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Meet Anne

Intense, energetic, and kind.

This is how she says her friends would describe her.

What inspires her most at the moment is being outdoors and immersed in nature.

I just got back from a short backpacking trip on the west coast of Washington”

Anne loved being outside with her eldest son, next to the water, and feeling a part of her surroundings.

2 things that bug her are… Non-running-related: Politics.

The second is the fact that as her body ages she is unable to do all the things she wants to do. She feels that her head wants to do one thing but then her body says “Nope, not today.”

As a lot of us can relate, this makes Anne feel disappointed and frustrated.

Anne is continuing to achieve amazing things…

Growing up she had hopes of being a doctor to follow in her dad’s and aunt’s footsteps. She applied and got it but decided to not follow that path because she had a child and another on the way. (A friend who was a doctor also spoke her out of taking that path)

Anne now works at a software company where she does GIS mapping – Geographic Information Systems, also known as local intelligence.

Normally this type of job involves a lot of traveling but because of Covid, she was able to fit in a lot more training, which was awesome!

Her 3 sons are proud of the fact that she is 61 years old and still going on adventures and spending time doing activities out in the woods.

Between the four of them, they’re avid outdoor enthusiasts who love to paraglide and mountain bike (just to name a few) in their backyard… the woods.

I feel fortunate to live where I do, in Colorado, more specifically Fort Collins. It was a smaller town when I first moved here but what’s so great is that I can easily get to the foothills of small mountains. I just pop on my bike, cycle there, park, and go for a run or a swim.”

Anne’s Earliest Memory Of Running

She definitely has very fond memories of running around her childhood neighborhood with her buddies playing kick the can and chasing each other around.

She grew up in a tight-knit community on the beautiful east coast of Virginia where there were a lot of days spent riding bikes and running around.

Being part of the school swim team, riding her bike, playing on the beach, and running as much as possible were big parts of Anne’s childhood.

It was then time for Anne to head to University.

In her freshman year, she remembers so clearly… her FIRST trail run!

Anne had entered this trail race all around campus and she surprised herself by placing second in her age group. She had entered just to go outside and do something different and fun.

Lacrosse was a big part of her university sports scene, the majority of her dorm room members and soon-to-be best friends were there on hockey or lacrosse scholarships.

Lacrosse was awesome. Just because you get a lot of running in!”

Anne reflected on not having the best year in her first year of university… She wasn’t all that happy and that’s where she found her escape… running.

That’s when I really fell in love with doing more long-distance type of running.”

She was always a sprinter, especially in grade school. In fact, she used to have a very good friend with who she always used to compete for fun. Every morning they would go out and race each other and whoever lost had to buy an ice cream sandwich for the winner at lunch.

That friend is now the athletic director for a university in Virginia!

It’s safe to say that Anne has built up her competitive spirit from a young age.

The Impact Running Has Made On Anne’s Life

Throughout her life, she has done all kinds of sports, but none can compete with running

Running for me is meditation”

Anne has two best friends that she trains with almost all the time… Their time together on the trails is like therapy sessions for each of them… It’s sort of like… What gets said on the trail…Stays on the trail.

She also loves to run on her own… there are times when she will be by herself on a trail in the woods and she will just stop to be in the moment. Anne describes to us the immense joy she feels in those quiet moments.

It just makes me feel really, really content and happy.”

While following a Buddhist/meditation practice, she finds it interesting that she can be sitting still in meditation but then also be running in a different type of meditation. It’s amazing how they complement each other and both help to keep her grounded.

Anne and her sons’ father got divorced when her youngest was three years old and so being a single mom and raising 3 boys was not an easy task. She would drop the kids at daycare and make sure she had plans for a run during lunch. Those runs during lunch are what helped her get through a lot of hard times.

It really is incredible what the impact just going for a 45-minute run can have on your mental health.

That’s why I keep trying to get my oldest son who could be a really good runner to just get out and get a consistent routine going. It’ll make you feel so much better day after day.”

When It All Started To Click

After her running experiences in freshman year, she realized it was a way to support herself and help herself go through what wasn’t the happiest year due to college not being what she believed it would be like.

It’s taken Anne time to figure out how to use running well and to be consistent.

There were times when she would head out for a run after not running for a while and try to run a hard five miles and be completely smashed afterward.

But now she says that she has learned to take care of herself with the help of Coach Parry throughout the whole process, which has been great.

Running & Health

Anne lost a kidney to cancer in 1990 and then in 2010, she was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid.

Running contributed to giving her a healthier life overall. When she was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, Anne says that the entire process made her realize that she needed to take care of her body and that running had been tremendously important in that regard.

I feel like I was born with this strong need to exercise like I always feel 100x better when I do exercise and when my body feels healthy.”

The first six months after having her thyroid removed were awful. They basically irradiated her thyroid and then the endocrinologist wouldn’t give her any thyroid medication until her numbers settled down, so it took a long time to level out which resulted in a hard couple of months for Anne.

Going for a run didn’t even help because her body didn’t think it had enough thyroid.

One of the first things I posted on the forum was asking how people deal with taking their thyroid meds in the morning if they can’t eat for an hour after before a run.
It was great… I had a lot of suggestions to just take it in the middle of the night when you get up to go to the bathroom.”

Anne explained how having a community at her fingertips like that is incredible because it’s nice to know that there are people out there with answers to the questions she has.

Anne & Coach Parry

She found out about Coach Parry online, it was one of the Running Through Menopause webinars hosted by Shona.

It caught her attention because the two female friends that she trains with are five or six years younger than she is and Anne started to feel like she wasn’t recovering as she should be, so she did some research and there was not much information out there about running for older women.

The running through menopause program has been REALLY helpful! I was blown away by the webinar. So then I signed up”

Setting a goal and then training to achieve that goal is how she stays motivated. She has been doing a lot longer races because getting out in the mountains and nature is what keeps her happy.

Running Through Menopause

The first big change that Anne made was to her nutrition. She said that it was one of the key takeaways from the webinar that was sort of a light bulb moment for her. To learn about how much muscle mass we lose as we age and how to recover correctly was incredible for her.

Also, just knowing that you don’t have to run every day was a big game changer for Anne.

Before Covid 19 she was training for a 50km and completely wore herself out because she wasn’t eating correctly or enough for that matter.

Strength training was also another huge one, she really enjoys that at Coach Parry we’ve got an easier one on Mondays, a more intense one on Wednesdays, and then if you want to do the real intense one on Thursday, that works out really nicely with her running plan where she’s running Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday and Sunday.

Anne also mentioned that the MAF training has worked wonders for her.

I had COVID back in January, and just like so many other posts in the forum, I couldn’t stand running slow. BUT now. I totally get it.”

She even has neighbors across the street that she used to run with all the time and they were running way too slow for the husband’s liking, but he would run with them at their pace anyways and then they all ran a race and he absolutely smashed it.

It’s the classic example of MAF training and it makes sense.

MAF training stands for Maximum Aerobic Function training. The whole point of MAF training is to build up your aerobic base so that your body can learn to run faster and faster at a lower heart rate. You do this by running your long runs easy and slow… to be able to run fast in the future.

