Author: Tracey McAlpine Category: Fitness, Running

It’s hard to write about running without mentioning, and thinking about the death of Claire Squires at this year’s London Marathon.

30 year old Claire was running to raise money for the Samaritans, when she collapsed and died before the finish line.

Such was the public’s reaction to Claire’s plight, donations reached over £1 million days after the event.

Claire was supporting the Samaritans and running in memory of her brother who died 10 years ago. Our sympathy goes to Claire’s parents who must be devastated and proud in equal measure.

35,000 people of varying ages and levels of fitness take part in the London Marathon each year, all pushing themselves to the limit and often running in memory of a loved one.

How often I’ve heard people say they can’t run.  I used to say the same, hating running at school; I would do anything to avoid physical education. It’s surprising I wasn’t researched by the medical profession for those term long menstrual periods.

In 2007 a close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and following her successful treatment, she asked a group of women to join her in taking part in the Race for Life.

I could hardly ask people to donate money for me to walk the 5K course, so with little knowledge and the Zest Running made easy book, I took to the park.

Packed with easy to absorb steps (no pun intended) and tips to get you started, this book is a running beginner’s bible.

My first few attempts were pitiful, making much work of running a short distance; I also made the cardinal error early on, of not investing in really good running shoes. Concerned that I might not stick to running, so didn’t invest in good running shoes, I ran in basic trainers. Huge mistake, I sprained my ankle weeks into my initial training, which put me back while I waited for the ankle to heal.

After a visit to a special running store I was back on track. Gradually I extended my running distance and time, slowly building stamina. To my amazement I could run and enjoyed it!

Having started the programme in the March, by June I could complete a 5k run. The euphoria I felt the first time I completed a circuit of Regents Park outer circle was beyond my imagination.

Along with the Zest Running book, the Cancer Research Race for Life website has very good training plans and tips. Worth reading before you set out.

 These top tips are worth remembering:

  • Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.  Especially if you have any existing health concerns.
  • Wear suitable running shoes and make sure your feet are well supported.
  • It’s essential to wear a good supportive sports bra.  Less Bounce have a wide range.
  • As a beginner concentrate on increasing the time you walk, jog or run for and build this up gradually.
  • Train with a friend.  The motivation is good and if you are chatting you don’t notice it’s exercise.  Also safer in pairs.
  • Remember to warm up and cool down before and after any exercise.  Taking time to stretch properly will help reduce injury.
  • It’s important to drink before, during and after exercise – don’t wait until you are thristy.
  • Check out Nike+ positive feedback helps motivation, keeps you on track and helps monitor progress.

One of the lasting memories of the day for me was seeing the messages on every runner’s back, a constant reminder that so many people had lost a loved one. Sadly in the future there will be someone running in Claire Squires’ memory, and what a lasting memory that is.


Zest Running Made Easy by Susie Whalley & Lisa Jackson Available from Amazon