Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Claire Marie
Features Writer
4:12 AM 31st July 2021

My Midlife 10k Part 4

After years as a mediocre jogger rather than a ‘proper’ runner, 40+ blogger Claire Marie is taking the plunge and attempting her first 10k. And she’s documenting her journey for our readers.

If you want to re-energise, visit somewhere beautiful. If you want to spring clean your soul, (you know, the kind of clean that includes spiritual skirting boards and spiderwebs in dusty, inaccessible corners), go running somewhere beautiful.

Claire & Tommy
Claire & Tommy
Do you know what I love about holidays and trips away? You always go home a slightly different person, even if you don't travel far. In my case, I’m lucky enough to be spending the week with my family at the beautiful Greenbank Barns near Richmond this week, and the scenery and silence here (beyond our noisy, chaotic house of course) is stunning and really healing.

Of course with just days to go until my 10k, the training has to continue. Wednesday’s solo 7k was peaceful, picturesque and scenic and I discovered Ravensworth, a picture postcard hamlet with its own ruins, rose gardens and romantic cottages. I relished the stillness, hearing little more than my own breathing, the gentle plod of my trainers against the rough earth and the whisper of the trees. I did a brisker and more sociable 3.5k with my sister and nephew on Thursday, and my next run will be the big one.

The training is also very necessary, given that since Monday, my five a day has comprised of prosecco, strawberries, cheese boards, biscuits from the local farm shop. And wine.

But despite my holiday diet being a one-way street to a case of gout, I can’t think of anywhere better to be to get in the zone for the big day on Sunday.

I spent a good few years too tired or apathetic to exercise consistently. I understand why getting out and exercising can be the first thing that suffers when you're feeling preoccupied or low on energy, but the difference now is that I make myself keep going, even when I really don’t want to, because it really is a powerful way to stay mentally strong. It may have taken me a couple of decades to realise this, but knowing what I know now, I'm confident that it'll remain part of my life in some shape or form. After all, running is free, gets me outside into nature, and gives me space, either to think, or to not think at all. It’s also such a great way to get under the skin of a place, and get under my own skin too.

Another perk of being away is spending time with my young nephews, including 11 year-old Tommy, whose disability means he needs a wheelchair to get around. Despite his challenges, Tommy competed in his school sports day and completed a 5k walk using his walking frame in which he raised almost £1,000 for charity. Tommy’s advice to me has been profound: “I felt like I might not finish my 5k, but I pushed myself and my friends motivated me. If you don’t feel like you can do your 10k, just keep on trying and you’ll be shocked at what you’re capable of. You just might be stronger than you know.”

There’s nothing I can write to top that.

Here’s to embracing every opportunity and every challenge at every age.

No matter what.