With a master’s degree in Anatomy and Neurobiology. She says that Physiology is so interesting to her and that’s why she really enjoys all of the “science behind” style videos so much.

Taking into account all the training and running through menopause tips, she decided to enter two incredible races, the Leadville Marathon and the Never Summer 60K.

The Leadville Marathon

Anne felt really good going into the Leadville marathon, except that she had gotten a cold a couple of days before the race and ended up with a sinus infection.

I started running it, and I just was like, I’m just gonna run and if I feel bad, I’m gonna stop and just quit.”

She knew that she was well trained and it was only a few weeks before the race that she didn’t train much.

The entire race worked out really nicely, the altitude was a major factor to take into consideration because she wasn’t able to train at high altitudes due to snow still being in the mountains.

Overall it was a successful race.

Anne and her two friends we mentioned earlier were considering it as a training run to see how they would cope at altitude because it was a very similar race to the Never Summer in terms of elevation.

They used the race to gauge themselves but only 2 of the 3 of them made it to the start line. One of her friends was sick at the time.

Their strategy was sort of like… “Okay, we are on the trail… and now we have to finish before the cut-off time.”

They both stuck together the whole race. Towards the end of the trail, the friend ended up getting the leans… you read that correctly. “The Leans.”

Afterward, she went to see a doctor, it could have been dangerous, but the doctor said that it was probably from hyponatremia (Over hydrating).

The scary part was that she didn’t even think she was leaning. By the time they got to the finish line everyone came running to her saying, “we’ve got a medic here for you!” and she said: No thanks, I’m fine. She was just so happy to have crossed the end line!

Once she sat down and had some food she wasn’t leaning anymore, thankfully.

Now that Anne looks back, she did notice her friend leaning while they were running but they thought… maybe she’s dehydrated so they just slowed down their pace and they weren’t too concerned.

For Never Summer, Judy (The friend who got the leans) had a whole spreadsheet on how much water she should be drinking.

Speaking of Never Summer…

The Never Summer 60km takes place almost entirely within the boundaries of State Forest State Park and runs between the Never Summer Mountains on the northern border of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and the Medicine Bow Mountains to the north of Cameron Pass.

Anne and her two friends had entered the Never Summer purely for a reason we absolutely love… to have fun.

The third friend that wasn’t able to run the Leadville marathon had a really hard time training due to the fact that she probably had Covid. She could fast walk but running was exhausting.

She’s usually an amazing runner and has been running forever, she’s very tough but for Never Summer even she was doubting herself.

Judy and I said to her: It’s fine if you decide to drop out… but if you stay in… we’re all going to cross the finish line together.”

The Never Summer 60km turned out to be AWESOME!

It was frustrating at times because Judy and Anne were wanting to run to try to make the cut-off, which was 15 hours. They estimated that they would do it in 12 or 13 hours based on the Leadville Marathon.

All three of them stuck together and did some fast hiking. It’s in a beautiful area with a lot of elevation so they had planned to fast hike those sections anyways and then run the flat and downhill areas.

A young boy who was also there to just have a good time ended up tagging along with their group as well which they enjoyed.

The last 2 miles of the trail were flat, the friends were hiking so fast that Anne had to jog to keep up with them, and then finally, they crossed the finish line together, at 14 hours.

Nobody got the leans and nobody got hurt. The recovery after the Never Summer was so easy compared to Leadville.

It turns out that the young boy who joined their group at some parts of the race came in last and minutes before the cut-off time. Which was 15 hours.

The entire crowd cheered for him and celebrated as he came to the finish. That is what running races is all about!

Anne and her friends adopted such an inspirational attitude towards the Never Summer race, they weren’t able to do it the way they wanted to initially but they still celebrated the fact that they were able to do it together.

The people that put the race on are just fantastic. At the highest point of the race. There were some serious-looking clouds and it had been hailing. They were almost at the top when all of a sudden they hear super loud thunder and see crazy lightning.

There were medics up at the top when this happened and they came running down asking if Anne and her friends were okay. The medics said they had spoken to the race director and he said that they don’t have to go all the way up, they could just walk around the top because of the crazy storm.

We were like, no way! We’re going to the top.”

It’s absolutely incredible that they all 3 stuck together the entire way. She says that is what makes completing this race that much more satisfying.

Hardest Part Of Preparing For The Leadville Marathon & Never Summer 60K

Overall, keeping self-discipline for such a prolonged period of time was difficult.

Not just with running but also with strength training and maintaining a good diet.

Anne only has one kidney so she doesn’t drink much alcohol as it is, so that wasn’t a challenge for her.

Once the hype of the Never Summer died down, they all agreed that they weren’t going to sign up for another 60K for one year.

Purely because the training took so much time and it was ALWAYS on her mind. The good thing about it always being on your mind is that it makes you get out and do what you need to do. For a few weekends, Anne and her friends would go camp and train at altitude where if they weren’t signed up for the race they probably wouldn’t have gone camping together.

Now that the races are over, she admits that it is nice to have time to do other activities like getting out on her bike and she hopes to do more skiing this winter.

What’s Next?

Anne has just been going out and running for fun. She has taken a break from following a schedule. The three of them still run together on weekends and do a half marathon together every other week to keep their fitness levels up.

She is hoping to do this really cool trail in Boulder in October, it’s called the Boulder Ridge Line and it’s about 26 miles

There is one bucket list race I’d like to do it’s over in Oregon, around the Mount St. Helens area.”

Mount St Helens was a volcano that erupted about 40 years ago. The race is a very remote 50km that is supposed to be extremely beautiful.

A race in Silverton, Colorado, in the San Juan Mountains is also on the list. It’s supposed to be very tough, and super remote. People competing in the race have to wear a spot device.

Anne knows that if she can get her two friends on board for those two races she will definitely complete them someday.

It’s All About The Adventure…

For Anne, it’s not about being out there to place first, second, or third… It’s about having a great adventure.

She says that, especially when you’re over 60, there are so many good over 60 runners out there, which is fantastic. But for her, it’s about being in the woods or mountains and having a good time.

Her favorite running moment experienced so far was when she was running alone, on a trail, and everything felt easy. Her running felt effortless and smooth. She was in amongst big trees, wild turkeys, and beautiful wildlife. The feeling of being out in the woods with effortless movement brought a beautiful sense of joy.

Everyone needs to and can experience a feeling just like that. You never know when it’s going to happen, you could even be running down the same street in the same neighborhood that you always have, and then suddenly it hits you.

That’s when the running bug bites!

Running gives me a sense of freedom and I find it relaxing. I started running because I wanted to run the Comrades Marathon.”

Meet Megan Merzkirch

Megan is a South African living in Germany.

She has run sub 4:30 marathons but always with starting out too fast and then battling towards the end.

Megan was able to run her first Comrades by using the Coach Parry Bronze Training Programme and she says that she did far better than what she thought possible:10:26. 

When she joined us she set her goal to run a comfortable Marathon with a time closer to 4:20 to 4:15.

