Community-spotlight-Esme
November 23, 2023

Community spotlight No. 4 - Esme

Shining a light on you – our incredible community members. We’re sharing your amazing stories, training tips, hacks and more. These inspire us all to keep showing up on the track, road, bike, or in the water.

This month we're talking to Esme - a runner from London, who rekindled her love of running in lockdown and has never looked back.

A bit about you:

What’s your story? How did you get into running?

I have a similar story to a lot of people - I started running during lockdown. I was a keen runner as a kid, competing in athletics and cross country at a regional level, but I only fell in love with the sport when I was older.

What’s your favourite thing about running?

For me, running is a huge part of my life and allows me to be a happy, functional person. I love many sports, but the runner's high is incomparable to anything else.

What’s your favourite running route? (We’re always looking for new recommendations!)

Running around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford

What’s your best piece of advice for anyone starting out with running?

Variety! It’s really easy to fall into the trap of running the same distance, at the same pace every time you lace up.

Run to how you’re feeling and don’t limit yourself to the same 5k route!

Best running training hack?

Have your running kit laid out (or easy to find) for the days when you don’t feel like it. Don’t overthink it. Just get dressed and soon you’ll be out the door.

What’s in your training belt / backpack?

I love running with a vest for any longer runs and you can guarantee it will always be filled with snacks, and an emergency packet of sweets.

Any pre or post-training rituals?

I’m still working on my post-run routine and I am by no means perfect at it but I do have a couple rules. E.g. don’t sit down when you get back from a big run or you won’t be moving for a while.

You and events:

What event(s) are you most looking forward to doing next?

My next big event is UTS (a UTMB race in Snowdonia). I’ve covered the distance before, but the biggest challenge will be the elevation — over 3000m 😳

If money and distance were no object, what event would you love to take part in?

If money were no object, I would gather my friends and set off to run around the coast of Europe, just for the adventure. I'd love to see how far we'd make it and raise money for charity along the way.

Best event you’ve done?

My favourite ever event was Cambridge Half! It was the perfect race for me and I achieved a big personal best as a bonus.

Quick-fire round:

Best running song?

Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen

Favourite pre or post-run snack?

Pre-run: Bagel, peanut butter and a banana.

Post-run: Protein shake and anything / everything in the fridge.

Morning or evening run?

Evening

Trainer of choice?

Vaporfly 3 Nike

Best running product or accessory?

The COROS watch

Music, podcasts, or nothing at all?

Nothing at all!

Favourite supporting exercise for running?

Calf raises

Favourite running app?

Strava

Describe your ideal rest day in emojis… 3,2,1, go!

☕🚶🥐🐶🧑🍳🛏️

In one word, what motivates you?

Achievements

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Fundraiser of the month - Ryan

“I’m raising money for the Meningitis Research Foundation and for me, raising awareness is equally as important.”

How did you first start fundraising? What was your motivation?

My brother, Graham, passed away from a rare strain of meningitis in 2019, aged 20. Since then, life hasn’t been the same for myself, my family, or  his friends. This is  something that will never make sense. Graham didn’t have any of the usual meningitis symptoms; he was fit, healthy and young. The illness took him within hours.

Why did you choose the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF)?

Since Graham’s death, I’m committed to raising as much money as I can for the Meningitis Research Foundation and for me, raising awareness is equally as important. When you’re at university, you think you’ve got your whole life ahead of you, but meningitis can strike very quickly. I encourage everyone to look up the symptoms of meningitis. It can affect anyone at any time. Being knowledgeable about this killer disease could help save the lives of those close to you.

What support do you get from the Meningitis Research Foundation? 

The MRF are very supportive. They offer  regular fundraiser check-ins, training webinars, a Facebook group for fellow marathon runners and  of course, massage and plenty of food and drinks at the end of the marathon!

What do you get from fundraising?

The key benefit for me personally is raising awareness, so I feel like I’m making a difference. There are also other benefits I’ve found such as meeting other people who have sadly suffered similar loss. I’ve made lots of friends through running and it’s given me the chance to spend time with like-minded people.

For people starting out, what are your top tips?

You don’t have to be a runner to run a marathon. Running events are about bringing people together and doing something positive. The main thing is to enjoy it. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone also gives you a great sense of achievement and is great for building resilience.

What are some of the most memorable ways you’ve raised money for MRF?

The Richmond Half Marathon was the first event I ran in Graham’s honour. Lots of Graham's friends and family ran it too. Most of us had never ran 5k prior to this, but everyone completed it. It was the first time I realised I could use running as a ‘force for good’, and since then I’ve ran in five events on behalf of MRF.

What are your goals for this year?

My personal running goal is aiming for a PB of sub 3hrs 25 in the 2024 TCS London Marathon . I’d better continue with the training!

My ongoing life goal is to raise both money and awareness for the Meningitis Research Foundation. So far we’ve raised over £36,000 in memory of Graham and I will continue to fundraise to defeat meningitis. If I can help raise awareness and it saves another family from going through what my family have been  through, then I will have made a difference.

I think Graham would be really proud of us. My just giving link is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/RyanW2024

Learn more about MRF and how you can get involved here.

Top reasons to sign up for a charity run today

Looking for fresh training motivation? Want to make a difference with your running? Signing up for a charity run may just do the trick.

Looking for fresh training motivation? Want to make a difference with your running? Signing up for a charity run may just do the trick. Other than raising money for a great cause, there are SO many reasons to get involved. Here, we take a look at why you might like to sign up for a charity run. 

