This October, Sue, 73, will be participating in the Run Leicester Festival to not only raise vital funds for LOROS but also to prove that regardless of age, if you set your mind to something, it can always be achievable. This is her story. 

“I moved to Leicester about 40 years ago for a job at the University. I was single and had some free time, so I volunteered to help on Reception at LOROS. I am a great believer in the importance of hospices and, over the years, have continued to donate funds regularly. 

Most of us know someone who has benefitted from the amazing care provided by LOROS, and it is one of the charities that I have consistently fundraised for. 

Despite my age I regularly run three times a week. Running has always been a hugely important part of my life. I like running with others in my weekly running club night, but I am equally happy just putting on my trainers and heading out on my own. There is a great sense of freedom, enjoying the fresh air and a chance to clear the mind. I absolutely love running. It is not always easy; even short runs can be hard sometimes. But the sense of well-being after a run is hard to describe. 

The reason I choose to take part in Run Leicester is because it is a great event for runners with a wonderful community atmosphere and a really important means of fundraising for LOROS. Over the decades, I have run the Leicester Half Marathon many times and seen a number of different courses. It is always very well organized and a great event to take part in. 

During my running career, I have run every distance, including marathons (ran London to mark my 60th and 65th years!), so I have all the PBs I might wish for. These days I get huge satisfaction from encouraging others. Unfortunately, my plans have gone somewhat awry this year. At the end of January, I was admitted to the hospital with a very large kidney stone. I had emergency surgery. Last month, I had yet another operation, and a third (and hopefully final) two weeks ago. During this period, it has not been possible to run. This will mean a break from running of about four months – the longest break for many years. I have been trying to maintain my fitness when health permitted – walking and cycling but thankfully I am on the mend and more determined than ever. 

I am a Run Leader for my club, Scraptoft Joggers. Despite being the oldest member of the club by about 10 years, I’m not the slowest runner. I lead a group of beginners and those returning from injury, etc. I pride myself on encouraging all to believe in themselves, to set targets that are achievable (i.e., small steps), and to push people slightly if they want to be pushed.  

In the past, I have thrown down a challenge to my group, usually at the Christmas party, to encourage them to enter the Leicester Half. That gives them 9 or 10 months to train up. I set a training schedule and put on additional mid-week or weekend runs to help them build up their confidence and extend the length of runs in a way that is safe and minimizes the risk of injury. It is all about pace. 

If you want to sign up for Run Leicester, then do it. A Half Marathon is an achievable distance with training. Older runners usually need to accept that they will be slower than they were in their younger days, but that is no reason not to take part. My PB for a Half was 1 hour 37 about 30 years ago. Nowadays, I would be happy with 2 hours 37. So be realistic; however keen and motivated you are, it is important not to push the body too hard. It is my intention to still be running at the age of 80, and I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be able to do that.” 

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