The first training Megan completed was a zero to 21K which she found in a Runner’s magazine.

She ran Comrades in 2019 and always thought that she would stop running after she reached that goal…

Megan REALLY enjoyed it and now running is an important part of her life.

“Running is good for coping with stress and has taught me to be kind to myself.”

Megan’s Recent Achievements

Megan recently ran her FASTEST 5Km! She managed to achieve her Personal Best of 22 minutes and 22 seconds.

“I am pretty chuffed about it!”

Last year Megan was also able to run her fastest 10Km, she ran it in 45 minutes and 41 seconds.

Joining Coach Parry

I Joined Coach Parry in September 2019.” 

Megan was first training for Comrades 2019 by following the Coach Parry training plan on the Comrades website. She had such a wonderful run and that’s when she decided to continue running and thought what better way to do that than to continue with Coach Parry to have more structure? 

Biggest Contributor To Megan’s Success

I try and be very consistent in my training.”

Megan says that the strength training had helped her stay injury free.

What’s Next For Megan?

She tells us that her next goal is now to run a sub-4-hour marathon. 

I have entered the Florence Marathon in November”

Difficulties Along Megan’s Way

I have been under a lot of stress lately and this was affecting my running.”

So Megan thought it might be better to run for slower times than to not run at all.

She did train for a sub-4-hour marathon in April and the training went well but the week before the race she got Covid 19 and couldn’t run…

I then decided to race a half marathon in May which I then also couldn’t run because of a family emergency. So I was really chuffed to now run such a fast 5 km!”

Another difficulty for Megan is staying motivated and consistent when there is so much other stuff happening.

Amazing Megan! Congratulations on such a lightening fast FANTASTIC 5K time!😊💥

When he was a kid, he did all the sports available in the US; football, baseball, basketball, and track, he was also a golfer.  

Meet Troy Jensen

Most recently, I was an Ultimate Frisbee player, the overuse-injury nature of that team sport helped me decide to leave it behind after 15 years of many tournaments, travel, and team workouts.”

Fun Fact: Ultimate Frisbee
Ultimate is a fast-moving, non-contact team sport. It is played with a disc on a grass field or a beach field. 
The objective is to score points by receiving the disc in the end zones by passing it among the players on a team (a player with the disc must remain stationary). 
If the disc touches the ground or is intercepted, possession switches to the other team who then has an opportunity to score by passing the disc into their end zone. 

Troy decided to take things slow and run more slowly after that. He began running along the canal path near where he lives in the UK.  

After a couple of years of plodding along, he ended up completing the Bath half marathon a few times and then took a bigger step and completed the London Marathon in 2010.

I find that my mental states are more positive and focused when I’m also training for a race.”

Troy told us that it also doesn’t hurt that he can eat what he likes during training periods… within reason 😉

He’s been doing meditation for several years and finds that he can achieve a state while running, that feels like ‘standing back and letting the run happen’. “This is a nice place to be.”

Troy’s Recent Personal Record

He ran the Rat Race Wall run in 2021 after waiting almost 5 years for a naggy Peroneal tendon issue (inflammation along the outside of your ankle & foot) and then covid.  

I had no idea if I could complete the distance and I did, but not in the time I’d hoped for; just under 19 hours for 70 miles.”

But recently…

Troy managed to take a whopping 3 hours and 17 minutes off his previous time!!!

He said that he owes it to the coaching as it was incredibly helpful.

Note: The Rat Race Wall run is the UK’s most iconic ultramarathon containing 70 stunning miles through historic Hadrian’s Wall country.

Watch a snippet of the start of the race here.

This was Troy’s forum post

“Thank you guys so much!! 3:05 PR 

Guys:  happy to do more download later but just crushed my 70-mile PB by  3 hours +.  … lots to say about how helpful you have all been!!!! Hell yeah!!!!

Final gun-time was 3:17 faster!”

Tj

Why Troy Joined Coach Parry

Troy had been a Coach Parry member for about a year not. He mentioned that he joined because he wanted to get his Ultra time down to a respectable number. 

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

The Biggest Contributor To Troy’s Success

Firstly, I was doing strength training all wrong…”

He says that the core program in his Coach Parry plan made a HUGE difference…  not being injured at the back end of the race helped him take over an hour off his previous time.  

The core training also helped him with the middle session of technical hills. 

Secondly, not killing himself with training miles and paying better attention to recovery was important.

I was able to run faster, further into the race without crunching fatigue this year. – Another hour off my time here.”

Troy’s training plan was a 4-day intermediate plan, and he beat the time on the plan by 2 hours by just sticking to the plan and trusting the process.

Thirdly,  our YouTube videos preach: relax, go slow, 80% easy in a relentless manner.  

This is precisely what I needed (I’d read all the books, but continued to make all the mistakes that the ‘mistakes’ video talks about), as Ultimate kind of trained me to think in terms of ‘Death or Glory.’ “

Troy says that the consistent messaging and good explanations around why training shouldn’t wear you out were really good contributors to him achieving this goal.

What’s Next For Troy

He is thinking about doing the Majorca Marathon in October.  

Troy also found that he enjoyed the hills sessions a lot so he’s thinking of entering some 5 & 10K races just to see what he can do there.

Struggles Along The Way

I had to not get injured!”

 After 5 years of Peroneal Tendonitis, Troy was pretty wary of what happens when you can’t do exercise.  

He also had a cold 2 weeks before the ultra – “Freaking out a bit, I posted in the forum and the response was ‘you have enough time, it’s no problem’”

He says that the response calmed him right down and he made his way to the race without any consternation about… “I did all this training and a stupid cold at the last minute…….  Blah blah blah’ … so that was helpful!”

Another challenge was that TroyI needed to train in -10F and at altitude in January. He described it as running underwater and in a blizzard at the same time!

In the race itself, he experienced nausea for the final 4 hours.  

I had to keep pounding calories and was sure that they were going to come back up at some point.”

To end it all off, Troy said that he decided to trust the Coach Parry plan and the coaches at the beginning…

“So, I  just did everything (mostly) on my plan and it worked really well!”

What an incredible achievement and story Troy! We are so glad to hear that you have seen the benefits of the training.😁

She’s British but has lived in the South of France for over 20 years

Growing up quite sporty. Melanie really only started running at the age of 47 as part of a Bootcamp she signed up for to lose some weight and to get fit.

Meet Melanie Gulliver

I’d always hated running and had never run more than 500m!” 

She signed up for a 10km race in three months’ time- “I always love a challenge”. 

Melanie told us how that specific 10K race has to be one of the hardest races she has ever run to date… she hobbled back to the car… But THE SEED WAS SOWN!

As we like to say… the running bug got to her too😉

Three years later she ran her first marathon as a celebration of reaching 50 (“I said I would never do another marathon after that first one, but I have done another two”), and now running is part of her (triathlon) life. 

Melanie says that running is still ‘hard’ but that she loves being able to head out wherever she is and check out a new route, feel her body respond to the workout, grab a coffee at the end and check out her Strava and Garmin stats.

