I ran a lot in my teens and early 20s and really enjoyed it. I was never a particularly fast runner, but I still thought I was pretty decent. Like many people, distractions in my late teens and early 20s when I attended University and moved out of the family home, meant that the running fell by the wayside.
Into my late 20s, early 30s, I got married, had 2 great children, undertook a pretty stressful job (including running my own business for a while) as well as completing an MBA in early 2010! As my MBA finished and the kids became less of a handful, I decided to use some of my new found spare time to get back to the gym. I was pretty dedicated to this (as many people who know me can testify, when I get an idea in my head I go all out to achieve it) and really enjoyed running on the treadmill.
I participated in a number of sporting events during this time such as The Rob Roy Challenge, Edinburgh to St Andrews cycle ride and Tough Mudder, which all led to a marked increase in my general fitness. This evidently led me to return to running outside, usually while I was waiting to pick up one of the kids from the numerous clubs they were attending. I found I was hooked on he endorphin rush and just loved running outside. I ran numerous Great Scottish and Great North runs as well as a number of Edinburgh ½ marathons and 10-mile races. This was around 2013 and while I was enjoying running, I felt I was stuck in a rut, my performances had started to plateau, tipping under 2 hours for the Glasgow ½ in 2012! I needed to ‘up my game’ so thought about joining a running club.
I did my research and liked the look of Carnegie Harriers, as they were local, and I had seen many CH runners out and about in Dunfermline over the years. The question that kept popping into my head was “am I good enough to join a club like Carnegie!?” After many false dawns I decided to head down to Pitreavie and join a session, but no one was there, so I left disappointed ☹. Many weeks passed before I decided to try again, heading along to a training session at The Glen with trepidation, I needn’t have worried!! The Harriers were there, where I was made to feel very welcome. As that first session progressed I really started to tire, but never really felt out of place alongside the other runners. I joined as soon as I got home, and the rest is history!!
Since joining Carnegie in 2014, I have run all over the world in the green and gold vest achieving PBs at ever race level from 1 mile to ultra. For example, my ½ marathon PB has gone from 1:57 to 1:32 in 2 years! I have even started to really enjoy cross country and hill running, which I never thought I would. My fitness has improved immeasurably, and I am completely hooked on running to the point that I run commute to work almost every day and get grumpy if I cannot get out for a run (just ask my wife!). I regularly attend club training and represent the club in races at every opportunity. I am also very active on the social side of club, and help at club races when I can. I have discovered many new running routes in my local area and love the freedom running gives me to just get out an explore (usually before most mere mortals are out of bed ????).
Since joining CH, I have picked up a lot of knowledge from experienced members, made numerous great friends, started to understand how the club works, joined the committee and have been President for the last 18 months. It's great seeing the commitment that the committee put into the running of the club and it's great to be part of that.
I still have many, many racing goals to achieve, including completing in more ultras and hill races!!!, and look forward to many great years of continued running and racing with Carnegie Harriers.
I thoroughly enjoyed the more structured approach to training and the camaraderie of the club. Since joining in 2004, I have run around 2 dozen marathons and a similar amount of ultras in the UK and overseas. My proudest marathon achievement was qualifying to run the Boston marathon in 2007 and my longest event was a 104 mile event, the Heart of Scotland (Dunkeld centred) in 2010. I’ve also supported club mates in their ultra endeavours and have pitched in to support others running in Scottish ultra vest.
Over the last few years, I have been very involved in volunteering at senior levels in Girlguiding which has impacted on my time to train. I’ve managed to keep things ticking over (just) and was pleased to complete a goal I set myself of having run in every Scottish county by the time I finished my term as Scottish Chief Commissioner.
My time of volunteering at a senior level in Girlguiding is behind me now, though I’m still a brownie leader and I’m enjoying having more freedom to train regularly. My goal for the next couple of years is to regain lost fitness and then complete the St Cuthbert’s Way race and the River Ayr race as I have unfinished business with them.
