How long have you been a Horsforth Harrier?

I joined the Harriers in October 2016 with much trepidation!  It is something I had thought about doing for several years but not quite had the courage to do it, thinking I wouldn’t be “good enough” for a club setting.  I clearly remember my first night, I came with a friend….we were late, so tagged on to the back of Helen’s group and off we set.  At one of the designated meet-up points I noticed my friend was missing, this caused some panic and after about 20 minutes searching we decided as a group to head back to the club where she was found.  The “run back” instruction had been misinterpreted to “run back to the club”……it was a humorous start to the Harriers but I was made to feel very welcome and I did come back and have enjoyed every minute of it.

I’ve enjoyed the friendships made on the Tuesday night runs and also enjoy the Thursday night training sessions, when I’m able to make it.  Marie and Garth are very encouraging and whilst they are hard sessions there is a great sense of satisfaction on completing them! (Especially the track sessions….!!).

Which training group/s do you normally run with?

I enjoy running with several groups, we are spoilt for choice.  When I first joined that Harriers after a brief stint with Helen I was booted out and moved on to Cath’s group before then getting moved on to Bev H’s group.  Recently, I’ve been running in Cath’s group and am enjoying the winter training sessions, the “chat” and support from the group, they have all made me feel very welcome as I return to running.  The level 2 pleasure of Kenyan Hills was a joy!

As many of you know I have had a lengthy break from regular running during my treatment for breast cancer, which was diagnosed in May 2018 and annoyingly prior to that a torn calf!  Prior to this I was enjoying running in Bev and Martin’s groups and have missed exploring the various local “snickets” around Horsforth.  I also have fond memories of a couple of snow runs, one with Keith at the Chevin and on another occasion running with Nathan to Esholt then up the Billing.  I recently ran and survived with Angus (Martin’s group) and felt a sense of achievement that all is not lost and I can still keep up the pace!   I will hopefully get back to full fitness after the battering of treatment last year.

What are your running goals for the year ahead?

My goals are low key this year….my main aim is to compete in the events I’ve entered and enjoy them.  Last year felt like a year of disappointment and it was sad to miss runs like Northumberland Coastal Run, which I had woken early to try and enter!!  However, on a wet windy day I enjoyed knitting in the car while my husband was sent out on the run!

I’m looking forward to running some 10-mile events such as Eccup 10 / Guy Fawkes 10 and one day I’d love to achieve sub 70 minutes for a 10-mile run.  In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Guiseley Gallop coming up in April. (Editor’s note: Tracy completed this in 53:03).

What is the PB you are most proud of?

I achieved a PB last year at the Vale of York I ran the 10-mile course in 1 hour 13 minutes.  It was a tough run and felt like it went on for more than 10 miles, although not overly hilly there was plenty of slight undulation and the type of course you can see the leaders’ miles ahead!!  I appreciated the jelly baby supply from fellow Horsforth Harrier’s at the 7-mile mark, which spurred me on to the end.  Ironically, this was my last race for 2018 so at least it was a good one!!

With fellow Harrier Becky Lawrence at Vale of York 10 – photo by Philip Bland

What was your first race?

My first race with HH was the Bluebell Trail in May 2017 (see photo at top of this article).  It was also the first time I’d run a 10-mile race.  It was such a scenic route with the challenge of Trooper Lane and I loved the water crossing at the end!  My husband also entered this race and my children (Henry, Edith and Beatrix) were there to support….my family is my main fan club!

What’s your favourite race, and why?

I’m not sure I have a favourite race as there have been many different experiences; however, I really enjoyed the Nationals at Harewood House in February this year.  For me it was about getting out there and running again with the HH vest on.  The day before the race I finished my last radiotherapy treatment and with all my family we “rang the bell”.  So, doing this race was about moving forward.  It was such a beautiful location and I enjoyed witnessing all the top runners, I came middle of the pack of approximately 1000 ladies’ so I was pretty happy with that!  The support on the day was fantastic and I felt like back to being a “real runner” again!

Competing in the Nationals at Harewood House

What is your most memorable experience as a Horsforth Harrier?

For me competing in both the Bradford Millennium Way (BMW) and Leeds Country Way (LCW) in 2017 was both memorable and enjoyable.  It was great getting to know and run with a fellow HH and required team work to get each other through the race.  I ran with Jo Shevlin for BMW (leg 5) and Nidia Guzman for Leeds (leg 2).

With Joanna Shevlin at BMW Relay 2017

Both races had different challenges but part of it was the challenge to “recce” the race.  For LCW my husband and I set off one night after work for the challenge.  We took the mission to get a train to Wakefield and then a taxi to the starting point and off we went with map in hand!  I think it took us several hours to recce getting lost numerous times and included a brief stop in a pub to refuel with a cold lime and soda!!

LCW recce with my husband!

LCW was particularly memorable as we were in the winning team that year despite Nidia and I getting lost at about the 9-mile mark we managed to pull it back, albeit adding an extra mile to our efforts, and find our way home and fortunately didn’t let the team down.

End of LCW with Nidia Guzman

Do you have any favourite motivational running quotes or things that inspire you?

One that sticks in my mind is “Run your own race” by Olympic silver medallist, Roger Black, I sometimes fall foul of not adhering to this quote but it is one that I try to be mindful of and for a long time was stuck to our fridge as motivation.

Complete this sentence: “I run, therefore I am…”

Enjoying some “Me” time!