Meet our #MotivateaMate winners Annette and Sally
14 June 2021
14 June 2021
Back at the start of June Annette and Sally won our #MotivateaMate competition, bagging themselves free entry to Yorkshire Marathon in return for sharing their Marathon training journey with us – right through to the finish line. We caught up with them at the start of that journey to ask a few questions.
How does it feel to have won #MotivateaMate, what was your reaction when you found out?
Sally: We’re both really giddy, we didn’t think for a minute that we’d win!
Annette: I shrieked and ran round the living room when I found out then immediately messaged Sally who was on holiday in Cornwall. Alongside the excitement though is the fear, are we actually going to have to do this now? Maybe if we just whisper it quietly…. “We’re going to run a marathon!”
How long have you been running together and how did you meet?
Sally: We met 10 years ago when we joined Rock Choir in Leeds and formed a firm friendship along with Fran and Helena (who think we’re crazy for running!) based on karaoke and drinking, which provided light relief from our jobs as teachers.
Annette: I first starting running 5 years ago and quickly became passionate about it (or maybe obsessed?)
Sally: Whereas I would describe myself as a fickle runner, who would get into it using couch to 5k and then stop every winter when life got in the way.
Annette: Before Covid we’d only run together a couple of times at local parkruns in Leeds (Roundhay and Temple Newsam) but then when lockdown hit in March 2020, running virtually but together really helped us both get through some tough times.
Sally: We ran the GNR Solo 40 runs (which I reckon really helped me to form a running habit, especially as I raised over £1000 for MNDA), a couple of virtual 10k races, and the Lands End to John O’Groats 874 miles challenge. When restrictions allowed us to, we ran together (we live in different parts of Leeds) but the rest of the time we egged each other on via Facebook and Messenger! Then in March this year we ran a virtual half marathon together and the seed was sown, could we train and run our first marathon?
How have you found running over lockdown? Did you run more or less?
Sally: I ran a lot more, running has now become a confirmed habit.
Annette: I also ran more, upping it from 2 or 3 runs a week to 4 runs every week: the routine this gave helped with being furloughed and then later becoming unemployed (or retired, I haven’t decided which yet!!) We found it harder having to run on our own during the covid restrictions, we especially missed running with others on longer runs, as you don’t notice how far you’ve run when you’re busy chatting and putting the world to rights! Alongside the virtual challenges we entered which helped to keep us going, I also organised virtual challenges for my running club, Kippax Harriers, which included a weekly 5k notaparkrun, a Run The World event where together we ran all the way to Sydney in Australia, and an Advent challenge which included lots of silly activities combined with running, including dressing up and eating a lot of mince pies!
What’s your top tip for motivation when you really don’t want to go out?
Sally: It’s all about the cake and bling, you can’t beat earning a nice shiny medal and then treating yourself to a yummy piece of cake after a hard run! Seriously, it’s good to have a goal or a target race to work towards; and a colouring in chart so you can see your progress is a great idea (which we stole off the internet!)
Annette: It helps to accept that some runs will be crap which is fine, and the first mile of any run is always horrible, but you never regret a run (total cliché but completely true). Sally sums it up really well “the more I run the less motivation I need” as it’s become an ingrained habit, and you really miss a run if you can’t do one for whatever reason (and the weather is never a reason, just make sure you’re wearing the right clothes!)
What do you love about running?
Sally: Cake and bling! There’s a theme emerging here! Seriously, there’s nothing not to love about running. That feeling of achievement when you’ve finished your run (the runner’s high is definitely real), and that brief moment, usually going downhill, when you feel like you could just run forever! Running gives you headspace and freedom, you can get away from everything else life throws at you, and it’s something that’s just for you. You can be ready to run and out the door quickly
Annette: Unless you’re me who has to go to the toilet at least 10 times first!
Sally: And you can run anywhere, enjoying new routes and seeing new places. Being out in the fresh air in the outdoors with nature, even when the weather’s cold and miserable, is just exhilarating.
What are your go to running essentials?
Annette: Garmin/Strava (for stealing other people’s routes and for proving we did actually go for a run!); Runderwear and a decent sports bra; electrolyte tablets for a hot run and snacks for a long run; a running belt/vest for phone, snacks, tissues, water, and other assorted things you think you might need but never do; chocolate soya milk for after a long run;
Sally: I love a good podcast to listen to; and Annette is obsessed with running shoes (if pushed she will admit to having 4 more pairs of identical Brooks lined up in the cupboard ready for when the current pair wears out!)
What’s your favourite running memory together?
Annette: We tried to pick just one but it was impossible! Living several miles away from each other means we don’t manage to run together regularly, so when we do it’s often a special occasion like a virtual race.
Sally: The ones that really stand out over the last year are my first half marathon (there were balloons and a souvenir mug at the end!); the virtual 10k we did at St Aidan’s RSPB reserve which was really hot and hard so we had our own goody bags at the end and a picnic in the sun; starting our epic virtual journey from Lands End to John O’Groats together with a 4 mile run in Leeds.
Have you ever done a marathon before? (if no how are you feeling about doing your first one?)
Annette: No this is our first marathon. There aren’t enough words to describe how we’re feeling, but feeling a bit sick probably sums it up quite well! The prospect of the training and then running that far on the actual day is half exciting and half terrifying.
Sally: We both never dreamt we’d run a marathon so it feels like a really big deal, it’s like the ultimate running achievement (no, we’re not going to run an ultra, ever!). In fact it’s so scary that I haven’t really told anyone I’m doing it!
What’s been your longest run to date, how did you get through it?
Annette: I’ve done 3 real half marathons and 4 virtual ones, then became a bit obsessed about never having run further than 13.1 miles so went out and ran 15 miles last month just to see if I could!
Sally: I ran my first half marathon in March this year
Annette: and absolutely smashed it!
Sally: The company and support of others (whether that’s a real race or running with a friend for a virtual race or just for fun) definitely helps, and of course the jelly babies during the run!
How are you feeling about doing Yorkshire Marathon 2021?
Annette: We’re excited to have something big to aim for. It’s our local marathon so we’ll have friends and family there to support us. We’re looking forward to running past York Minister and through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.
Sally: And of course we’re looking forward to the course being fairly flat (although we’d like to meet whoever thought it was a good idea to put a big hill right at the end of the route!)
What are your running goals (for this challenge/this year)?
Sally: Our goal is to simply to finish the marathon, and to have fun and enjoy the race experience, and to eat lots of snacks along the way! We’re looking forward to wearing our medals with pride and eating a huge piece of cake afterwards (you see, it’s always about the cake and the bling!)
Annette: I’m also currently halfway towards my goal of running 1,000 miles in 2021.
Keep an eye out for more updates on Annette and Sally's story over the coming weeks and months! You can also follow Annette and Sally's journey on their blog on Facebook.
Check out our other inspiring stories