Our ambassador SALLY BRIDER..
has sat down with our team to answer some of your want-to-know questions!
How, when and why did you get into running?
I came to running later in life (after battling the menopause), completing my first marathon in April 2017 at age 53. My husband had run the London Marathon in 2016 and had signed up again…Basically, I was going to become running widow if I didn’t start running myself!
The menopause had taken away a lot of my self confidence and given me a few extra kilos, and as there were a few women who wanted to run with him, I guess the survival instinct of the menopausal woman kicked in! I went from zero running to a sub 5 hour marathon in just eight months and was totally addicted!
Where is your favourite place to run?
I definitely prefer running on the trails. However, when I started running and training for the London Marathon I had no idea what ‘trail running’ actually meant. When I discovered that it was running anywhere that was on an ‘unpaved surface’, I realised that I had completed the majority of my training on the trails…
I was living in rural Spain at the time and road running where I lived was pretty dangerous!
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF RUNNING ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Your only competition is yourself.
What is your most memorable race?
A tough one to answer so I’m going to give two…a road one and a trail one!
My most memorable road race is the Berlin Marathon 2021. Like many, I had a charity place for the 2020 event which, because of the pandemic was deferred to 2021 but this was then deferred again to 2022. The second deferred date was after the decision to suspend all charity places due to the uncertainty around international travel. I desperately wanted to run in Berlin to earn my third World Marathon Majors Star so, I purchased a place through Sports Tours International. It was a glorious but very hot day but I ran a new PB, three days after my 58th birthday knocking nearly five minutes off my London 2017 time. Running through the iconic Brandenburg Gate to the finish line was the most amazing experience.
From a trail perspective, it has to be Race to the Tower (RTTT) in June 2022. I signed up for the Day 2 Marathon pretty late on and hadn’t run any significant distance since running the Berlin and Paris Marathons in Autumn 2021.
The alarm went off at 3.45am that morning and it would have been so easy to press snooze! I was running solo so, my husband dropped me off at the start location and off I went on a 42.2km adventure along the Cotswolds Way!
One of the reasons that I love trail events more than road events, other than the obvious factor of being out in nature, is that it seems to be less ‘time’ driven. There is a general understanding of what a good marathon time is, you can even google it, but when you’re out on a trail, especially when there’s a lot of elevation involved, there definitely seems to be a lot less pressure.
I had a brilliant time! The weather was a bit mixed and there was the inevitable downpour but I made it to Broadway Tower…my husband was there to cheer me across the Finish Line and buy me a shandy! It was only when the results were published that afternoon that I realised that I had finished as First Female V50 and 5th Female overall, from a field of 30. I was absolutely over the moon!
What is your bucket list event and why?
Running the London Marathon in London 2017 was my original ‘bucket list’ race and it really was intended to be just a ‘one off’. There’s probably a lot of people that get the running bug after their first race and I was one of them!
I loved how running made me feel and it really helped to keep my menopause symptoms in check…a win / win. I was unexpectedly offered a charity place in the New York Marathon in November 2019 and it was after that, and becoming more aware of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, that I decided that I wanted to get the Six Star Finishers Medal. I know that a lot of people thought that I was quite mad as I was 56 at the time!
Fast forward to 2022 and I now have four stars…London, New York, Berlin and Chicago. I have a place for Tokyo in March 2023 which make five!
My current ‘bucket list’ race, purely because it will be the event where I will hopefully earn my Six Star Finishers’ Medal is the Boston Marathon…fingers crossed for April 2024!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST CHALLENGING EVENT?
I ran the Chicago Marathon in October 2022 and my training just didn’t go to plan. Again, like many runners, I had signed up for this event in 2019. After deferrals due to the pandemic and then travel restrictions, it was going to be third time lucky.
Everything started well and Race To The Tower was at the very beginning of my training block. Unfortunately, a few personal challenges unexpectedly came my way during the following few weeks and I really struggled with motivation and consistency. For the first time since I started running I was actually dreading an event and I had to work really hard to change my mindset.
I went to Chicago very ‘undertrained’ with just one goal of crossing the finish line. I was also determined to enjoy the whole experience and remain very grateful that I had this amazing opportunity. Waiting around on my own, in the cold for two hours before my corral started on marathon day certainly challenged my mental resilience. However, I did manage to cross the finish line and I did actually enjoy it.
It was my slowest marathon time of my four WMM events but I was pretty proud of myself that day. As I have said above “your only competition is yourself”.
What are your favourite running shoes?
For marathons, it’s the ASICS Gel-Nimbus. For the trails it’s the ASICS Trabuco Max…both really cushioned and comfortable shoes!
Finally, a few quick fire questions!
Leggings or shorts? Shorts whenever possible!
Music or no music when you’re running? No music…I’m quite noise intolerant!
Hills or flats? I actually prefer the hills!
Favourite food the night before a race? Always pizza!