Although she’s been running since 2011, Alice’s speed really took off when she accidentally joined “the fastest club in the West”. She loves to set herself a challenge and, in 2015, she ran at least 5K every day – including her first marathon, which she completed in 3:40:21, gaining a Good For Age entry into the London Marathon.
Why did you decide to enter the Big Marathon Challenge?
I applied because I think that a lot of running magazines under-represent the faster end of the recreational runner, so I wanted to see if there was scope for somebody setting quite a challenging – for me – marathon target.
You’re pretty fast – how did that happen?
I don’t know! I started running in 2011 just because I had the time. I started with couch to 5K. I was always training independently. I think what made the big difference was that I joined a club at the beginning of 2015. Suddenly doing track work is, I think, what’s led to my speed increase.
Tell us about your club, Bristol & West AC.
Accidentally, I joined the fastest club in the West, just because they were really close to me. The club is really supportive – there’s no competitiveness between people in the club, which I don’t think people get from the outside, because we’ve got a lot of very fast individuals. People have said at races, “Ooh, you run for Bristol and West, you must be really fast!” And I say, “No, I just bought the vest. We let anybody in!”
What made you do 5K every day in 2015?
There’s a man who lives near Bristol called Jim Plunkett-Cole who for, the last few years, has been trying to get people more active with something he calls 365, where you try to do some kind of physical activity every day for 365 days. And there is a parkrunner called big Kev who, in 2013, was doing it for Macmillan, so I went to see him every week going up and down in his charity vest and thought, “That’s interesting, why would you do that?” Then a friend of mine did it the following year and started beating me [at parkrun], which wasn’t acceptable. So I thought, “Why don’t I give it a go?”
Richard said he thought your challenge would be resting (see below) – is that fair?
I do agree. I think resting is the hardest thing because then your mind goes off on its little journeys, the brain weasels come out and you start doubting yourself.
What are you hoping to get from this?
I’m looking forward to the personalised element of it, because so many people buy a book, they look at the plan, they copy the plan. I wanted something that’s more personalised to my weaknesses particularly. I can see it being very interesting to follow the other challenge competitors and find out how they’re going as well – sometimes marathon training is a very solitary process.