About Stephanie

From Milton Keynes

Age 62

Job Swimming teacher, specialising in fear of water

Stephanie Dutton took up running last year, when her grandson Harry asked her to do a 10K – and insisted that she could learn to run. She succeeded, and went on to join Reedway Runners in Milton Keynes, before joining the club’s Zero to Hero scheme to help people run their first marathon. Unfortunately, injury put paid to Stephanie’s marathon training but after months of careful rehab, yoga and swimming, she’s back on the Zero to Hero plan for next year and ready to tackle Project Trail in the meantime.

What made you enter Project Trail?

I’ve never done trail running before and I thought, ‘It’s a challenge, and I need a challenge.’ I know I’m doing the Zero to Hero programme and I’m training for a marathon, but I love the thought of being off road, running on something softer and being more at one with nature. I want to be part of something and see and feel it and when I’m road running, things just pass me by.

Tell us how your grandson, Harry, got you started…

I was at his home, and he came in from school with a piece of paper and he said ‘Grandma, Grandma! I want you to do this!’ It was a race. I said, ‘Darling, I don’t run,’ and he said, ‘You could learn, Grandma!’ And I really took that on board. I could learn. I didn’t want to let him down. So I completed my 10K at Silverstone racecourse, 11 weeks after he asked me to do the run.

What difference has your club, Redway Runners, made?

It’s made a big difference. They encourage you to go beyond where you are, but with masses of support. You have a mentor as well, they run with you, they talk to you, they give you a training plan, and it’s free!

You’ve had some injury problems, how has that changed your approach?
I’m much more conscious of how I train, how I run, what I eat, and how important it is to do other activities besides running to get me to be stronger.

But it has made me realise I thought it was reasonably fit and strong and in reality, I wasn’t for running. It was a massive lesson.

What will be your biggest challenge on Project Trail?

The hills, the mud, and the terrain. My strength? My determination and motivation. That will get me through it – even if I walk it, that will get me through it!

What are you looking forward to most about it?

Being disciplined. And getting to know the other two ladies, getting to know the team.

Stephanie Dutton

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