Sometimes you meet someone and they change your life, that may sound like a really strange thing to say about a friend or a group of friends but it really true about this bunch of girls & this quote totally sums us up
I am going to tell you a story about 6 ladies who are very important to me, Alice, Cazz, Emma, Laura, Lois & Lynsey, we all met many years ago via the Weight Watchers message boards we were all either attending meetings or following the plan online, we have had varying degrees of success, some lost weight and kept it off, some lost and have gained some back (me) and others have maintained their weight during our friendship
Weight loss definitely brought us together but its not what has kept us together, that has been running & I think its safe to say for at least 5 of running was definitely not part of our plan when we first met
Our friendship really cemented itself when over 20 of us headed to Aberdeen for a weekend in December 2012, it wasn’t the first time many of us had met, we had had a few of these Weight Watchers meets over the years in London, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Peterborough but in Aberdeen a real friendship formed for 7 of us have met up twice a year ever since but something about these meets changed, they used to be all about eating, drinking and a good old catch up, but while we were in Aberdeen 3 of the girls mentioned running the Bath Half Marathon and things kind of snowballed from there & I somehow found myself agreeing to run a half marathon (what was I thinking I could barely run 5k) anyway I am not sure what happened maybe fate intervened but even though I thought I had signed up I hadn’t so we ended up in Bath in March 2013 with 4 of the girls running & two of us as cheerleaders
I have been to see the London Marathon a few times and always loved cheering on the runners but this time it was different actually having friends running made it even more special, the route was two laps and Lynsey & I thought we would find it easy to spot the girls but unfortunately that wasn’t the case, we missed Cazz & Emma completely but did manage to see & cheer on Laura and Lois
The following day everyone was on a high, Cazz was already entered into the Amsterdam Marathon in the October and crazily the other 6 of us all agreed on overseas catch up would be fun so decided to tag along for the Half Marathon, what was we thinking??
On the day of the race we headed out to the local park to cheer Cazz on around the 3 mile point in the marathon, before heading back to our hotel getting changed and heading out for the start of our race, I am not sure what it was about Amsterdam possibly the late start – the half didn’t start until 2pm but none of us enjoyed this race we all struggled but we were all there cheering one another on as we crossed the finish line, in fact Laura and I even finished together after meeting up around the 12 mile mark and me desperately trying to keep up with her for that last mile
Next up was a return trip to Bath only 4 of us made it this time & I think the pain in my face shows that I didn’t really enjoy this one, Lynsey absolutely smashed it and beat her Amsterdam time by about 20 mins! Unfortunately Laura was taken really ill at the end of this race and with the London Marathon only a few weeks away and after some very good advice from the lovely and extremely helpful people from St Johns Ambulance we decided to sign up to another Half Marathon the following week local to home
I love this photo, even though it was taken at the start, this was an incredibly tough course on a very hot day there was something about this race that I loved, I think it was the fact that I had been running fairly reguarly over the past few weeks and even though it was tough I carried on and even at the end we were still running strong, this was actually another race Laura and I managed to finish together we split up just after this photo so around 1-2 miles into the race and found one another again around mile 8-9 (or 13 for Laura as she had done 3 miles before we even started)
Next was the London Marathon, Laura and Cazz were running and Lyns, Lois & I were the cheering squad, we even roped in my very reluctant husband to hang out with us for the day cheering on total strangers
I need to give mention here to another very good friend Jemma who I was also cheering on at the marathon, Jemma has been a huge inspiration to me since I met her a few years ago, she once said once you’ve walked 26 miles with someone you’ll be friends for life and I really believe thats true of us, over the last two years we have walked 2 marathons together, run 4 5ks, a 5k obstacle course, a 5 mile race finishing in the Olympic Stadium, a 10k & a half marathon she is definitely one of my Runspirations for the marathon next year
Next was the Great North Run, to me this is such an iconic race, its as big a race as the London Marathon & its a race I have watched on the TV for many years I have never ran a race with anyone before but this time I had the pleasure of running with Elle, Lois’s sister, it was Elle’s first half marathon and we were both suffering a little, me with shin pain following the week before’s Spitfire Scramble and Elle with a hip problem, so it wasn’t about a time for either of us it was just about finisihng which we did with a huge great smile on our faces, especially as we got see the confetti going off as the millionth finisher crossed the finish line
& last but definitely not least was the Great South Run, I ran this one with Alice, we kept it quite that we were both running as Alice’s confidence had taken a bit of a knock after Amsterdam, but watching us all at the Great North Run had ignited something in Alice and made her want to run again, so she had started training, as we headed to the start line neither of us were feeling confident, I had been ill the week before and Alice just wasn’t sure she was capable of the distance but I believed in her, so did Cazz the only other one of us she had confided in & I knew the rest of the girls would have done to, thats whats been so great we have all really believed and supported one another, we don’t live close, we live London, Newcastle, Bristol & Glasgow so whether we are meeting for a run or meeting to be the cheer squad it shows how much we support one another
On the day Alice & I smashed it, I had wanted a sub 2hrs and came in only 30 seconds slower than I was over the same distance 8 months earlier when i was running a lot more reguarly & Alice exceeded her hoped for time by over 20 minutes & I was lucky enough to be able to head back out onto the course to cheer her on as she passed the 800m marker, the smile on her face said it all she had done this, she had fought her demons and done something amazing!!
Next year we are doing it all again, we are all signing up to the Jantastic challenge then Lois and I are running the London Marathon in 2015 & I think, Cazz, Laura and Alice will be there at the sidelines cheering us on
Love my friends xxx