- By Jackie Lake
If someone had told me 5 years ago I would be running marathons regularly and planning to do back-to-back marathons at 56 years of age, there is no way I would have believed them – especially as I’ve been told I run like a three-legged pit pony …
I started running in 2010 after falling off a horse and deciding that it was not for me. I was invited by friends to have a go at some 5ks and then moved on to the odd 10.
I built up to a 10 mile run at RAF Marham in 2011 and then tried my first half-marathon a couple of months later in Norwich. That almost put me off – the weather was wet and cold and it was such a miserable experience! However, a bit like having a baby, I soon forgot the misery and started to seriously think about distance and wonder if could go further. I put my name down for the London marathon in 2012, thinking that if I got through the ballot I would give it a go, but if I didn’t … well never mind …
I didn’t get through the ballot but found myself so disappointed, I started to look around for somewhere else.
Edinburgh looked like a good choice – it was the same date and so I put my name down … By way of encouragement I decided to raise money for Parkinsons UK, thinking I would have to do it otherwise I would be hounded for the return of the money. I started following a Beginners Training Plan downloaded from the internet and bought loads of books concentrating on finishing a marathon rather than thinking I could do it in any set time.
I used Bungay half marathon at the beginning of April as part of my training plan and on the Friday before, my husband and I caught the train from Norfolk to Edinburgh – nervous but excited. Sunday morning came at which point I was just a nervous wreck. I’m not sure how my husband, Ian, managed to persuade me to get to the starting line. I think he literally took me there and left me. It was boiling hot weather after months of cold, wind and rain. But the weather brought the crowds out, along with the singing and dancing, sprays of water and jelly babies. It was fantastic! I couldn’t believe I was doing it and finished it 9 minutes slower than my target time of 4:15, but feeling on top of the world. It was the best feeling ever!
I signed up for Milton Keynes the year after, and then decided to try two in one year – London (raising money for Kidney Research UK) and Leicester – where I managed at long last to reach my target of 4:15.
In 2015, I slightly upped the game doing my first marathon abroad in Madrid which was the hilliest, coldest and most miserable marathon I think I have ever run – against all expectation it poured with rain the whole way round. To compensate I took on King’s Forest and then the Barrow marathons in Suffolk in July and August (my first off road and both had beautiful countryside). I was now hooked on trail running. Then in September I ran Guernsey in my fastest time to date of 4:07. Again it was beautiful countryside and a wonderful day. There was no stopping me now; I did another Barrow marathon in December 2015 in between Christmas and the New Year.
2016 is certainly going to be the year of the Marathon for me – I went to Malta in February, Barcelona in March and Madrid again in April – thankfully the weather was much hotter this time. I also somehow managed to fit in another Barrow marathon.
My plans for the summer are my first back to back marathons, Saturday and Sunday, and then a nice “mini-ultra” of 32 miles on the Thursday and then back to a straightforward marathon on the following Saturday (not good timing as it will be after a night out on the town). At the same time raising money for West Norfolk Mencap.
I am just itching to do an ultra now – well and truly hooked. Nothing beats running in the countryside with only the minimum of “stuff” - a phone and some water, leaving all the day to day paraphernalia back home, taking in the countryside and seeing just how far I can push myself …
- Jackie Lake
Jackie Lake (Aunty Jackie) will be running to raise money for West Norfolk Mencap, who provide beach huts free of charge for people with learning disabilities - see their website here:
Jackie, along with a few friends, will be running as many marathons as they can in 10 days to support this cause. This will be taking place from Thursday the 23rd of June to Saturday the 2nd of July.
Jackie herself will be running marathons on the 25th and 26th of June, as well as the 2nd of July. She'll also be including a 'cheeky' little 'mini-Ultra Marathon' of 30 miles on Thursday the 30th of July.
Give your support for this wonderful cause by donating through the link posted below!