Melanie’s Recent Achievements

Melanie recently completed her first half marathon in Nice, France. 

In her forum post she said: “Boy, that was hard (the run)!”

She told us that this was a challenge because all her training until 8 weeks before had been for M distance triathlons so running a half marathon was always going to be a challenge. 

This was her post on the Coach Parry community forum:

“Nice in France. On Sunday 26th June.

This was a challenge because all my training til 8 weeks ago had been for M distance triathlons so running a half marathon was always going to be a challenge. And then there was the unseasonal heatwave in France to get my head around.

And on the day an unexpected wild windy day when it came time to run.

The swim went great, and the bike route is fabulous. And then the run- my legs were struggling.. but I got it done with some walking.. in 2 hrs 29’- now I am going back to M tris! And trying to improve my run time.. “

Melanie also mentioned that she seems to be getting Personal Bests on a lot of her runs these days…. Even when she is not trying to!

My fitness in running has just improved so much over the two years I have been with Coach Parry that even easy runs can result in a Personal Best on a Strava segment.”

She thinks her favorite achievement of late has not been in running but in winning third place in a 2.5kms sea swim race in Mandelieu. 

I was a competitive swimmer as a child but I haven’t won anything for swimming for a very long time, and never won a cup.”

Melanie was very happy and surprised to come in third in her age group.

What Made Melanie Join Coach Parry

She’s been a Coach Parry member for almost two years now- the first year as part of the Faster Beyond Fifty community and then for the last  9 months she’s been working one-to-one with Devlin on her triathlon goals.

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

I joined Coach Parry when I was looking for a training program that was suited to older athletes and focused on a holistic training method.”

She has been part of a triathlon club and a running club in the past but their method of training was so often focused on pushing yourself hard and there were no adjustments made for different ages so she ended up injured or exhausted most of the time and she certainly wasn’t getting faster.

Biggest Contributor To Melanie’s Recent Achievement

Melanie’s response:

Recovery. Consistency. Pacing. Patience. Coaching.”

What’s Next For Melanie

Melanie told us that she still needs to work on getting her nutrition in longer triathlons nailed. 

Devlin has made me understand more about race strategy and getting nutrition in before your body needs it so I need to work on that.”

In training, Melanie is working on running faster over the next few months (and hopes to make podiums in future M distance triathlons).

Having completed her first half Ironman distance she vowed never to do another one – “That run was a killer- but my head is saying what about the half Ironman in Taupo New Zealand in December! We’ll see.😉”

Struggles Along The Way

Melanie told us that she struggled more mentally than physically before the day of the half-Ironman.

I had to convince myself that it (‘it’ being the run) was achievable- even though I have run the distance before I had never run it after 90kms of cycling in a race.”

A sudden heatwave, a couple of weeks before the race, pushing temperatures to 30 degrees Celcius, played heavily on her mind too.

On the day of the race I had to deal with burning feet for the last 10kms of the bike ride, and just finding the run extremely difficult throughout!”

Putting on her running shoes after the bike section to start the half marathon not only in 28-degree weather but also with a very strong wind blowing was the HARDEST part of the whole day.

Melanie says that she would not have finished the half Ironman without Devlin’s input into her race strategy- and emphasizing the best time to eat and how to make the run ´easier’- which involved walking briskly through every feed station to save her legs so they could run more- “It just about worked!”

Well done Melanie! This is a fantastic achievement and you should be extremely proud of yourself, as we are! 🙂 

Jayne started running a short time before her 50th birthday after claiming that she would never ever be a runner.

Honestly, she hated running. Jayne believed she was too old to take up running and that it just wasn’t for her… 

Meet Jayne Tulip

This milestone birthday of turning the big 50 brought home the need to take health and fitness more seriously and somehow I ended up starting the Couch to 5K Plan.”

For a long time Jayne had a love/hate relationship with running- it just always felt so hard for her!

Now, 5 years later… Running helps her feel strong and capable and Jayne says that: “To be honest, I think it’s the post-run feel that keeps me engaged.”

After a run, (like most of us and one of the many reasons why we love running)  Jayne usually feels that she can cope with anything. 

I think anyone reading this will agree that running makes us feel sort- of invincible – It’s amazing!

Jayne’s Achievements

Jayne recently finished her first 24K trail endurance event. She was on a sub 2 hr 40 plan and managed to finish at 2hrs 30mins!!

(We are just so proud of you Jayne!😊)

This was her forum post on the Coach Parry Community Forum:

“Hi, coaches,

Pleased to say I finished my 24k trail endurance event yesterday, I was on a sub 2 hours 40 plan and managed 2 30 so happy with that! Lots of learning for next time!

There were so many hills! 

I’m planning on not doing much for the next week except maybe park run, then the following week just doing a few 30-40 min runs before thinking about my next plan.”

Jayne told us that the Personal Best she is actually most pleased with was the one she achieved after her first Coach Parry plan. 

She followed the sub 35 min 5k. “Prior to starting the plan my earlier park run times were 36-37 mins.”

She mentioned that her local park run is quite hilly and whilst she hasn’t yet managed a sub 30 on that course… whilst on the sub 35 5k plan she managed a brilliant 26.28 5K! 

I was really pleased with that and don`t quite know how it happened!”

Joining The Running Through Menopause Masterplan With Coach Parry

Jayne joined just over a year ago, specifically in May 2021.  

“I joined as I had lost focus, felt like I wasn`t changing, and was trying to handle a niggling Achilles tendon problem.”

Strong female runner

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Running Through Menopause Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save Your Seat In This Training Now…

Biggest Contributor To Jayne’s Success Story

She told us that DEFINITELY- consistency is the biggest contributor to her achieving her goals. 

Learning to handle my mind on longer runs, and to control when my mind gets the better of me and tells me what I can’t do and when it’s time to stop. – This has been invaluable.”

Jayne says that she has also nearly finally learned to accept that her runs are HER runs and that comparing to others is joy zapping, there will always be PLENTY of runners who are faster than she is.  

I can`t NOT mention the strength work and especially footwork as I don`t think my Achilles would be so well behaved without it!”

What’s Next For Jayne?

She wants to keep enjoying woodland trails, birdwatching on the run, and of course, running injury free. 

I have a 10K trail run in October and I hope by my 55th birthday later this year to manage sub 30 at my local park run.”

Hardest Part Of Achieving This Goal

Getting out when she didn`t feel like it, switching off her mind before a long run when it wanted to tell her: ‘You still have more than 2 hours to run’

Mind management has been the biggest challenge for Jayne. (That’s not to say that there isn`t a physical challenge.) 

Part of the reason why she’s learned to love running is that Jayne really enjoys doing some albeit speed bird and wildlife watching whilst running. 

I have seen foxes dash in front of me early in the morning in the woods, heard cuckoos, and watched redstarts flitting about. Running in a spring woodland surrounded by birdsong takes some beating.”

Sounds amazing Jayne. We can’t wait to hear from you when you smash your local parkrun PB!💪

When he was younger, running was a means to an end; Fermin wanted to be in good enough shape to play basketball and, later, tennis. 

