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chicago sunrise (1)A look back on a year of exercise in a spirit of celebration and thankfulness. 2017 didn’t quite have the running highs that I was hoping for, with injury and illness scuppering my plans but I ran in some amazing locations, ran to work regularly and I’ve ended the year in training for my next marathon so I feel like I’m getting back on track, although I am much slower than I used to be.

In 2017, I ran 1084 miles with six weeks of no running in the summer due to a dodgy knee. I did one marathon – London – and bailed out of another at 9 miles – Palestine. I ran half marathons at Leith Hill, Fleet and along the Dorset Coast, did a summer league 10k in Battersea, a slow Ealing Mile and Trent Cross Country. I ran in Germany, Palestine, Chicago and the Outer Hebrides. I volunteered at Ealing Half and at parkrun.

I did 32 parkruns, enjoyed 11 new locations – Burgess Park, Black Park, Edinburgh, Forest of Dean, Hampstead Heath, Horsham, Lydney, Skipton, Tring, Wimbledon Common and Crane Park, and did my 100th parkrun in October.

I published my book and got some great publicity. I have loved hearing from people who have found it helpful, and who have been inspired to run. I contributed to Running: Cheaper than Therapy and Like the Wind, and was written about in Run for Your Life magazine.

I no longer travel much for work, so I’ve had fewer opportunities to run in random places around the country. Some runs that stand out:

  • My Norfolk run along the coastal path – from Cromer to Wells-next-the-sea, from there to Thornham, and from Thornham to Sedgeford.  Blustery miles with everything I needed in my backpack, through stunning scenery and staying in cosy B&Bs. Definitely one to try again.
  • The London Marathon for all the wrong reasons. I was undertrained and so started well, but after 17 miles I ended up walking a fair amount and finished in just under 4 hours 20. Still, I have now done London and I loved meeting up with my sister Mandy afterwards and celebrating her fantastic PB.
  • Runs in Scotland on holiday – on North Uist, Scalpay, in Applecross and Ardnamurchan.
  • Endurancelife Dorset Coastal Half at the beginning of December – ridiculously hilly and almost impossible to prepare for when you live in London, but great fun and such a sense of achievement afterwards.
  • Early morning Chicago run, the day after the marathon which I’d had to withdraw from. An amazing sunrise over the lake and an opportunity to celebrate two years post surgery.
  • A run in the dark along the canal in Nottingham, which was just the right side of scary.

I did more cycling this year – 1178 miles, not including trips to the shops which aren’t worth recording. We did our traditional May bank holiday ride with Amos Trust, this time to Wales, from Chepstow to Cardiff, through the Brecon Beacons with a stop at Penderyn distillery. We took our bikes up to Scotland on holiday in the summer, and cycled in the Outer Hebrides on North Uist, Benbecula, Berneray, Harris and Scalpay.

And because I hurt my knee, I got back into swimming, clocking up 31km in the second half of the year. I did the Thames Turbo sprint triathlon in August – my first in a pool – and did the mile swim at Swim Serpentine in September.

Next year, I have lots of events that I would like to do, which I’ll approach one at a time! I’m back in Palestine for the marathon in March and would like to use my deferred Chicago place next October. I want to keep up my cycling and swimming as that feels more balanced, but most of all I want to keep running for the joy of it.

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