Enjoy extra support

Once you’ve signed up for a charity run, you’ll find you get plenty of support from your chosen charity before, during and after the race. Each charity has its own way of supporting runners but fundraising tips, training plans and branded T-shirts are all pretty common. Some charities even offer post-race massages and parties, or waterproofs and extra kit on the day, to make sure unpredictable weather can’t rain on your parade. 

The fun of fundraising 

The joy of charity running can begin long before the start line. If you plan to go the extra mile with your fundraising, what better time to arrange a social event and help spread the word? Whilst pre-run fundraising events aren’t a requirement, they’re the perfect excuse to get creative, get your friends together and get your sponsorship form filled. 

The roar of the crowd

Most charities have designated cheering points where supporters can give you an extra-loud cheer and shout out your name on the way past. They’ll usually direct your friends and family here, too, so they can get a good view. A roar of cheers from family, friends and other supporters will have you feeling like a superhero for the day. 

Make a positive difference

Lacking motivation? Nothing gets you up and running like making a difference to a cause you care about. When you’re on those last few miles and your energy might be flagging, the thought of running for a charity close to your heart will help spur you on to the finish line. This is your moment to give something back. 

Raise awareness

With lots of spectators and even the chance of media coverage, marathons and other running events are the perfect place to spread the word about your chosen charity. Plus, any fundraising efforts in the lead-up to the event provide a precious opportunity to chat to your sponsors about how your charity makes a difference. 

Raise extra money through Gift Aid

If your sponsors are UK tax payers and fill out a few extra details on your sponsorship form,  the charity you’re running for can claim tax relief, which puts even more money into the charity pot. This is known as Gift Aid and makes a huge difference to your fundraising efforts. 

Reach your goals

Training for a charity run will boost your fitness, help you to set and achieve new personal bests and give you motivation to achieve your goals. On those days when you’d rather snuggle back down under the duvet, having your charity at the heart of your training will give you a good reason to get up and achieve great things. 

Socialise and have fun 

You can always count on a charity event to play host to all sorts of weird and wonderful costumes and of course, plenty of fun. They’re also a great opportunity to network with like-minded people and make friends. The positive atmosphere and sense of camaraderie at these events can be addictive.  

The charity runner’s high

There’s the runner’s high and then there’s the charity runner’s high. Can you imagine completing the race and thinking about how all your hard work will help to change lives? Not much can beat that finish-line feeling after a charity run. 

Top Tri Tips

5 beginner tips for getting into triathlon

Triathlete and Hits Radio DJ Hattie Pearson is here to share her best triathlon tips for beginners. From her top hacks for gearing up without it costing a fortune, to keeping motivated and of course, crossing that finish line...

Triathlete and Hits Radio DJ Hattie Pearson is here to share her best triathlon tips for beginners. From her top hacks for gearing up without it costing a fortune, to keeping motivated and of course, crossing that finish line, here’s the lowdown on setting yourself up for triathlon success. Over to you, Hattie. 

1. Set your goal and go smash it!

Choose an event that’s suitable for you and that you think you’ll enjoy. Book something that’s challenging enough that you’ll feel you’re pushing yourself, but nothing too difficult that you’ll end up injured because, where’s the fun in that? Find an event that’s local to you to save on travelling and additional stress. There are hundreds of events nationwide. 

After doing one sprint distance triathlon in 2021, I knew I wanted to up the distance; that’s when I applied to be part of Team Outlaw and got a place to compete in my first ever middle-distance triathlons at Outlaw Half Nottingham and Outlaw Half Holkham. I loved every minute!  

2. Beg/borrow/buy second hand

Triathlon can be — but doesn’t need to be — expensive and very addictive. I’m telling you now, because once you’re in, there’s no looking back! Starting out, you definitely don’t need all the gear. Think of people you could potentially borrow from if you don’t have specific items. There is so much second-hand kit available online too; think of all those now-unwanted lockdown purchases. You could find an absolute steal and save yourself a fortune. I did my first triathlon on a hybrid bike with a rusty chain!

3. Safety first 

Make sure you’re safe! Open water swimming comes with risks, and that’s why it’s always important to do it as part of an organised group. 

In terms of the cycling element, you’ll see bikes that are worth thousands of pounds that look like spaceships, but as long as yours is road worthy and safe, it doesn’t need to be anything special — put a baguette in a basket on the front of your bike if you really want to! Oh yeah, and don’t forget your helmet! You don’t need to spend thousands on a new bike; just hop on the saddle, give it a peddle and see whether you get the bug.

4. Group training FTW

Whether it’s your local park run, your regional triathlon club or some colleagues from work who like riding their bikes at the weekend, try to find others to train with. Triathlon is a solo sport when it comes to race day, but when you’re putting in the hours of training, you want to have fun and making it social makes it less daunting. From joining communities like 10IronWomen and Manchester Triathlon Club, I’ve made friends for life and learned so much from more experienced athletes who are willing to share their tips.

5. Smile for the camera!

Don’t worry about your time or pace on your first time out. You’re a newbie to the sport and there’s no need to put added pressure on yourself to be doing as well as Colin from accounts whose been doing triathlons for 30+ years! Bring supporters along with you. Recruit your friends or family to be there cheering you on and soak up the atmosphere. You’ve put in some hard work and the very least you deserve is a hug at the finish line and a lift home! 

Hattie Pearson is a HITS Radio DJ and an ambassador for Outlaw Triathlon. You can use her discount code  – HATTIEXOL24 – for 5% off your race entry and Outlaw will donate a further 5% to Hattie’s chosen charity, Fund Her Tri.

https://www.instagram.com/hattiepearson/

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