But… He never thought of running distances beyond what he could… 45 minutes.

He thought anyone that ran more than an hour was crazy! 

Meet Fermin Diez

10k was my outer limit of comprehension, and marathons were decidedly out of the realm of possibility!”

In 2019, he signed up to do something already out of his comfort zone, but it was a fund-raiser for charity: Climb to Everest Base Camp (EBC)

Located at the foot of the Khumbu Glacier, Everest Base Camp is encircled by some of the most iconic peaks on Earth. Thousands of trekkers a year hike to Everest Base Camp and along other circuits in Nepal without ascending the peaks. 

9 months before we were expected to climb, I started training up for it.”

Fermin’s training program included some running (up to 30 mins) and stair-climbing. For 7 months he kept it up and was able to do 250 flights of steps carrying a 12Kg backpack. 

But then Covid hit… 

Singapore went into lockdown, trips were canceled, so there was no chance to go up flights of stairs in tall buildings, and the EBC trip was canceled. 

The only thing left to do during the lockdown was run.”

So, he started on longer runs and joined Coach Parry under the idea that, at 60, he needed help in understanding how to approach running seriously. 

To make the story short, I went from total neophyte to completing 10k, then 21k, then running my first ever race (half marathon in Greenland, which is in the ice cap, wearing spikes, at 15 below zero celsius).”

And then came the challenge from Fermin’s youngest daughter (who is 31 years younger than him)…

“Let’s run the Paris Marathon!”

Can’t say no to that father-daughter opportunity, so he said yes before he realized what he had gotten himself into!

I downloaded the below 5:30 marathon plan, consulted the forum, and heard back from Devlin that I should shoot for under 5:00, as he said I should be able to do 4:55 – I thought he was delusional! But I went ahead with his plan suggestion anyway.”

Fermin confessed that after the 30k day, he was scared… convinced, that he was not even going to make it to the end. 

Then I had a 1-on-1 call with Lindsey who assured me of a few things: that it was going to hurt, that I had a good plan for the race, and that I was going to make it to the end if I followed it.”

He was determined after that… that he would at least beat the cutoff time (5:40) and was secretly hoping that he could beat 5:30. 

Needless to say, Devlin and Lindsey were right. Fermin followed the training program, trusted the results, and followed his race plan. 

And finished in 4:46!!!

I am now healthier, happier, and fitter than I have been in over 40 years. Perhaps ever! At 62…”

This was Fermin’s forum post after the Paris Marathon:

Thank you, Lindsey, for your great one-on-one coaching, and the rest of the Coach Parry team, for your advice and support via the forum. Thanks to you all I was encouraged to train for my first marathon, at age 62, at a sub-5-hour pace. Candidly, I wasn’t sure I could do it, even after following the training. What would it be like to go past 30kms? What happens in the last 12?  What can I do to avoid the wall? With the practical advice and encouragement I received, I finished the Paris Marathon last April at 4:46!! Thank you, Lindsey, and all at Coach Parry. You’ve given me a framework and, more than that, a new fitness level. You guys are awesome!

Fermin’s Personal Bests

  • His first run was at about 8:52/k. 
  • His first 5k was over 38 minutes. 
  • His first 10k took nearly an hour 20. 
  • And his first 21k was over 3 hours. 

All of these achievements have happened over just the 1 year Fermin has been a part of the Coach Parry community.

I am now doing 5ks consistently below 30 minutes, close to one hour 10k and 2:18 for 21k. – Follow the plan and see the results!” 

Biggest Contributor To Fermin’s Success 

He told us that he has been running four times a week,  listening to videos, and following the exercise plan… 

So much so that he feels like every day he is interacting with some aspect of Coach Parry. 

This has given me the discipline, structure, and encouragement. And the results are the motivation!”

What’s Next?

Fermin is determined to do a sub 60-minute 10k and that’s what he is working on now! 

And climbing Kilimanjaro at the end of this year.”

He told us he must have joined the crazies “‘coz I’m thinking next year to do another Marathon in another cool place. Any suggestions?”

Difficulties Along The Way

Fermin suffers from Morton’s Neuroma, which can be troublesome.

Morton’s Neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot.

He also didn’t know anything about running, so he had to learn from scratch everything about proper exercise, and nutrition… especially what to eat and drink during a race.

I didn’t believe I could do it, not until the last water stop at the 38k marker! Overcoming the fear was the hardest part”

Something Interesting

Fermin says that running the half marathon on the ice in Greenland ended up being WAY HARDER than running the Marathon in Paris!

Your brain plays tricks on you on the ice, and it’s hard to get over the idea that ice is slippery (well, it is!) and that these nano spikes will hold you (they did, of course).”

Running with three layers at below zero temperatures, for a person like Fermin that lives in Singapore and trains at temperatures usually above 28 degrees Celsius and 85% humidity, made it super hard. 

Fermin HIGHlY recommends it! It was a lifetime experience that he will never forget!

Wow, Fermin! We know your story is going to inspire many other runners out there. You should be very proud:) 

Running helps Nicola switch off from the noise of every day and allows her space to recharge and come back a better person!  

Meet Nicola Amos

I started running by accident really, during the lockdown.”

Nicola’s son suggested that they run in the early mornings when lockdown first started in the UK.  

It was spring so they were both enjoying the beautiful weather. They would do a 5k loop along country lanes where they live.

She told us that the 5k would take them nearly an hour in the early days, but they put the world to rights and checked on the newborn lambs in a nearby field. 

“It will always be one of my special memories.” – Nicola

Since then, Nicola believes running has helped her mentally, improved her fitness, and helped make her feel stronger. 

Recent Achievements

When Nicola joined Coach Parry she set the goal to run a half marathon – which she had never done before… until now!

Nicola ran The Great West Run in Exeter, England, it’s not the flattest course and she managed to clock an incredible 1hr 57 finish!! 

This was Nicola’s forum post:

Where do I start!?  Two years ago, I hadn’t run at all although I’ve always been sporty (tennis mainly).  My son and I started running in lockdown and I’ve just slowly plodded on.  I joined Coach Parry last September and my goal was to get to a half marathon – well, I’ve done it!  Yesterday I ran the Great West Run in Exeter, England.  Not the flattest course and a really hot day!  I have been following the sub 2.15 plan and have stuck to it with the exception of the odd run here and there due to family stuff.  I can’t manage the live strength classes as they clash with work and school runs, but I have certainly done my strength work and I’m sure that is one of the factors that got me round and has left me pretty ache-free today!  Oh, and the important stuff, I would have been really happy with a time of 2.10, but somehow managed to clock 1 hr 57!! How crazy is that?!

Where to go from here?!  I have discovered that I really like the 10k distance and think I would like to now work on getting that too well under the hour and combine that with more strength training as I still have a way to go with that.  My knees can give me trouble, but if I keep with the strength exercises, they get me by.  It would be good to be confident that my body was robust enough to tackle something more challenging in the time to come.

Thank you Coach Parry team.  I think your system is awesome. I love the fact that the plans are geared around training times and paces and not distance.  There is something about having to go out and run a certain distance that I find quite demoralizing – don’t know why. But, training to time ticks the box for me.

