I started running in January 2015 after seeing a friend do so well. I joined a beginners group and we went from running for one min to 10k. Suddenly I was a runner! I entered a 10k race and loved it, kept that distance up in my ‘spare’ time, and now I’m preparing to run the London Marathon next month whilst raising funds for Dogs for Good.
The winter training is hard. It seems every time I head out for a run it’s freezing and chucking it down. I joined a women’s fitness camp for strengthening, netball and running. I take my two year old with me to most exercise classes – I have to but she loves joining in. I’ve had to fit running in as and when I can around childcare.
Since Christmas my friend and I have had to up our running distances, so I’ve had to find a childminder for a morning so that I can get out and make sure I run the longer distances. I’m lucky that my friend (the one who inspired me into running) is also running the London marathon, so we have been training together. We’ve definitely kept each other going on some of our longer runs. She has taught me to slow down, and I just keep on chatting away when it gets tough.
Why am I putting myself through this for Dogs for Good? I’m a mum to three young children and I gave up work as a teacher to look after them and help my son, who is autistic. We have attended many different therapies for him and then someone suggested getting a dog. Within a week the difference in Jacob was noticeable – he had a friend. After a hard day at school Jacob always had Sam (our dog) to come home to, a non-judgmental companion.
In September 2015, after a year’s wait, I was on the PAWS Family Dog workshops run by Dogs for Good. I remember sitting in the training room with all of the other eager parents and being told about the possible outcomes that the course to lead to, I started crying. This could be life changing! With our own dog! The course didn’t fail to meet expectations, and even though the dog training has taken longer than expected (due to family needs), the support from the PAWS Family Dog team is always there.
This workshops cost a minimal amount and Dogs for Good provide ongoing support for us, so I decided that I had to give something back. My decision to fundraise happened to coincide with the entries to the London marathon, so I wrote to the charity and I secured a place.
We ran our furthest distance yet this week: 18 miles. I still can’t believe it; I ran continuously for 18 miles! I’ll skirt over the fact that there are quite a few more miles to make it a marathon. We’ll tackle the rest soon. I’ve learnt that this is just as much training for fitness as it is mental ability.
Elizabeth Bull (Marathon runner in training).