I “met” Marina on twitter after she shared a link to my interview with Samantha Gash – and I jumped over to her blog Run Ranger and discovered she’s an events coordinator by day and an ultra marathoner! She has a super positive outlook and I’ve don’t think I’ve seen a photo of her without a massive grin on her face! Here’s some ultra running inspiration for you, thanks Marina!
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a true London girl. I’ve been living here all my life. Im 23 now, still living with my parents and working as an Events Co-ordinator at a creative events agency. I graduated from the University of Manchester with Geography in 2012. I’m an active, young girl seeking for things to always keep me busy!
Things I love that keep me busy include:
- Travelling. I’ve always loved seeing different parts of the world and exploring
- Being in the sun…i love a good tan
- The sea
- Being outdoors
- Seeing friends
- Charity work
- A good manicure and pedicure!
- Shopping (now mostly just for running kit!)
Four words to describe yourself?
What’s your ‘day job’?
I am an events coordinator at a creative events agency called BrandFuel.
What’s your story? How did you start living an active life?
I have always been sporty. I was part of pretty much every school sports team in my school years and carried on to play hockey at university.
In the last year and 4 months I have developed a growing passion for running and everything associated with running – the people you meet, the endorphins you get from running, the places you get to see, the health benefits, the kit… etc.! Before Jan 2013, I think I had run a maximum of 5km on the treadmill at the gym. I first started running in January 2014 when my boss, David Ball set out a challenge/competition for all employees at BrandFuel. In 2012 David ran the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (KAEM) and loved it so much that he wanted to go back again in 2013, but this time also give someone from BrandFuel the opportunity to go with him. Me, being me, put my name forward to enter the competition to run in the Kalahari desert.
For those of you who don’t know, this race is a self-supported, multi-stage race over 250km in the baking hot Kalahari desert where temperatures vary from 40-55 degrees celcius. To win the competition and get a spot in the race, paid for by BrandFuel, you would have to raise £2000 for Hope and Homes for Children (a great charity that BrandFuel has supported for years) and run the London Marathon to prove your physical capabilities. Four people put their name forward…and so the competition began!!!
I got fundraising and raised £2186. The other three competitors, struggled to raise this target. We all ran a marathon. I ran the London Marathon, and out of the four, I ran the slowest – a poor 4:47. A time I am never proud of telling people, but in a way has probably kept me going to always better what I have done so far. Despite the slow time, I was the only one who had raised the money, and rules, are rules, so the place was mine!
It took me a while to fully accept that I was actually going to run the KAEM. I hadn’t fully grasped the whole running things yet- after all, I had only been doing it for 5 months! Never the less, come September, David sat me down and showed me a training plan he had written out for both of us to follow. A training plan for me is SO important. I am a planner and super organised so a plan for me is a long term decision for me to commit to. From that point on, I was 100% going to run in the Kalahari. I still had my doubts. I often doubt myself, but I had nothing to lose, so for me, there was no two ways about it. In October, I ran the KAEM and finished it as the youngest girl ever to have participated. It was the best thing I have ever done. An experience I will never forget and the type of adventure I would like to, and will carry on doing!
What is your next fitness goal?
I am planning on taking part in another 250km multi-stage race at the end of this year. I loved the Kalahari so much that I might have to do it again. I think my goal is to have one big race planned for every year – I’m not sure until when…probably when my body can’t take it any more! I’m also really keen on the Atacama Crossing but there are so many things to consider when booking a race so its not such a black and white decision to make.
Can you share with North of Here readers a few running tips that work for you?
Since I started properly running I have really come to realise it is nearly always mind over matter! I think I can say that from experience. I may not have been running long but I have completely thrown myself in the deep end and managed to get through to the other side still on two feet. What I always do before a race is to imagine myself crossing the finish line – it really helps visualise that moment to make your mind want the visualization to become a reality. I also do this during a race when I’m not feeling at my best.
I have also realised since starting running that you must listen to your body. You have to accept that some days you are going to have bad days and other days you may have great days. Its about learning to work out why on that day your body wasn’t performing its best and if you can’t to just let it go and take the next day as a new day.
What’s your ‘mantra’ – your fitness philosophy?
Don’t give up and always give things a go – even if you fail trying. Its more impressive to say you had to guts to try in the first place!
What would we find in your shopping basket every week?
Lots of fresh veg, salad, socked mackerel, salmon, chicken, fruit and probably some sweets like starburst or haribo.
What is your favourite way to exercise?
With a friend! I always ask my friends if they want to run with me because it helps me enjoy it more and keeps me motivated.
How do you stay motivated?
I like to have a goal to work towards, so i book in a race to train up for. Its quite hard to keep training if you don’t have anything to work towards.
I am also quite body conscious so I think this also keeps me motivated as if I stopped running I would lose a lot of muscle definition and would probably stop burning so much fat.
My next goal is….
I have a lot of goals. Most ultra runners would say MDS because thats the most well known multi-stage race, but having done the Kalahari which is the same technicalities I am not overly fussed. If i did do it, it would only be to be able to say I have done it. There are so many amazing races out there in loads of different parts of the world. A friend of mine i met in the Kalahari said his goal was to do a multi-stage ultra race in every continent of the world. I think this is a great objective and I would also like to say I have done this. It means I will see places all over the world and it doesn’t just end with one final race.
1. Sweet or savoury Sweet!! I have a real sweet tooth :)
2. Music or Reading Reading – although I read more news/articles/blogs than I do books!
3. AM or PM workout PM
4. Your favourite movie Parent Trap
5. Running accessory you can’t live without CWX Stabylx 3/4 length tights (rainbow stitching)
Thanks so much Marina for stopping by! You find Marina on twitter @mranger90