Nicola x

I haven’t achieved a PB before my half marathon as I’ve just been running along my own journey, gradually working up from a 5k to 10k and then half marathon and never really setting myself goals.”

Well, Nicola, all we can say is that we are exceptionally happy to hear you have felt the benefits of the training. Your consistency has without a doubt paid dividends!

Joining Coach Parry & Nicola’s Next Goal

Nicola became a Coach Parry member in September 2021.

I joined because I wanted to work towards a half marathon.”

She thinks the biggest contributor to her success story has been in taking her easy runs easy and being consistent with strength training.

In terms of what’s next…

I’m at a bit of a crossroads at the moment as the half marathon was a big challenge for me.”

Nicola doesn’t think she has a marathon in her for the simple reason that she doesn’t really have enough available time to put in the training, but she would like to be able to remain half marathon fit and to be able to run a 10k when she feels like it without it being too much of an uphill struggle.

Strong female runner

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Running Through Menopause Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save Your Seat In This Training Now…

Difficulties Along The Way

One of the reasons for starting with Coach Parry was to attack the strength training and overcome a knee injury.“

She has been able to do just that! Although Nicola knows her right knee remains a weakness… it’s a super great incentive for her to keep up with the strength training. 

Speaking of strength training… Grab a free strength training plan here. 

Nicola told us that one thing she also struggled with along the way was tiredness.

… but I have learned so much about rest and recovery along the way and also nutrition, so much so, that I know I get tired when I overtrain and/or don’t eat enough or correctly.”

This has been a real “ah-ha” moment for Nicola and has helped her generally in life. “Especially at my stage of life and going through menopause.”

According to Nicola, there wasn’t really a hard part about reaching her PB.  

All she has to do was trust the process and was truly amazed at the result – “or maybe it was Beginner’s Luck!” 

Nicola told us that she thinks this is the fittest she has EVER been in her entire adult life!💪

Absolutely impressive results Nicola! We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Carrie started running when she was 35 after she tore her supraspinatus at Masters Nationals doing the final backstroke flip turn (they no longer use that type of flip turn due to shoulder injuries!).  

My ortho doc felt I didn’t need surgery but wanted me to not swim for a year…”

He told Carrie to take up triathlons and he would let her swim just for the event. 

So, I had to take up running and biking.”

Meet Carrie Franchi

Carrie told us that she loved running because you can do it anywhere and see so much beautiful scenery.  

“Running became my way to de-stress and gain peace.”

Carrie’s Recent Achievements

She ran the Light At The End Of The Tunnel Marathon recently to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon…

And…

“I’m competing in Boston in 2023 at 70 years old!  YAY!”

Carrie managed to qualify 17 minutes under her qualifying standard!

Here’s what she posted on the Coach Parry forum.

Just wanted to give a big shout-out to this program. I ran the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon Sunday in North Bend, Washington state to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon. The course is a -2% grade on a gravel trail. You run through a pitch-black tunnel for 2.5 miles. There had been a lot of rain so the erosion and potholes made it difficult for me and I hadn’t trained on this type of terrain but I BQd by just under 17 minutes under my qualifying standard. The amazing thing is I ran very slow in the tunnel due to fear of falling and when I came out my Garmin wasn’t working so the pace band I used for a time was worthless. Because I had learned to run by how I felt in my long runs in this program I was able to accomplish this goal.”

What’s so incredible is that 5 years ago she BQd in a marathon with a time of 4:32:59 on a course in Mesa AZ. 

In this recent race, her time was 4:33:07, only 8 seconds slower for a 5-year age increase!

“So I’m really pleased. I started this program late so I know if I can continue with it I’ll get faster. My BQ qualifying standard (4:50:00) is for women 70-74!”

Another recent achievement that Carrie told us about is that she followed Coach Parry’s advice to not race in her long runs but to use them as training.  

Even with that, she completed a 10K in 58:14 and Half-Marathon in 2:06:00.  

In these runs, I continued to run further to get in the mileage.”

Becoming A Coach Parry Member

Carrie has been a Coach Parry member for approximately 11 weeks now.

She loved the 50+ runner information that she watched and it made sense to her.  Carrie previously had a coach that caused a medial tibial stress fracture and so she knew she couldn’t be trained the way a 20-year-old trained.

Strong female runner

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Running Through Menopause Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save Your Seat In This Training Now…

Biggest Contributor To Carrie’s Success

She told us that she has never trained to run slow.  Long slow distance runs were just her usual faster pace.  

In this program, I learned that you need to run LSD runs slower paced. This taught me to “feel” pace when running and this contributed to my marathon accomplishment because I lost Garmin watch information 1 mile in and therefore couldn’t use my pace band.  I had the pace band set for a 4:40 goal.”

Carrie says that running by feel helped her finish with a 4:33:07. To her, that is amazing and she swears that she never could have done this without this program!!!

What’s Next?

Carrie has an Ironman 70.3 Oregon race on July 10th…” yep, only 3.5 weeks away with no training other than running.”

She says that her best leg is the swim so she doesn’t need to train for that… “So I’ll just start hitting the bike and try and do my best”

Another goal, of course, is running the 2023 Boston Marathon.

Struggles Along The Way…

Carrie’s stress fracture from earlier this year sometimes causes a few niggles so she needs to ice and rest more than she would like.

Running Long Slow Distance Runs at a slower pace was also quite a challenge for her in the beginning.

After a while, it kicked in and I gained a “feel” for the pace and could run it consistently!”

Carrie, you’re competing in Boston in 2023 at 70 years old! 
This is such a fantastic achievement. You really are an inspiration to A LOT of runners out there! 🙂

Jen told us that she was always pretty fit and loved doing exercise outdoors but only started running  (late 40s) when a friend persuaded her into a charity race – “I never saw the attraction of running before as most runners you pass are not usually smiling.” 

As the race approached her friend got injured and Jen ended up doing the race by herself and was surprised by how much she got out of the training. 

Meet Jenifer McMurtrie

Winning with Rubble & Buster

I didn’t run again for a few years as I enjoyed cycling and HIT and Tae Kwon Do (more than enough)  but then the menopause arrived.”

For Jen, there were no traditional symptoms or hot flushes, instead, she had muscle fatigue which crept up over a year or so and just totally wore her down. 

Combined with the irrational descent of red mist I was not a person I liked or wanted to be. I lost all my fitness and was in a dark place.”

Trying to haul Rubble back going downhill

Jen says that thankfully she was prescribed HRT and for her, it was like night and day… the weight both physical and mental that she felt she was under slowly lifted. 

I still had to get some fitness back and took up running/walking/jogging.”

Jen told us that she was very much assisted by having dogs … she loves this.

One of the dogs went blind at a very young age but as a springer spaniel – needed lots of exercises! 

When I first started running I was very competitive but against myself rather than others, probably why I liked HIT exercises.”

For Jen, running was bitter-sweet at first because she felt that same pressure to constantly get better. 

The one area where pressure was less, was dog running (Cani Cross) with her blind dog. They were a team learning together and just enjoying being out.

