Sunday, 9 September 2012

Strider in the spotlight – Emma Halldearn

With the third Get Started programme about to get underway, we check back with one of the ‘graduates’ of the first course to see how they are getting on.....let's hear from Emma

1. How long have you been running and when did you join Striders? 
I joined Striders through the first Get Started programme organised by Becky and Helen in September 2011. I have always done a little bit of jogging here and there, but never really been sporty. At that point my weekend long runs had got to 3 miles, and that felt like an extremely long way at the time! 

I thought about joining the Striders on numerous occasions but after seeing what I assumed were Striders ‘bouncing’ cheerfully around Verulamium Park, I couldn't pluck up the courage to just turn up on a Tuesday / Thursday session. 

I saw the Get Started course advertised on the Striders website and registered myself straight away before I could wimp out. From day one everyone at the club was extremely friendly, supportive, organised, and lots of fun. It’s been onwards and upwards since then! 

Emma in the Striders spring handicap
2. What’s been your best moment as a Strider? 
My first real goal was the St Albans half marathon in June this year. I had never imagined I could run 13 miles so I was pretty nervous before the race. I wasn’t actually sure I’d get to the end! 

Running a race in your home town, wearing your race vest, is just the best feeling. I couldn’t count how many times someone shouted ‘GO STRIDERS!’ and every bit of support puts an extra stride in your step. I remember at one point feeling more popular than the two men dressed as bananas behind me! 

To cross the finish line, in a time more than 10 minutes better than I expected, and hear over the tannoy ‘…and yet another Strider crosses the finish line’ – was simply brilliant! 

3. What’s your pre-race ritual? 
Mmm, probably a million trips to the loo along with every other runner before a race! I’m not sure I’ve developed a ritual yet, but eating breakfast and not having a hangover is definitely a good start! 

4. What’s the most useful piece of running advice you've been given? 
I’m not sure who told me this - Gladstone or Jack - but the one piece of advice I use on a regular basis is: ‘Pain is only temporary’. I can’t tell you how many hills that has got me up, or how many last miles it’s got me through. 

5. Who is your sporting hero? 
Like the rest of the world I've recently been Olympic mad, so Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah at the moment. I was lucky enough to see them win gold at the stadium. So inspiring! 

Emma (r) with Lucy, and a couple of race medals
6. Where do you keep your race medals? 
I have only collected about 6 so far, at the moment they are hanging in my dinning room. I’m trying to collect enough to decorate the Christmas tree this year (although I think I’ve got a fair few races to get that far!). 

7. What’s your favourite local running route? 
I love the country routes in and around St Albans, I try to keep it varied and Thursday night group runs explore so many different routes around the town. I sometimes think I have to keep up or I’ll never find my way back home! 

8. What’s your next target? 
I’m currently training for my first marathon – Amsterdam on the 21 October this year. I’m up to 18 miles at the moment and only a few weeks until tapering begins. After that, I’ll probably relax a little on the distance training front and bounce cheerfully around Verulamium Park! 

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