15th December 2015

The inspiring Katie Holmes from RunYoung50!

image12 half marathons in 12 months…. Katie Holmes

I am thrilled to introduce you to Katie Holmes, founder of RunYoung50 and a friend I have made via Twitter. Katie recently completed her goal of running 12 half marathons in 12 months! She very kindly took time to answer our HealthyHappy50 interview and share her story with us:
Which sport do you enjoy?
I love running!
Have you always been sporty or is this new to you?
I wasn’t any good at sports at school but I’ve always done things to keep fit as an adult. In the 30 years since I left school this has included swimming, aikido (a Japanese martial art) which I practised for several years, hill walking and fitness classes. More recently I had ice skating lessons for a year.
What motivated you to start running?
I started running in 2011 at the age of 47. The reason was to run a leg in the Robin Hood Marathon relay for a charity where I volunteered. I never thought I would be a runner. Whenever I had tried running when I was younger I had found it too difficult. This time I taught myself to run by alternating running and walking and practising my breathing until I got to the point where I could run short distances without having to stop to walk. My first race was a 5k in April 2011.

 

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How often do you run and do you do it alone or part of a team?
I do most of my training on my own. I am also a member of a running club (Holme Pierrepont Running Club) and I sometimes go along to club sessions. I especially like our track intervals sessions which are a great way to improve speed. I feel proud to wear my club shirt at races.
I race once or twice a month. I’m also a regular at my local parkrun.
I usually run 3 or 4 times a week. I try to do something active every day, even if only for 20 or 30 minutes. I find that if I don’t get daily exercise of some kind I tend to feel restless.
How do you feel when you are running?
I enjoy the freedom of being outside and discovering new routes. I feel as fit as I ever have and I feel strong and that is great.
How has running enhanced your life?
Running has given me a new confidence in my physical ability. It has also led me down lots of interesting avenues. I edit the monthly newsletter for my running club and also run Improvers’ Groups at the club (a 5k to 10k course), which is very rewarding. In 2014 I started my blog, RunYoung50, with the aim of finding out more about the experiences of older women runners in the UK. Through this I have made enriching connections with women runners, and other sportswomen, in the UK, USA and Australia, as well as with writers and academics.

 

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What are your biggest motivations?
My biggest motivation is setting myself new challenges. I set myself a few every year. I’m still getting faster and want to see how much faster I can get. In 2014 I set myself a big challenge which was to run 12 half marathons in 12 months, starting in September. I completed it in August 2015.
What are your biggest obstacles? Ie time, family, health or lack of motivation perhaps?
I am lucky to be self-employed as this gives me a lot of flexibility about when I run. Since I finished my half marathon challenge my motivation has dipped a bit so I’ve been going to the gym more and running less. Going to parkrun always motivates me. I love my local parkrun at Colwick because it is such a friendly community of runners and walkers. I always find someone new to chat to and it’s great to meet friends there too. I’m looking forward to doing my 100th parkrun there in January 2016.

 

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Who inspires you?
My sister Judith started running a few years before me and she has been a huge source of advice, encouragement and support. My Dad has set a good example as he is still very fit in his eighties. I really admire the women runners in their sixties and seventies in my running club who compete in races. I hope that I will be able to follow in their footsteps.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I’m not sure what my biggest achievement is, but I’m very proud to have won three County medals in my age category (45-54), for 10k in 2013 and for 10k and 10 miles in 2014.
What are your goals?
My main goal is to keep running into older age and to stay healthy if I can. My sister and I have a theory that if only we can keep running long enough one of us may eventually come first in our age category at an event!

 

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If someone was interested in taking up running, what practical tips would you suggest?
It can be a good idea to ask a friend to join you so that you can support and encourage each other. Look for a beginners’ running group near you. The Run England website (http://www.runengland.org/) has a directory of local groups. There are also some women-only running groups and clubs.
Have a look to see if there’s a parkrun near you (http://www.parkrun.com). There are parkruns across the UK and in 10 other countries. They are free, weekly, timed 5k runs in country parks. parkruns are not races and it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are so they are great for beginners.
Start off with a run/walk programme that works for you. Start off slowly and build up gradually. Build up your core strength as this will support your running and make you less likely to get injured. You can build your core strength by doing other fitness activities such as yoga, Pilates or going to the gym.
It’s worth buying a pair of running shoes from a specialist running shop as they can give you advice on the best type of shoe for your running style.
Set yourself a goal to work towards and celebrate your achievements.

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What would you tell your 20 year old self?
Think about what you want to happen in your future and nurture the relationships and friendships that will help you to achieve this.
Background
I’m in my fifties and live in Nottingham. I started my blog RunYoung50 in 2014 because I wanted to find out more about the experiences of older women runners in the UK. Since starting my blog I’ve become interested in the history of women’s endurance running and have written quite a lot about this. I plan to interview women runners over 50 about their running stories. As more and more women are taking up running I believe this is a great time to highlight the stories of older women athletes and to learn from their experiences.
How can we follow your blogging and running adventures Katie?
Here are my details:
Blog: ​​www.runyoung50.co.uk
Twitter:​​@RunYoung50
Facebook: ​Run Young Over 50s

Thank you so much Katie! You have shared some really brilliant tips and congratulations on your 12 half marathons in 12 months and County Medals! I am sure our readers will find both inspiration and very useful information within your story.
We wish you all the best with the continued success of RunYoung50 and look forward to finding out more about women runners in the UK and internationally,
Jo x

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{All photos courtesy of & copyright to Katie Holmes}

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