I was so proud of her and she boosted my desire to run better to not let her down. I do fewer Cani Cross events now but nearly all my training is with my dogs running loose on trails and I feel so much better after a run with them.”

Jen nearly stopped running again during covid but then discovered Coach Parry at the right time to get her back out.

She says that her attitude now is about enjoying the run more and stopping to take a picture now and again. 

Before coach Parry, I was always squeezing runs in and trying to get faster and further all the time. Running based on time on feet rather than distance is very freeing.”

Running is important to Jen now to maintain fitness as she thinks it is really important that her children see their mother doing things – “I had my children later in life so my daughter is just 16 and son 13.”

My little blind Lily with her brother Buster and I am covered in mud as fell over twice!”

Jen believes that children whose parents exercise, especially their mothers are much more likely to stay in exercise and this is important to her. 

That and staying fit as long as I can to both help and annoy them, in equal measure, as long as possible!”

She says that the feeling of just being outdoors and enjoying the moment, even in the snow and rain of a Scottish winter day is essential to her well-being. 

Thankfully I also have a very supportive family and they can see what a difference running makes to me.”

Recent Achievements 

Jen was So well pleased with her most recent achievement!

She aimed for 2hrs 10ish and completed the race with a chip time of 2hrs 2mins and 19s for the 13.6miles. 

There was a marker at 13.1 at which point I was 1hr 57 and 8 secs but my watch didn’t measure 13.1 till 1.58min 13s (and that includes the 30s due to my watch pausing at water stops)  Whatever, I am delighted. It was a pretty rainy, blustery day so not ideal conditions but good temperature.”

She says that she couldn’t tell us how please she was and that her head still struggles to understand how running lots slow translates to race day speed …” but it seems to work so don’t overthink it!” 

Jen started in the group that was aiming for 2hrs to 2hrs 15 and when the race started they were off like whippets after a rabbit and she was thinking “whoah this is way too fast but I got a bit carried along with it all and it felt fine but I did keep thinking I need to slow.”

A friend came alongside Jen and she was fairly zipping along but another few miles in she thought this is mad and let her friend pull ahead and tried to just get into a rhythm. 

I knew I would be walking at all water stations so just decided to keep going without being too stupid, as long as I felt ok. (Ps passed the friend just before mile 10 and she is now considering your training program 🙂)”

Jen told us that she also thinks she has nutrition a bit more sussed. She finally found some gels which aren’t too gloopy or sweet and that don’t upset her stomach.. so she has been testing them out on previous long runs. They can be put in a reusable bottle that holds 2 gels so you can take them a little bit at a time which Jen likes. (Kendal Mint Gels – for anyone interested)

The recent 1/2 on the dreaded zig-zags

One of Jen’s previous achievements was her dog run with her 2 sighted dogs in Wales in October of last year. 

First run since Coach Parry and a bit of an unknown as an over-hilly trail with dogs, the younger of which it was his first race. Distance approx 12 miles.”

Jen was nervous, she had nearly stopped running in lockdown and didn’t understand how the Coach Parry method translated to results. 

Dog running is also strange – you are assisted by the dog absolutely but, you also have to maintain tension on the bungee so you are pulling back while going forward and it takes it out of the legs. “

The race was far from home – travel night before and stay over – and she thinks she had covid isolation nerves from being at home for the previous 2 years…

The weather was perfect and she followed all the instructions with warm-ups and was probably more on top of the dog’s nutrition and hydration than her own. – so she says!😂

“I set off determined to do my best but to enjoy it.”

It is a mixed-race, dog runners, non-dog runners, walkers, male, female, there are no distinctions and it is a really friendly race according to Jen. 

It is also a staggered start because of the dogs and you wear a tag for timing (and in case you get lost) so you don’t know how you are doing. 

The race was shortened due to farm access issues and you run through woods, across fields, climb over stiles, and are generally just out by yourself and hope you are on track.”

I basically treated it as a day out and really tried to enjoy it and encourage the dogs who were brilliant and worked really well together. It is a hilly route and ended up being just under 10 miles and over 500m of ascent.”

Jen says that in the race you get to the top of the last hill and see the valley and the finish down below and it is a nice feeling that all the hard stuff is behind and you have a nice downhill to finish. 

A Surprise For Jen

“The shortened route took me a bit by surprise … I got down to the finish area and it was quieter than expected and for a moment I thought I had gone the wrong way.”

People were shouting from the finish line for her to keep coming and she got over the line to realize that she was the first female home and 4th overall!

I couldn’t believe it! Absolutely gobsmacked! Of course…  I then did my /oh it must have been a smaller field due to covid, there must be fewer people with 2 dogs, etc, etc.’”

No, there were 150, and the 2 ladies behind her both had 2 dogs and were younger than Jen so she had to admit negative defeat and actually admit … job well done and enjoy the moment!

Enter Coach Parry…

Jen joined last summer after she watched the Running Through Menopause Webinar by Shona.

It was one of those moments where someone lists things and you go yes, yes, yes, oh my yes, and yes – you have just described me!”

Strong female runner

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Running Through Menopause Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save Your Seat In This Training Now…

Biggest Contributor To Jen’s Success Story

She answered us by saying having a plan to follow, having all the extra support from the videos and clips and information you get from Coach Parry which explains the sense of that plan… even if you don’t understand it, and being stubborn and willing to start again plus of course lots of family support and not forgetting the dogs.

What Next For Jen

The 1/2 marathon was part of a trilogy event with the 10k already been and the marathon part is in August.

However, her main goal is another half marathon which is in September, and climbs Ben Lawyer in Scotland and has a 1300m ascent “gulp!”

Hardest Part Of Reaching Her Goals

I think my struggles were more mental. I don’t think we appreciate how fit we are at times.”

She says that when she did insanity every day and cycled miles and was a black tag – she didn’t think anything of it and then when she could barely get out of bed … it was tough not to look back and compare negatively. 

Getting back my belief in myself but at the same time acknowledging that I might never run as fast or as far as I did before and that is more than ok and, although it sounds schmalzy, the getting out each day is the winning thing, doing well on the day is an extra.”

Trail running a few years ago.

We couldn’t agree with Jen more!

Discipline to keep going when maybe mentally you are not in the mood or family life distracts you from taking time for yourself to train.

“I always try to smile and say hi to other walkers and runners when I am out just to disprove the rule that runners don’t smile :-)” 

We found your story so inspiring Jen! We know a lot of other runners will too.
Well done and we can’t wait to hear about your next race! 🙂

Steve really started to enjoy running in the 1980s when it was combined with his love of the outdoors. 

Meet Steve Burridge

Too hot for a dry robe, Enjoying Age group podium finish Windsor Sprint 2017

I was part of a winning team of four competing in the Welsh 1000s.  The Welsh 1000’s race took part in Snowdonia, starting at sea level at Aber and going via all 1000 meter summits to the finish on the top of Snowdon after 32km and 2,800m of ascent. “

A few years later Steve was part of a smaller team of two, this time with his friend Paul Miller competing in the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon in the lake district.  

