Runner Spotlight # 7 – Claire

Right, we were doing runner’s spotlights on Fridays but I’m now going to change them to Wednesdays. Or Thursdays. I don’t know yet!

On Friday I want to start doing the Friday Five Link Up. This is my attempt to actually be more engaged with other running bloggers and hopefully give you guys something different to read about rather than my woes of training and my bum foot/leg. Also, you can always check out the other Friday Fives that are posted! It’s fun and it’s fresh and all the cool kids are doing it.

This week I wanted to introduce you to Claire. She’s a friend of Lesley’s. Remember Lesley? Claire has a great story to share and her journey is ongoing, like most of ours!

So, Claire, tell us, When did you start running? What was your goal at that time?
My initial aim was weight loss. I joined a intense bootcamp and was tricked into my first run. I turned up for a 3 mile beginners route and was thrown in the deep end with a 6 miler. I ran walked 4.5 miles of it, think it took about 90 mins!

Did you reach your initial goal?
Yes! I lost 20lb initially through running and bootcamp, it took about 4 months, but I have lost 3.5 stone (49 lbs) in total from my heaviest. I put 2.5 stone (35 lbs) back on due to steroids but this came back off in the first 12-18 months of my return to running / bootcamp. My weight is now fairly stable although I’ve got about another 7lbs to shift for a healthy BMI.

Do you have the same goal now, or have your goals changed or evolved with time?
My goals have changed / evolved. The weight has almost gone. My goals are now a distance and speed, in that order.

Have you run any races? If yes, what distance was your first race? What was your experience – did it meet your expectations?

Druridge bay 10k., May 2012, I loved it, didn’t know what to expect but it was an unforgettable feeling crossing the line.

Have you done other races since then?
Loads! some more rewarding than others:

The Great North Run x 2
Liverpool Rock n Roll Half Marathon (I was there when you met up with Lesley!)
Brass monkey half marathon
Redcar half marathon
Sunderland half marathon (my current PB at 2hrs 19, achieved in may 2016)

clairerunning 1

10ks include:
Druridge bay 10k
Kielder 10k
Gateshead trail 10k
Great North 10k
Crag 10k and Wallington 10k (local national trust properties)

Druridge was my first in 2012, Cragside is my favourite and current PB at 64.50.

claire son

I’ve also done a marathon relay team at the EMF (hairy haggis) and now taken part in club relays.

What is your favourite distance?
I love half marathon distance and have done my first 11 Mile trail run this year (most of it uphill) I had to run- walk but I loved it. I’m now working up to my first full one in October this year!

Oh! Your First Full! What marathon have you signed up for? I guess you are training now for it? How is that training going?

Kielder Marathon (2nd October 2016) . Training was going well until I pulled my soleus muscle. 2 weeks behind on plan now but back to full training.

Do you have a running support network?
Lots, I am a member of Ashington Hirst Running Club. We also have a local Facebook group called running buddies and I’ve made lots of friends through parkrun.

I joined the running group in Sept 2014, we became affiliated in May 2015 and I became a leader in run fitness in Nov 2015, this has helped immensely with my training and improvement.

claire running club

What about gear – have you got any gadgets that you love?
I love my running buffs.
I’ve got a basic GPS watch, keep thinking of upgrading but this one has an 8 hr battery so am sticking with it for now.

What else do you do besides running?
I used to bootcamp but work got in the way. I tried spinning during the winter and am trying to swim once a week now (although not very well haha!) I am also extremely committed to logging my 10,000 steps for the day.

Have you been injured at any point? If no, what do you do to avoid injury?

I’ve not been injured but had an enforced 7 mth lay off due to Breast Cancer. Surgery and chemo. The surgery effected my back which means I know suffer from a dead arm a lot.

Rest days are important as is not pushing too hard in training. I also have to do a lot of upper body stretches to stretch out my arm and scar tissue.

I started right back at the beginning again, taking it slowly, not getting disheartened at how far back I was. I was surprised at how quickly my fitness came back.

Were you able to do any other type of training when you had breast cancer? I understand that you had to start running again from the beginning but were you active during this time – gentle walks, yoga, anything like that?

After surgery I built back up to walking 5k 3-4 times a week. Chemo floored me by round 4 ( I was nearly hospitalised and spent best part of 3 weeks in bed) but started again walking after round 5 (I had one round every 3 weeks, 6 rounds in total) and running exactly 6 months from surgery date as per medical advice.

claire kids

How is recovery going if you don’t mind me asking?
Recovery is good although I still have an odd relapse of chemo fatigue. Running helps me through and increases my energy levels. My “chemo brain” is getting better again running helps me distress. The extreme fatigue kicks in more after late nights or lack of sleep as opposed to too much exercise.

What’s the most positive thing that running has brought into your life?

claire friends

What, if anything do you find frustrating?
A sub 30 minute parkrun! Also people who say they can’t run, or haven’t got time to train, if I can do it anyone can. If you want to train badly enough you will find the time.

How do you stay motivated when you don’t feel like running?
I’ve not yet lost my mojo. My motivation is food! if I want to eat I need to run, eating makes me run better. It’s a nice little circle.

How can we find you on social media?
I’m on Facebook – first time marathon runners. I’ve twitter. Instagram and snapchat accounts but don’t really use them.

What advise would you give to someone who wants to start running, but is maybe too unsure to start for reasons of weight, age, lack of athleticism?
If I can run anyone can! You have to compare yourself to yourself. we all had to start somewhere, never put yourself down, just keep plugging away, you will be surprised at what you can achieve.

Anything you want to add?
Never give up and never say never, I never thought I could run, I hated anything PE like as a child….. Now I’ve entered a marathon!

clairerunning 2

So there you have it, friends. Claire is a true warrior if you ask me! Her determination and attitude really humble me. If you have any comments for Claire or questions for her, please feel free to drop a note in the comment section below!


  1. So inspirational. Thank you for sharing her story!

  2. What a great story Claire has to tell! She is a fighter with a winning attitude ;-)

    1. Renée says:

      I thought so too! I am so inspired and so glad I got the chance to interview her!

  3. Gotta love a runner who never gives up! Sounds like most of us, in fact…

    1. Renée says:

      there is really something about running that makes people very determined!!

  4. […] I mentioned in my last blog post, I am going to try to do the Friday Five, to engage with more bloggers and hopefully get to know […]

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