Introducing the inspiring Ann Harris. Last year Ann celebrated a very special birthday. She is no stranger to an age group podium finish.
Ann has kindly agreed to tell us her running story and provide some much needed motivation for those of us suffering with the January blues.
Over to Ann;
Q1: When did you start running?
AH: I have been involved in sport all my life and enjoyed taking part in a range of activities. However when I was 50 in 2000, I was persuaded to run in the Manchester 10k as part of a charity event at Wilmslow High School, where I taught. Without a great deal of training, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and took part in the race for a number of years after that, as well as being a member of the running club at School.
Q2: How long have you been a Macclesfield Harrier?
AH: When I retired at 60, in 2010 a friend suggested I join the Club. I thought I would be too old and decrepit, how wrong I was. A phone call to Neil Gunn and my Harriers journey started. He invited me to a Saturday trail run, where everyone was so welcoming and encouraging. I have enjoyed so many special moments over the last ten years and made lasting friendships with a new group of people. My only regret is that I waited so long to join.
Q3. What’s your favourite race and why ?
AH: I have enjoyed so many special moments over varying distances, from trail runs, 5k park runs, 5milers and many 10ks. However the half marathons have given me the greatest sense of achievement. I really enjoyed being a pacer for the Macclesfield Half Marathon in 2019, encouraging others who did not think they would complete the distance.
Also running with my daughter in the Tissington Half in 2019 and with my son-in-law in the Wilmslow Half in 2019. They made the miles fly by.
Q4: What does running mean to you?
AH: I run for my physical and mental well being. It clears my head and makes me feel good. We are surrounded by the most amazing countryside and to be able to run and usually chat with others, is a joy. I am able to relax and take in the beauty of it all, whilst helping to keep me feeling young!
Q5: Do you have a top tip?
AH: Never think you are too old for a new challenge. It is amazing what you can achieve. Do not get frustrated with performance, just forget about how far or how fast you have got to go. Also add variety to your exercise programme. I enjoy Pilates twice a week and walking with members of my family and other non running friends.
Q6: Anything else to add?
AH: I have met and made so many new friends of all ages over the last ten years. The leaders are amazing in terms of their support and the time they give to planning all the routes, ensuring everyone stays safe and is never left behind. I enjoy both road and trail running and feel I now know more about the beautiful routes that are on my doorstep. A wonderfully inclusive club, of which I am proud to be a member. Thank you especially to Neil and Alison Gunn for their part in my journey and the encouragement and support they have always given me.
Ann is proof that going outside your comfort zone, can open you up to new friends and adventures. Thank you to Ann for taking part. We wish you well with your running endeavors this year.