While searching for the results decades later he was very happy to discover the race had been subjected to a mini-documentary that had captured himself and Paul at registration.  

The once vivid (but now faded) red coat I was wearing at the time stands out very clearly in the YouTube copy of the documentary. “

Steve kept up his running into the 1990s regularly taking part in 10km Volkslauf in Germany where he was working a the time. 

Recent Achievement

Steve says that strength training played a big part in being able to cycle around the Fred Whitton Challenge course earlier this month. 

This 113-mile ride around the lake district takes in several intimidating ascents and equally intimidating descents including, after about 95 miles, the daddy of them all: Hardknott Pass.  

The bottom is a vicious 1 in 3 climb up over a shoulder and on to a less steep section before and even more vicious 1 in 3 switchbacks before the final ascent to the summit.  

Steve simply didn’t have the strength for it last year and had to walk the steep sections. 

He told us that this time, thanks to the help and support from Coach Parry, he was equal to the challenge! 💪

Success second time around, leading up the top section of Hardknott Pass May 2021

Steve’s Forum Post:

Delighted to have made it all the way around the 112mile Fred Whitton challenge on the bike this year including the notorious Hardknott pass that I had to walk up parts of last year.  By the time I’d got to the bottom of Hardknott pass I was already around 95 miles of the course, my legs were tired and I was suffering some mild GI cramps.  Strength training helped me maintain a short but not very productive squat in a field but which did ease the GI cramps and I composed myself for the climb ahead.  Then the strength training started to really come into its own as I was out of the saddle grinding my way up the 1 in 3 slopes at the bottom before the road flattened out and I could give my now cramping legs a bit of a rest.  I took a photo of the climb ahead including the final ascent up a series of 1 in 3 switchbacks.  It doesn’t look so bad in the photo as it’s running away from you (you have to zoom in to see the line of riders).  Last year from the base of the

1 in 3 sections it looked very much like trying to ride up a wall. This year it looked slightly less daunting and the strength I’d developed in my core and legs carried me to the top of what is one of the most notorious climbs in England.  

Thanks for all the help and support from the training team CP 🙂, on to my attempts at Olympic Triathlon now!

Best wishes

Steve

Steve wanted to add that he bought a souvenir T-shirt last year.  This year he treated himself to some great photos from Steve Fleming.

For anyone wanting to know more about this year’s event or were perhaps interested in having a go themselves, the following YouTube account nicely reflected how I felt about the day: Here.

Another Achievement For Steve

This weekend was another first: I competed in my first standard distance Triathlon!”

He had been introduced to sprint distance Triathlons five years ago.  A ruptured disc brought exercising to a halt and was followed a year later by a knee arthroscopy to repair his right knee.

To preserve my knee I limited my runs to 5km for a couple of years. Then, quite by accident, I ended up doing an ad hoc half marathon trail run with a friend. “

Ad Hoc half marathon, hooning around with Matt Feb 21

Steve and his friend had planned a much shorter outing but were loving splashing through the flooded terrain and just kept going. The knee didn’t object and opened the door to longer runs.  

Becoming a Coach Parry Member

I’m just coming to the end of my first year with CP.  I joined because I needed some help getting back into running and I was facing the prospect of my first Fred Whitton Challenge in the autumn of 2021.”

Steve told us that he was 59, and without the benefit of formal coaching. He was not getting anywhere by exercising as hard as he could whenever he got the chance… Instead, he was left feeling tired with no progress, which was frustrating for him.

Biggest Contributor To Steve’s Success

If I had to say just one thing it would be Coach Parry!”

Steve believes that there are many strands that have been significant to his success…

Having a structured program, learning to run easy runs EASY, the importance of recovery and nutrition, learning how his body is responding to the aging process and so much more. 

Being with Coach Parry has been a real education with added benefits: the Coach Parry community includes some truly inspirational athletes, and the coaches have been super supportive including helping me cope with a bout of Covid in the weeks prior to my first Fred Whitton.  I’ve learned not to be a slave to the program and to be kinder to myself.”

What’s Next For Steve

British Triathlon Championships in June this year.

He also hopes to lose some weight and perhaps complete a half IM before he is 65. 
On the running front, having recently matched a 5km PB of under 25 minutes from 10 years ago I’m keen to see if I can match the 45min 10km I was doing 30 years ago.”

Difficulties Along The Way

Some anxiety at registration for my first Standard Distance Tri on 21 May 2022

Steve says he is 172cm tall and around 85kg give or take… so he believes he is about 10kg overweight and has been for some years.  

This continues to take its toll on my joints and I’m confident I could perform better if I wasn’t carrying the extra junk around.  I’ve worked with it and have achieved a good level of fitness notwithstanding.  It does make it hard work coming back after periods of injury or illness.”

He also found it a challenge to cope with setbacks due to injury or illness. 

Steve feels disappointed and depressed when he has to take a break while he’s on a roll, compounded by the withdrawal from exercise-induced endorphins and putting on weight.

That’s when the humanity of the Coach Parry coaches and the wider community can help, even if it’s simply reading in the forum about someone going through something similar.”

An Interesting Story Shared By Steve

Somewhere between his mid thirty’s and mid forty’s the impact of work and a busy social life crept up on him. 
He put on weight and his fitness gradually went down the pan.  

I started to try and regain some fitness when I became a father to two boys towards the end of the noughties. “

Initially, he ran a couple of times a week, then he bought a bike and cycled socially with a mixed group from the village where he lives. 
Some more enthusiastic and able members planned a trip to cycle to France.  I was very happy to be driving the support vehicle.”

A year later and building on the success of the 2015 Paris trip, an unsupported round trip to France from St Malo to Cherbourg was planned.  

With no support needed Steve thought he was off the hook…

Then a vacancy came up at short notice and when the invitation was extended to him in the local pub. 

I’d had one too many beers to say “no”.  My hard work keeping up with the group was recognized and during the trip, I was invited to join in a sprint triathlon when we returned.”

He got caught up in the moment and after a glass to two of wine and accepted without reservation.  And so began his time as a (Sprint distance) triathlete.

I was shocked and relieved in equal measure when we arrived in Cherbourg after a long and exhausting day to catch the fast boat back to the UK.”

He doesn’t know why, but they hadn’t had an occasion to handle bikes up to that point.  

In unpacking and repacking to take advantage of the opportunity for a shower and change of clothes I needed to move a bike to get to mine. It was so light!”

Learning from experience, Lightweight alternative to brogues for coast to coast 2017

Curiosity pricked;  Steve tried the weight of some of the other bikes…

All so light and easily lifted with a single hand.  My bike required feet well planted and both hands to lift.  It quickly became clear that I brought much more with me than anyone else.”

A part of the reason that Steve had been struggling was not a lack of condition but simply that he had so much extra stuff…  A pack horse would have struggled.

That was the last time I took my brogues for evening wear on a cycle trip. The irony is that the experience made me stronger!”

We love that story!😂

Well done on these incredible achievements Steve! We know you’re going to continue breaking personal records way into your mid 60’s and well after.