Category Archives: Ponderings

Broughshane 10k

I went into tonight’s Broughshane 10k not really expecting much. Despite my best intentions I’d only run once since last week’s jaunt up to the Brighton Marina so I knew tonight would have been quite the struggle … or at least I feared that’d be the case.

The reality was a bit different. Beforehand. I had two objectives, namely don’t come last and be relatively pleased with my performance. With that in mind I suppose I can write tonight off as a guarded success.

Weather wise it had been an interesting day. Lots of thunder, lightning and heavy rain earlier in the afternoon and more forecase for exactly the time of the race but, come the start, it was a glorious summer evening, a perfect night for a run.

The start was also the most picturesque I’ve experienced to date, beside a river and in landscaped grounds, befitting of Broughshane’s status as the ‘Garden Village of Ulster’.

It was also uphill. Ok, it was only a little rise but it was still strange to run uphill at the start of a race … thankfully it then dropped quite steeply before going onto the main road through the village.

Of course that meant I went off far too quickly – my fastest opening kilometre since I started measuring runs with a Garmin …. and we all know what that means. True to form I felt the pace after the first mile and, perhaps, my lack of running recently came home to roost.

I ran with a group of ladies from the club for a while, which was good, but the pain in my legs meant that I wasn’t quite able to keep up. I had them in my sights all the way round the course but I just couldn’t catch them.

However, after a couple of miles, I was joined by Mairead – one of the two tailrunners – who offered to run with me the rest of the way. I was most appreciative of this because the company was good, and the chat kept me focused on something else other than my legs, comparing running stories and experiences.

She also kept me going when otherwise I might have stopped plus there was the added incentive of the other tailrunner encouraging a couple of others behind us … they were about a minute further back, but we could hear them and there was no way I was letting them catch us!

The course, as it left Broughshane, turned into a bit of trail which was a new experience for me but, at the same time, was a bit of fun.

After a short while we were back on good old tarmac but then the heavens opened! And how they opened! It was torrential – and there was some good old thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure – but I didn’t mind, not really. In fact, I had more sympathy for the poor marshals being stuck out in it waiting for us slow coaches to pass.

Up to a certain point quite late on in the run I was on course for a PB. It didn’t happen due to a couple of quite steep hills that I just walked up but, as I said at the outset, as long as I was happy with my performance tonight then I wasn’t going to worry too much.

By and large I was happy. Maybe not because I went off too quick but, timewise, it was amongst my quickest competitive 10k, and faster than my last three races, although still someway off my PB.

Well done to everyone who ran tonight in those conditions, and many thanks to Mairead for helping me round. I hope I didn’t complain too much!

Relive my run


Time to wrap up my London Marathon fundraising for Asthma UK and to say quite a few thank-you’s!

First of all, the amount raised (inc. Gift Aid) came to just over an amazing £2050 – and there are still donations trickling in so that’ll rise a bit over the next few weeks.

A huge thank-you to every last one of you who donated via my Virgin Money page, attended one of my fundraisers or donated because they couldn’t, took part in my Virtual Run, contributed via easyfundraising, slipped me a few quid when they saw me out and about, gave me items to raffle and auction or supported me in other ways.

I’m pretty sure I’ll have forgotten someone but here goes, in no particular order …… Sheila, Michelle H-T, Ros and Wally, Barbara, Stephen, Johnny, Thomas, Sam, Leslie, Joel T, The Front Page Bar Ballymena, Stephen, Michael, Mairead, Dawn, David (Irish FA), Danielle, Isobel, Chris (ClubSportNI), Kyle (Playing Style), Agnes and Steppin’ Country Linedancers, Michelle, Alastair, Andrew (NI Football League), Cake and Crust Bakery (Paul), Roy and Linfield Football Club (Official), Stephen and Cliftonville Football Club, John and Ballymena United FC, Mark H, Jennifer S, Elaine and Mid Ulster Ladies FC, Jonny, Louise, Sam and friends, K&G McAtamney Butchery & Deli, Style N Sport, Stirling Trophies.

I’d also like to publicly thank my anonymous supporters – I know who some of you are so I hope I thanked you privately but also those whom I haven’t a clue about, one in particular …. all I can say to you is wow!

I really, really hope I’ve left no-one out, sincere apologies if I have. You have all helped raised a fantastic amount for a charity and cause that affects so many people, including a few very close to me.

Thank-you all from the bottom of my heart.


