I wouldn’t ever really consider myself a runner, but I guess if you look back at my ‘track record’ you could probably say that I am.
I started running years ago as a means to get my exercise fix whilst trying to hold down a full time job in London. Instead of taking the tube or the bus, I used to pack a rucksack with work clothes, shove on my trainers and commute the three miles by foot. Looking back, I actually really enjoyed my runs to and from the office. Being outside, the nice weather, feeling energised when I reached the office and it helping to shake off the stress of the day on my way home.
All this casual jogging held me in good stead when I agreed to my first long distance race, a marathon, only two months out from the race (what was I thinking!). All of a sudden running went from being my commute, to the real deal.
Now at 5’2” I wouldn’t exactly say I was built for long distance running, my short legs and all! But I found the more I kept running, the longer the distance I ran, the more I loved it. For me, running is first and foremost a great form of exercise and one you can do for free no matter where you are in the world. But other than that, I found it amazing that my body could actually keep going for hours as my training session increased mile by mile. That I would be able to mentally switch off from pointless chatter about work or life and just use the time out on my runs to listen to some great music or sightsee around this amazing capital city I live in without it actually feeling like a chore.
The marathon, for me, was tough!! Although running with a friend, it was physically painful and by the end, I was mentally and emotionally so overwhelmed. After a few days recovery, which involved eating whatever I liked (the naughty good stuff!) and never walking more than I had too, yup letting myself stand on an escalator rather than walk up it, I took some time to reflect and found the entire experience incredible.
After a little break and some thinking about what race was next, I decided half marathons might be better suited to me. Only 13 miles, which meant the training commitment was not so intense, the physical and mental assertion not so big, but I would still get out of running what I most enjoyed. The chance to spend an hour or two outside, seeing the sights and doing my health good all at the same time.
So after signing up for the Great North Run for the very first time, my hometown half marathon I was truly excited to be part of such a great event. Having either been there or watched it on TV for years growing up, the atmosphere, the race and the support was awesome! Another few half marathons followed and fast forward to this year where I’ve once again signed up to take part in one of the greatest running events in the UK.
Only this time, I’m not running alone… I’ll have the company of my beautiful and fitness mad 60 year old mother, she’s on Great North Run number two, and my ever supportive boyfriend, Robin (yeah, I kinda roped him in to doing it). Having never ran any distance race before, he’s just getting used to not being in the gym but out pounding down the miles on the street, that’s been his first challenge. But, I think he’d make a great runner. He’s tall, athletic and has a great competitive streak. I have every faith and know he will smash it!
Training has begun. The race isn’t until September so I’m just keeping training fairly relaxed at the moment, my aim is just to make sure I’m running a bit more often, for however long and however fast I’m feeling at the time. And to make sure I can encourage Robin to do the same. But I know it won’t be long until we have to up the ante, put on our game faces and get to work.
This year we are running the Great North Run for a wonderful charity, Brave Hearts of the North East. They encourage parents, family, friends and nurses to recognise brilliantly brave young children who have endured terrible illness and conquered them, all with a smile on their little faces. All the monies raised by the charity goes towards giving a little bit of fun, relief and once in a lifetime experiences to these poorly children who would otherwise never have that chance, like a trip to Disneyland!
We are super excited to be part of the Brave Hearts team. If you’d like to donate, no matter how big or small, we welcome any contribution. Together, Robin and I (and my mum) hope to cross that finish line with a big cheer, safe in the knowledge that all those miles ran in training and on the day have been to encourage our friends and family to support this fantastic charity and the work it carries out for young kids in the North East.
Wish us luck!
Katie (& Robin, Mum)
I’ll be updating my Instagram with our training over the next few months, so find me @katiesilvs to follow our progress.
If you’d like to sponsor us, please visit our JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/KatieAndRobin
And to find out more about Brave Hearts of the North East, check out their website