She hates hills but her ambition is to run the Canadian Rockies; this week’s spotlight is on the enigma that is Mary McIvor.

How did you get into running and why?

I got into running because I saw a photo of someone I knew that had lost loads of weight because they had started running. I’d tried it a few times over the years but failed miserably. I’d heard about These Girls Can Run and went along to a session one night and that was it. Then I joined the other club (those in blue and white) and although there are some really lovely people there I always felt I was never good enough or fast enough, I felt it was quite competitive, I am not! Then I started a new job and got bullied (in the nicest possible way) by some existing Quakers to transfer over, so I did. I don’t get to club because of the kids (although next year shouldn’t be a problem as they are older) but always feel very welcome at races by fellow Quakers, I also preferred the training schedule, so you can choose what you want to do.

What kept you going when you first started running?

The girls at TGCR we’re just lovely and encouraging so I kept going back. I also found it gave me something to do for me, rather than me doing stuff for the kids all the time (selfish I know!)

How much training do you typically do each week?

Currently I don’t do enough, (but that’s because of the stupid Rona!) I try and get out twice a week for 3 or 4 miles each, then a long run at the weekend. But that will depend if I’m training for something.

Be honest, do you enjoy training?

Do I enjoy training – erm, probably not. I enjoy social running with my besties, but if I feel I have to do it then I lose interest and motivation, but if it’s for a charity or a challenge like a run every day or something I’m more into that than training for a race.

Do you do any other sports or fitness activities?

I like to walk, much to my kid’s displeasure, but generally getting out in nature is my happy place (that and bacon sarnie or a pint after a walk/run) but I don’t do anything else.

Do you manage to fit in any other hobbies?

I’m pretty boring (now), so no, family and friends are what I do in my spare time, although I do like to cook.

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

I’ve only been running a few years. My first proper race was Fountains 10k, or was it Hamsterley?! Whichever, they both had hills, I do not enjoy hills. I loved Fountains though, splodging through all that mud was fantastic!

Great North Run I did, but didn’t really enjoy it, boring route, too many people.
I’ve done Edinburgh half a couple of times, the last 3 miles is soul destroying but the beer and burgers afterwards are always welcome!
I did the Forest of Dean half last year, that was nice (despite the hills)
Snake Lane is another favourite, but I think my most favourite was the Princess challenge I did last year with a few other fabulous Qs. Loved every minute, even though my knee was almost broken by the time I finished!

What’s your current running goal?

I don’t have a current running goal, and I’m ok with that. I managed all the PBs I wanted to get last year so I just run for fun now.

What are your longer term running goals?

Longer term, maybe run a marathon, but I’m not sure I’ve got the patience or the time to train – we will see!

What is your favourite race/distance/terrain?

I love a 10 miler, such a nice distance, but my favourite terrain in defo trail now (even with the hills)

What are your proudest running achievements?

I’m proudest of getting under 30 minutes at parkrun – took me ages, but now I never have to try hard at Darlo again because I’ve done it. (And I hate squirrel hill – see there is a theme with my running!) That and getting a sub 60 at Mermaid. And actually finishing any race, I think everyone should be proud of that, it’s an amazing achievement.

Anything in your running experience you regret?

Erm, no, I don’t think I regret anything, (unless you count running in Brooks to start with).

How many pairs of trainers/ running shoes do you have and do you have a favourite pair?

I have about 7 I think, some old I just can’t part with (because I hoard shoes generally) I run in ON cloudflyer and love them – even if they do collect stones! I do need some decent trails though as the ON trail shoes I have aren’t great for my feet.

What’s your idea of running heaven?

Trails, near the sea, or water of some description with my besties.

What’s your idea of running hell?

Can you guess – Hills!!

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

Not to look at your watch, run by feel.

Any advice to newcomers to running?

Just enjoy it, don’t set yourself too many goals to start with, and you can’t get a PB every time you run.

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

The thought of food afterwards (normally a McDonald’s on the way home!) But if I’m struggling I normally pinpoint something in the distance and say to myself I only need to get there, then find something else further up and so on until I see the finish line.

How do you relax/reward yourself after a race?

Food, drink, hot bath or shower.

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

I would love to run in the Canadian Rockies. I went in my 20s and fell in love with the place, but I wasn’t a runner then, it’s stunning and I’d love to do some trail running over there!