A wee Christmas Day run with Michelle (just to explain my hat!)

I’m running the London Marathon next Sunday for Asthma UK to help support their research into finding a cure for asthma and providing support to those suffering from it.

My daughter Michelle is one such sufferer.

On top of running the marathon I also entered and won a competition through one of the race sponsors, Buxton Water, to have a loved one run a short stretch of the course with me. I chose Michelle.

This will take place just after the 12-mile mark and just before the iconic Tower Bridge.

It will be a highly emotionally charged part of the day. Going over the bridge is always a highlight as it is, but having Michelle accompany me on the route – the *actual* route – just beforehand will make it beyond special.

Michelle has written the following personal and heartfelt post detailing her experiences of living with asthma. I hope you take the time to read it. She is my #reasontorun.

“Dad entered me into a competition to run a wee bit of the London Marathon with him. Not like one of those parents living their dream through their children sort of way. So far, he’s doing a great job managing that by himself. He didn’t really tell me a lot about it. I just let it roll. Sure, we probably wouldn’t win anyway…

Ha! I woke up from a nap to a rather excited message from dad saying he’d won. I’d be running a bit of the marathon with him! Once I woke up a little bit, the excitement kicked in. I’ll be running a little bit with my dad living one of his dreams. To me, I’m stepping foot onto one of the red carpets of running.

It may only be a little dander in comparison to the full thing, but I really do appreciate that this is further than a lot of people get to with the London Marathon. 253,930 UK applicants registered for a ballot place for this year’s event. Little more than 35,000 make it to the starting line. Realistically, only a lucky few are successful.

Dad is running for Asthma UK, a charity that works towards helping those with asthma by funding research hopefully leading to a cure one day.

Asthma is not fun or easy. It’s exhausting. Growing up with asthma was difficult and at times quite terrifying.

My earliest memory involves my mother making me stand outside the front door in my pyjamas in an attempt to get fresh air. I had no idea what was happening to me or what I had done for my body to react in such a way. It was very scary as a five-year-old struggling to breathe and not understanding why.

When I was around eight I had another bad chest infection brought on by my asthma. I remember being put on various pills and potions and feeling very frustrated with my body.

I had to take a few weeks off school which to the average child might seem great but trust me when I tell you it’s so boring and miserable when you’re very sick. You’ve got no energy because you feel like you’re carrying this massive strain on your chest. Whatever energy you do muster is used on trying to eat and teach yourself the lessons you have missed.

One day I took a hissy fit and refused to take my tablets so my dad decided to tell me sternly that I would die if I didn’t take them. I don’t think I have ever popped a pill so quickly since. In hindsight, I can see why he had to tell me.

PE in secondary school made double maths seem like heaven. And I really did not like maths.

The teachers weren’t sympathetic to the kids with chronic illnesses and assumed that we should be running like the hockey team. We’d be made to run around the school which involved hills. I do not do hills. I recently fainted walking up a hill on my way to university. Part of this was because of my asthma. Ended up with broken glasses and a black eye. The look every person aspires to have (says nobody).

Today as a 21-year-old, my priorities have somewhat changed and with that my asthma has had to adapt.

Without going into too much detail, kissing has been a challenge. Have you ever tried to passionately kiss your partner straight after a run? This is what it is like…sort of. Luckily, my boyfriend and I see the humour in it.

I struggle to eat and breathe at the same time which makes me embarrassed. So, I tend to eat my lunch somewhere private or else in a loud room where nobody will hear my little snorts.

I can’t walk up hills or long distances without getting tired and out of breath. I still try and push myself though. I’d say I am like a pug: struggles to breathe, makes little snorting sounds and uses all its energy on breathing and walking simultaneously.

With most things in my life, humour gets me through it. Although, having a hearty laugh can sometimes lead to a coughing fit.

Obviously, this is one person’s account of asthma. I’ve had it very lucky in comparison to so many people and their loved ones. I’ve more or less got it under control now but that’s not to say I don’t have bad days or I’ll never have a bad asthma attack again. It’s important that we continue to fund charities like Asthma UK so they can keep supporting so many people who are struggling with this chronic illness.

Let’s hope that I don’t stack it in front of a TV camera. If I do and someone sends it into LAD Bible, I’ll be taking that £100 (and donating it to Asthma UK of course).”

If you would like to donate to Asthma UK you can do so by following this link. Thank-you.