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I’ll Run If You Run: Nicola and Ann’s story

Published On: 24th August 2016

Every year, me and mum watch the Great Manchester Run and every year my mum says “I’d like to do that one day”

Nicola and Ann 003

We’ve kept saying that we’ll do a 10k together but we never have... until now!

Our journey to the Bury 10k

Mum joined the gym earlier this year to get herself fitter, but soon lost the motivation to go. Caring for her elderly mother and grandchildren gave her an excuse not to.

As soon as I saw the Bury 10K advertised, I knew straight away this was just the motivation my mum needed to get back to the gym. It’s something for her to aim for, a goal to achieve.

Mum has always been the one to come to running events that me, my sisters and my dad have done over the years. She’s been there come rain or shine, holding the bags, cheering us on and waiting for us at the finishing line.

So this time, it’s our turn to do that for her. I’ve signed up to run with her, encouraging her along the way, alongside my other sister, Mandy.

Our relationship with running

Mum was never into sport, even as a child or when we were young children, but in the past few years, she’s been going to Yoga every week, learning to ice skate and recently joined the gym.

It’s me that’s always been into sport – I used to always look forward to sports day at school and cross country in PE and I was always in the school sports teams for netball, hockey and rounders.

My other sister Karen was the really sporty one and I just followed her. We were into running, in particular cross country, and joined Bury AC at 10 years old.

But sadly, when I started college and went onto university, sport took a back seat as I made time for the new things happening in my life.

I did my first Manchester 10K eight years ago and it’s since then that I’ve started to take exercise and sport much more seriously – now my spare time seems to revolve around it!

I wouldn't say I'm brilliant at any sport in particular, but I enjoy being part of a team, training for events and keeping my fitness up.

Nicola and Ann 001

Taking on the training

As mum has never done anything like this before, the biggest obstacle was convincing her she could do it. Knowing that I’m helping her to train and I’ll be doing the Bury 10k alongside her and at her pace has helped.

I devised a 13-week training plan for her, which started at running and walking for two miles and will get her running for six miles before the big day.

The next obstacle was getting her back into exercising but not to push her too much – I forget she’s almost 66! Before we’d even started training, she was worried she wasn’t fit enough and wouldn’t be fit enough to do the run, but most of all, when would she get time to do it? Retired people are busy, you know?!

Now she’s got her training plan, she’s finds the time to go to the gym, she’s got motivation to go as she knows what she needs to do whilst she’s there, and even better, she’s really enjoying it!

She’s doing a gym session on the treadmill once a week and then I take her on the roads on a Sunday. Sometimes the whole family comes! I think people are less inclined to give up as easily if you're training with someone else.

We’re not aiming to break any records on the day, we just hope to get round the course by running as much of it as possible.

How running makes us feel

Mum knows it’s hard work but she understands that it will be! She can start to feel herself getting slightly better each week, which is making her feel proud and what a big achievement this will be. It’s really given her something to focus on, health wise.

I love going running especially if I’ve had a bad day and need time to either think or let off steam. I lost count on the number of conversations and arguments I’ve had with myself whilst training!

I’m proud to say I’ve done the Great Manchester Run four times, the London Marathon, Great North Run and the Wilmslow half marathon.

Three years ago, I travelled to Ethiopia and did the Great Ethiopian Run, which is a 10K run around Addis Ababa – this, I have to say, was an amazing experience!

But as I keep telling mum, crossing that finishing line after months of training is such a good feeling, whatever the distance.

Nicola and Ann are raising money for Coeliac UK, after Ann was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2014.

Favourite song to run to:

Let In The Sun by Take That. It’s such a happy, bouncy, summer song and really keeps me going with a smile, when I feel like giving up and it's usually raining.

Favourite post-run treat:

My mum is a fab baker and Sundays are all about pudding and custard, so after our run we can reward ourselves with whatever she’s made. Sticky toffee pudding is definitely my favourite.

Favourite place to run:

Mum says “anywhere downhill”. I used to work in the centre of London quite a bit, and running along the banks of the Thames is quite exhilarating.

One thing you won’t go running without:

Mum says a tissue. I need my running watch. Watching the seconds / distance increase can be very satisfying.

Favourite motivational quote:

People are always saying to me, “I could never run a marathon”. And I always tell them that I once couldn’t either, but you start training and build it up. So therefore I love the quote “All the greatest athletes were once beginners”.

Any last words before the Bury 10k?

If you’re thinking about doing the 10K, just do it. Find yourself a training partner and encourage each other. I’ll guarantee you’ll enjoy every moment, even if you walk most of it. The atmosphere at these events are just amazing.