge next weekend and my back and calf are a little sore, so I’ve been planting a few veg in the garden this weekend as well as spending a lot of time on the sofa watching football and cricket.

The same can’t be said for Nick though. In light of her exploits today, let’s recap the last couple of years for her.

When we lived in Brighton Nick dabbled with running. We spent some time on the prom jog/walking and she spent a little time with the Brighton and Hove Running Sisters. It never really took off for some reason and I was the only Dawson who really did any running.

The move north of the South Downs made a huge difference to our lives, I joined BHR and Nick decided to get fit while between jobs. The redundancy from Sussex Enterprise changed our lives in a very positive way.

Once she had overcome the fear of ‘does my bum look big in this?’ and ‘I don’t want to go out running in daylight as people will look at me’, she hasn’t looked back.

The last 30 months are testament to what you can do if you put your mind to it.

The first stage was the Downlands Dash, organised by BHR, but this was before Nick joined the running club and I remember it being a big deal at that stage.  5 miles is a long first race.

IMG_4002The first event that we did together was the Hellingly 10k in 2012.  It was a really hot day and I remember that there was a big hill in the middle.  I came home in around 56 minutes and was expecting to wait a while for Nick to arrive, but she came home in an hour and 2 minutes.  I think that this was very impressive and at that stage totally unexpected.

IMAG0386Things moved on and the next stage was to join the BHR, do a half marathon and enter the Brighton Marathon.

Joining BHR was a great thing for Nick.  It supplied her with the encouragement and the companionship to push her forward.  It’s great to have peope to do the long runs with you.

nick and leanneAnd below is the photo of the BHR tutu girls and Steve after the Beachy Head marathon.

554078_10151796781727655_1279464332_nThe 2 photos below are Nick and Caroline at the Poppy Half in November 2012, getting ready for the Brighton Marathon in 2013.

IMG_4141IMG_4112I remember during the training for the Brighton Marathon that Nick would go out in all weathers, even getting lost on one occasion in the sleet and freezing cold.

Anyway, so things moved on, a lot of hard work was put in and 2013 saw her complete the marathons and Brighton and at Beachy Head.

IMG_4615IMG_5196Having completed the Brighton Marathon again in 2014 and having crewed for me at the Dark Star Marathon, Nick soon started the mention the word ‘ultra’.  She meant it as well.  It didn’t happen as she’d expected though.

This Sunday, she completed the Long Distance Walkers Association 28 mile event over some ridiculous hills.  It was slightly sprung upon her, so she had little time to worry or get nervous and had the pleasure of running it with BHR long distance legend Jan Lavis.

10259319_10152169738139563_1146981078369282275_nAs you can see – some serious ups and downs (the hills are the green section at the bottom).

lwdaSo, there you go.  A very brief story of non-runner to ultra-runner in around 2 and a half years.

Why did I want to write about this?  Well, I have received huge amounts of support from many people over the past few years and so has Nick.  If writing about what Nick has done inspires and encourages someone else to give it a go, then it’s worth every second it took to write.

There’s a lot of people out there who think that they can’t.  They can and this proves it.

That’s it for this week.  Well done Nick, so incredibly proud of you.

I’m hoping my back feels better for next Sunday and the 3 Forts Challenge.

Have fun, Neil.

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