Alice is quite frankly an awesome human being. Her diminutive size, calm and comforting demeanour hide a warrior of a woman, who at 54 has achieved more in the past few years than most people do in a lifetime.
“I could not resist the chance to go to a beautiful place and just see what I can do.” Says Alice. “I love the experience of a small group where you really get to know people when things become difficult. It brings out the best in people.”
I first met Alice on another test pilot trip back in July this year, when we attempted to run from sea to summit in Spain. The 3 day trip saw us run from sea level up to the summit of Mulachen, the second highest peak in Western Europe. I was struck by Alice’s grit, determination and ability to keep pushing on, despite the intense heat, altitude and her own fears of getting left behind or lost. Alice sums up everything I love about the possibilities that endurance running can give women.
“I have run all my life, but never recognised it as such until quite recently” says Alice. “I started when aged 11, my parents took on a three year old untrained golden retriever. My brother and I were not strong enough to hold her when she walked, so we ended up running with her in wellington boots and parka jackets, which were all the rage in the Seventies! We used to run over the fields for hours holding on desperately to the lead. It was only when someone dropped out of school cross country team that I realised that actually, I could go quite fast.” That’s why dogs are the best, people.
“In the Eighties, I was quite overweight” continues Alice. “Road running was becoming popular and I started to run half marathons which continued for many years. I never ran further than this, and certainly did not have any particular talent for it. However, when I was twenty-eight, my husband died suddenly, and I was offered a place to run The London Marathon. After this I became involved in the local running club as it was very sociable and gave me something to focus on. After a difficult period in my life about five years ago, a conversation with an ultra-runner encouraged me to see if I could go further and I entered my first ultra, January 1st 2015. Since then, I have taken part in thirty- four ultra events.” I’ve always said road running is a gateway drug, and this just goes to prove that theory.
Alice revels in being part of the ultra-running community, and their supportive nature is one of the things that makes her love the sport. “I’m not worried about the Outer Hebrides” says Alice. “My experience of ultra- runners that they tend to be very supportive of each other.”
“I do suffer with anxiety” Alice continues. “I don’t like being on my own and I always feel anxious about losing my way. I want to see how far I can go and whether I can keep going for 5 days.
I am looking forward to meeting new people who share the same positive can do attitude as well.”
“I am definitely not a talented runner. I am an ordinary Mum of three teenagers and I am pretty slow now compared to my thirties, when I could knock out a decent marathon. However, I love just going long. It is the most amazing thing to think that you can run / walk further than a marathon. Running has kept me going through the roughest times in my life. It has been my constant companion. When there was nothing else, I could always go for a run.”
If you’re not a runner and you take one thing away from today let it be those last lines. “Running has kept me going through the roughest times in my life. It has been my constant companion. When there was nothing else, I could always go for a run.” It’s never too late to get up and get out and do something spectacular. Alice – we salute you!
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