If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you…

Andrea Allen tells us of her running journey and what it has meant to her. Here in her own words.

Like many people, I got into running through the C25K app. I consider myself a very confident person generally, but I must confess when it came to exercise I was out of my comfort zone. C25K Week one was the product of the usual “get fitter, lose weight” mantra which following some serious health issues seemed like the right thing to do.

I couldn’t go outside to start C25K… what if I was spotted?? What if I couldn’t run 60 seconds (to be fair it was a challenge!) the absence of a pair of trainers didn’t help either.. (I’ve posh ones now though) C25K Week 1 began from my lounge, through the dining room (I had learnt by day 2 to move the dining room chair), into the hall, into the study and back again. This might seem totally ridiculous (the sight was fairly amusing in my pyjamas and bare foot) but I did it. By week 2 I had visited a well known retailer for a pair of bargain £15 trainers and I braved outside my front door! Nine weeks later and I ran at Conkers parkrun with my friend Nic.
I foolishly stopped after graduating the C25K. Running stopped..
Having been ill and under hospital care for some time, I was finally discharged from consultant care after 5 years and felt I should do something out of my comfort zone to give something back. The C25K app returned again in 2017. I started back at parkrun at 42:23. I kept going and going, feeling inspired by those around me and the desire to keep achieving a new PB.

Andrea with friend Nic after her first parkrun

I decided 2018 was the year to set my running goals.

  1. Get my parkrun to 35 minutes – as of last month my new PB clocked in at 34:34
  2. Reach 50 parkruns – I’m due to achieve this late October
  3. Participate in some real races – my first ever race was the Virtual Runner LIVE in January and I’ve since participated in other local races. Virtual Runner has also been a part of my next goal with the virtual 10 mile back in March.
  4. To increase my distance to complete a half marathon to raise money for ovarian cancer, to give something back- I completed the Great North Run this year in 3:05:30 raising over a thousand pounds for my charity

My running medals are displayed on a board that says “if it doesn’t challenge, it doesn’t change you”. Every challenge I’ve ever had to face has changed me, more often than not the challenges we face are difficult and unexpected. With running, I’m setting my own challenges, ones I thought I would never be capable of – but I can and I will!

Andrea after completing the Great North Run in 2018.