Monthly Member Spotlight July – Sharon Carr

by | Jul 6, 2024 | Member Spotlights, News

 

Welcome to the July edition of Quakers Member Spotlight, this month, we hear from our very own newly qualified LiRF, Sharon CARR. Sharon has been a role model for most of our current beginners group… some of whom have already run a Parkrun 5K!……. Over to you Nannie Sharon! (You’ll understand later in Sharon’s story!)

 

1. How did you get into running and why? 

My running journey has been in three parts really, well maybe a lot more if I’m honest, but I’ll just focus on the three parts.

I entered the Race for Life about 15 years ago and during the event I got talking to a lady who enjoyed running, we became friends, and she introduced me to running on a regular basis. I ran with her for about 5 years, we had some great times and I ran a lot of firsts with her..my first parkrun, 10k and half-marathon. I then met Marc and he encouraged me to join Quakers, he had not long been a member himself. I gave it a go and really enjoyed it, although I didn’t really venture much away from Chris’s 12 minute mile group.

In 2015, I changed career, became a full time student and worked part time around my studies, and as a result my running ended up taking a back seat, a very back seat….I dipped in and out of the club for the next 8 years, I just wasn’t consistent, and each time I went back to the club I was heavier so found running more difficult, then I would look for excuses or reasons why I couldn’t go.

In April 2023, I went back to basics. I had started to lose weight and feel better about myself; I knew that over the previous year, I had hit rock bottom, but now I was determined to start over and not give up.

2. What kept you going when you first started running?

My friend kept me going, we used to have the best times, lots of giggling and putting the world to rights. Then we started parkrun, we used to do Albert Park without fail every week, so parkrun is what kept me going, it helped me to get out for a few miles during the week as I started to become competitive trying to beat my previous week’s time.

3.How much training do you typically do each week? 

Gosh, not as much as I probably should do….it varies between 15 and 20 miles a week, but if I am training for a half marathon then it would be around 25-30 miles a week.

4.Be honest, do you enjoy training?

Now…yes, I really do, I enjoy pushing myself as I know that I am making progress. I love how it clears my head at the end of a stressful day at work. I love going out for a run with Marc, this would never have happened previously. Training is no longer a chore for me, it’s something I look forward to.

5. Do you do any other sports or fitness activities? 

I am currently working with a personal trainer and enjoy my strength workouts in the gym.

6. Do you manage to fit in any other hobbies?

I love a little trip away…. For those who know me, know I love a girls week end, or week end away with Marc, however I have recently become a Nannie so my granddaughter is definitely my new hobby.

7. Tell us about some of the races that you’ve done in the past. 

Considering I have such a patchy running history, I have completed some fantastic events. I think a lot of those have been down to living with a runner who is the most encouraging person ever!

In the early days, me, my friend and a group of friends we met from Albert Park Parkrun completed a “7 Parkruns in a day challenge” for MS. It was a fabulous day, but I could not walk by the end of it, I had never in my life walked 21 miles in a day never mind ran 21 miles, even with a car journey break travelling between Parkruns.

I have completed a good selection of 5k and 10k’s as far afield as the Cayman Islands and Lanzarote and half marathons, including GNR, Liverpool R&R, Middlesbrough, Eindhoven, Amsterdam and LLHM. I have also been lucky enough to complete London Marathon, which was incredible!

8. What’s your current running goal?

To complete as many 10k’s in the league as I can, I have never joined the 10k league before, so the points and jokers are all new to me, but I am enjoying the healthy competition.

To keep making progress and to start breaking PB’s.

9. What are your longerterm running goals? 

To become fitter, stronger and quicker. I might even consider another marathon.

10. What is your favourite race/distance/terrain? 

I think I would have to say 10k and whilst the smaller village races are all very undulating, the scenery is just stunning and the actual events are just fantastic….I never thought I would ever say my favourite race is a hilly rural event with a good mix of terrain.

11. What are your proudest running achievements? 

London Marathon and Amsterdam half for very different reasons…

In 2016 I entered the ballot for the first time ever and secured a place…. I almost passed out when I got the news, I panicked and asked Marc what I was going to do about it….he told me I was going to train and train hard.

And that’s exactly what I did, I trained on my own during the winter months, I cried during some of those long runs in rain, hail and snow. Marc mentally prepared me for hitting the wall on the day, so by the time April came, I felt ready to give it my best shot.  Don’t get my wrong, I completed it in super slow time, but that didn’t matter in the slightest, this was all about my own personal achievement and I had just finished London Marathon, it was such an incredible feeling and a day I will never ever forget.

On 8th March 23, I weighed 21 stones and 9th March 23 I had weight loss surgery. At the end of March 23, I was told I have a heart condition, and that if I hadn’t had weight loss surgery, my weight and blood pressure would have resulted in me having a massive heart attack or stroke.  In April 23, I went back to basics and joined the beginner’s group. In October 23, I completed Amsterdam half getting an all-time PB, it was another incredible day!

12. Anything in your running experience you regret? 

The amount of times I dipped in and out of running.

13. How many pairs of trainers/ running shoes do you currently own, and do you have a favourite pair? 

I currently have 5 pairs: 3 road, 1 trail, and my newest pair, which are a mix of road and trail.

I love my latest ones, they are Asics Novablast 4.

14. What’s your idea of running heaven? 

Good weather conditions, nice scenery, and a good downhill finish.

15. What’s your idea of running hell? 

Richmond cross country a few years ago…the weather was brutal, I cried I was so cold. Those who were there that day, will remember it well!.

16. What is the best piece of running advice you’ve ever been given? 

Your legs will do anything you need them to….. its your mind you have to convince.

17. Any advice to newcomers to running?

Have confidence in yourself, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, work at your own pace, and do what you can, but most importantly keep turning up. You will be surprised where you’ll be in 6 months’ time.

18. What keeps you going when the going gets tough in a hard race?

Thinking of how much progress I have made this past year, thinking of how proud I am of myself, and if it’s a 10k league race, thinking about the points.

19. How do you relax/reward yourself after a race? 

With a nice cuppa and a cake, which always tastes better after a race. 

20. If you could run anywhere in the world, where would it be?

If I had the opportunity, I would love to run New York or Boston Marathon.  

21. As the club newest qualified LiRF, what made you become a LiRF and how have you any advice for someone thinking of becoming a coach? 

I wanted to become a LIRF to give something back to the club, as a thanks for never giving up on me over the years, for always making me feel welcome even though for a long time it was only once or twice a year on a Tuesday or Thursday night that I would make an appearance.

Once I was in a better place myself and I had graduated the beginners group in June 23, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to support the next beginners group…and here we are!

I absolutely love seeing the group progress, going from strength to strength each week, building friendships and supporting each other, I am honestly so proud of everyone single one of them and cannot wait to see them all graduate at parkrun.

I am now really looking forward to becoming more involved as a LIRF supporting with club sessions and steady runs.

And for anyone else thinking of becoming a LIRF, I would really recommend it, it is such a rewarding role, there’s nothing better than supporting and encouraging members.

Thank you so much to Sharon for taking us through her journey over the last few years and I hope everyone agrees that this has been a fantastic journey!

For me, this has been one spotlight I have been wanting to try and get for a  while…… Sharon has been a fantastic role model and coach for the beginners group and I hope you agree that this is exactly what this club is about…….

Hard work, encouragement and supporting our fellow members, but most of all ENJOYMENT! 

After reading this one….. I’m proud to be a QUAKER!!

As usual if anyone fancies taking part, then just give me a shout on my email

Welfare.male@quakersrunningclub.org.uk

Bri.