Meet the Team – Sarah

Here’s the team, in our lycra together for the first time, running the Rising Sun Park Run on 4 May. We all made it round, so that’s a good sign… And now it’s time to find out a bit more about us. There will be posts every few days which we hope will enlighten you.

Sarah is running the anchor leg on our marathon – as our Vicar she’s taking one for the team and getting the glory. But who is she and what is running to her?

What’s your running history? I ran at school. I was third in the Leicester City Schools 1500m – of 3 runners, but still, I was picked! I loved cross country and middle distance, and as a swotty, speccy kid it was great to have something not swotty and speccy to be good at. But I stopped after school.

In 2010 my children were doing the Mini Great North Run and walking back from it, one of them said you should do this, Mum, so I signed up and loved it. I loved everything, the training, the event, everything. I was back as a runner – the kind who doesn’t put Mo Farah in any danger.

I did a lot of Parkruns in Newcastle and got to know people that way, and then the Great North Run itself was fantastic. I did my first one for Christian Aid, who I was working for, all the children did the Mini and Alun (my husband) did the 5k, and we ended up being filmed by the BBC as an example of how the GNR includes everyone.

I did the GNR most years until I started ordination training and with a job, a family and training there just wasn’t the time any more. But I missed it. I used to do my sermon thinking while running and made lots of friends, and I missed looking forward to the event itself. Runners, contrary to popular opinion, are not judgemental. Parkrun epitomises that – there is always a volunteer at every race who promises to come last, so no one is left behind.

I’ve done trails in the Lakes, which is wonderful and fantastic and really hard; a half marathon in Cambridge with friends, a 10k in Bournemouth. I’ve run all over the country and met people and made friends.

What was your best run? I LOVE the Great North Run. After the first one I said I’d never do it again but it’s like childbirth, you forget the bad bits. Driving around the roads I’d run on I’d remember things that happened and the atmosphere and want to do it again. I got a shout-out from Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson! I was at a roundabout and she name checked me and I thought how does she know who I am until I remembered my name was on my number.

The prettiest run I’ve done was Stavely in the Lake District. You go up out of the village onto the tops and it’s hard but the views and the sense of triumph are ace.

What are the barriers to you running? One barrier now is being so recognisable as the vicar – but I feel strongly about running from home rather than driving somewhere to run, because of the environment.

TIME. It takes more time than you think. By the time you’ve changed and then showered afterwards, a ½ hour run takes a good hour. It is time well spent because you have more energy for the other things in life, but it’s hard to remember that sometimes, and hard just to fit it in.

Being large makes movement less pleasant – but I know that will get better with regular running.

Remembering that I like it. I have a natural affinity with it, and remembering that is not always easy. You can always think of reasons not to do this particular run.

What does running give you? Los of them dolphins. Mental space. My life is busy and not being contactable for a bit is good. Time for podcasts and audiobooks. Fitness

How has running changed you? I’ve made loads of friends all over the country, which is special. Friends who aren’t clergy and aren’t in the parish, and it’s really important to have some of those because parish life can be all-consuming. A sense of achievement that I can do it. There’s a voice inside me saying: ‘not bad for an old fat lass.’ Running puts the negative talk in my head in its box. It’s amazing what our bodies can do if we give them a chance. I would never have thought I could run for over 13 miles non stop.

Where is God when you run? Waiting for me. I’ve had some of my best sermon thoughts when I run. Cheering me on. Laughing at me