Celebrating Greatness at House of Sport
House of Sport has some amazing residents doing all kinds of great and inspiring things. In the first of our brand-new monthly instalment celebrating greatness, we are profiling the escapades and outdoor pursuits of somebody who likes to run around. A lot.
I’m Jodie, the Community Leader for Sport Heroes. A company with a mission to inspire and reward runners (Running Heroes) and cyclists (Cycling Heroes). We’re based over in the Sports Tech Hub amongst some great start-ups.
We hear you like a bit of running…what have you been up to over the last year?
Ha-ha, what gave you that idea?. To be honest 2018 was an amazing year. I did a fair bit of travelling across the UK and around the world taking on races that I would never have dreamt I could achieve. Then I was lucky enough to take on a 5-day challenge running 250km across the Wadi Rum desert, I got to explore the mountains in France, I even ran the length of Gran Canaria – a race I enjoyed so much I went back this year… I didn’t enjoy it so much the second time around. My favourite and, personally, my biggest achievement, was a 105-mile race in the Lake District that involved 37+ hours in cold and wet conditions, but this one meant so much to me and had been a goal I’d dreamed of for years.
How did you get into running, particularly long distance?
As long as I can remember I’ve been running, whether it was sports day, athletics club, PE, through the house. My brother actually trained one of our sheep to chase me, my competitive side meant that every day I would try to out run Shaun the sheep like my life depended on it and although it scared the daylights out of me I think it was all part of the lifelong training. At about the age of 20, not really even knowing what a marathon was, I was convinced to do a 50-mile race in the Lake District, it was tough and took me a long time, but I loved it!
Perhaps I was convinced because the friends who got me involved introduced ultra-running as a very normal concept. These are guys, who have been running for beyond my years and will take on 100+ milers at the weekend and talk about it as if it was just as normal as popping to the shops! They are great friends now (luckily, I didn’t hate them after doing an ultra-marathon at their suggestion) and are some of the amazing people that have inspired and encouraged me to keep pushing the boundaries whilst enjoying the freedom of running for many miles.
Favourite race/run that you’ve done and why?
Lakeland 50/100 is my all-time favourite, I keep going back! For one, it’s the sentimental aspect. But also, there is the “Lakeland Family” because the crowd there every year is so wonderful and supportive, you reunite with old friends and make new friends every year. The place is stunning, but the people really do it for me. On the other hand, I did a race last year called Templiers, the first 50k was super tough because I was so tired, and my knee hurt from a race the week before but then I just sorted my head out and experienced pure enjoyment at a great pace for the next 50km. It was such a great feeling, it’s crazy I didn’t want to stop at the finish after 100k!
What on earth do you eat to fuel all those miles?
A lot. I LOVE food. When out running whether for fun or racing I’ll usually take loads of sweet and savoury snacks because I never know what I might want. I found TRIBE who are a great running community also producing a great range of delicious nutritional bars. My housemate introduced me to the best thing for long runs: nori wraps, with sticky rice, salt/miso and avocado! If I’m out running by myself I don’t ever follow a route, so I don’t really know how long I’ll be out or where I’ll end up, so it’s nice to know I have food. Most ultras have “aid stations” where there is food but a) you often have to carry at least some of your own food b) I don’t like to rely on it in case there is nothing I can eat.
Best thing about running?
It’s the freedom and discovering amazing places.
Worst thing about running?
When something stops me from running.
Any advice for people wanting to start running or get better at going further and longer?
Just go out there and do it. There are loads of amazing running communities or clubs out there to encourage your progression or give me a shout and we’ll go for a lunch run! I remember thinking that a running club seemed really intimidating but they are not at all and have just become like an extended family to me (evidence: the goofy picture of me was caught at London Marathon and captures just how happy I was to see some of the members from St Austell Running Club). The human body and mind are fascinating, you can always do more than you think.
What does training look like for you? How do you prepare for these epic adventures?
Run a lot. I use TRIBE’s weekly tempo runs for strength and speed work. Otherwise, I’m the worst for any structured training. I’ve got away with it for so long with good recovery but recently I’ve been paying the price, so actually if anyone has advice for me I would love to hear it!
What challenges have you got coming up next?
In between some bigger challenges I’m looking forward to getting involved in the other side of the race and volunteering at a few events which is sometimes just as much effort. I’ve got a few things lined up with 3 big events to look forward to. In July, I’ll be toeing the start line of the Lakeland 100 again and hoping for better weather and less sleep deprivation, though hallucinations have provided some interesting story telling. I’m feeling pretty terrified/excited for August to take on the UTMB’s TDS, 145 km with 9000 metres assent through Italy, Switzerland and France – I know this will be very testing but I’m hoping to survive enough to soak in the incredible surroundings. Finally, in November, with Tribe Freedom Foundation there is going to be a group of us running 260km with the goal to raise vital funds in the fight against modern slavery.
Many thanks to Jodie for taking the time to talk about running, You Rock!