The running photos come from my last race (apart from The Festive Forest) in Carcassonne in October 2017
It was a short loop, just under 5k, and it took me a few times before I was able to get round it without walking for some of it. This was a totally different proposition to running in short bursts for football. But I persevered. I found out about the local Parkrun (thanks Neil), so ran my first of those in July 2016. I was then persuaded/badgered/convinced to sign up for the Kirkintilloch 12.5k in Feb 2017 (thanks, Neil). It was a marked step up in distance, but did it anyway. Met a few Harriers that day, and decided to sign up for the Club that evening (thanks, Neil). By the end of the week, I’d been to my 1st training session and had signed up for the Alloa Half (thanks again, Neil). In 2018, I ran my 1st marathon, comfortably inside my 4 hour target.
My only regret is that I never did this sooner. I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Club. I try to get to training as often as I can, as it has made such a difference to my running. I really enjoy doing the different sessions and learning about the benefits of each type of activity. Joining the Committee as Treasurer, provides me with the opportunity to help out and to put something back into the Club.
Because you get out of it what you put into it”
My background in sport was playing canoe polo, not the sport you really need runners legs for. I had only ever run for a bit of fitness once a week when working as a fitness instructor but after changing jobs and having to retire from polo through injury, I decided to see what I could achieve through running. After doing various Spartan races and 3 half marathons (badly) I decided I needed some structure to my training.
A good friend of mine mentioned joining the “Harriers” as this would give me the structure I was looking for in my training. The first thing I asked was, am I good enough? Well the first session with the club certainly answered that quickly. I was made to feel welcome and at no point did I feel like I was too slow or not good enough.
Ever since that first session I have noticed an improvement in my running. I have also tried things that I would normally avoid at all costs like running in the Devils Burden Relay hill race, normally I keep away from things that go up the way however I will be back. I have also completed my first marathon, again something I was positive I would never do.
It’s not all about running though I have also had the pleasure of supporting a member complete the West Highland Way race. The support of the club and fellow members has even spurred me on to compete in the UK Ironman having completed the 70.3 last year in Edinburgh.
Joining the club was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I’ve made lifelong friendships and have seen my running improve. I look forward to what the next 12 months will bring. As a committee member I hope to help continue the good work the committee ls doing and support both the rest of the committee and the club members in achieving the best for them and the club.
In my day job I work in accountancy and as Treasurer I'm glad to be able to use my experience and give something back to club.
I arrived back in Scotland right at the start of lockdown which was actually a great thing for my running. I went out as much as I could and loved finding new, local routes that I had never tried before. A colleague mentioned that they had joined the Carnegie Harriers and encouraged me to give it a go. It was definitely the best thing I have done for my running and fitness. Being able to train twice a week with likeminded people is fantastic and I have noticed a huge improvement in my running. Having not competed at all before 2020, I have since run ultra-marathons, 5ks and all the other distances in between. I definitely would not have been in this position without encouragement and support from the club.
In my role as Women’s Captain, I am keen to ensure the club is as accessible and supportive as possible to our female members. Running has given me so much confidence and I would love to help others get the same out of their running.
The first session I attended in August 2018 was a hill session in the public park and while it was challenging, it was great to be running with other people and to be taking part in a targeted training session. Everyone was so friendly and it was great to be flexible with training and attend sessions when I could with no obligation to go every week.
Since joining Carnegie I have completed my first marathon (Stirling) and two Ultras (Glen Ogle & Falkirk 8 Hour). I have made some new friendships through the club and it is great to know people who share my enjoyment of running. I love running as you can fit it in at any time and in any weather, and I enjoy having the social aspect too at training, parkrun, social runs and travelling to races with other members. The club and running has given me so much and I’m looking forward to continuing the work of the committee while supporting and promoting the great work of the club and its members.
From my first session I realised I had made the right decision and have never looked back. I am still nearer to the back of the pack than the front, and I don’t think that’ll ever change, but I have come on leaps and bounds. My PBs across all distances have improved and I have just completed my first marathon which wouldn’t have been possible without the training the club offers and more importantly the support. The wealth of knowledge and experience amongst the club is an asset to anyone looking to improve or learn about different races and disciplines. I wish I had joined sooner!
I joined Carnegie Harriers in 2016 in order to be inspired by others, and to feel part of a team. I wanted to find out the benefits of how structured training influenced my running. The proof is in the pudding in that all aspects of training including speed sessions, and for me, the dreaded hill sessions really do make you a better runner.
After a short break to have a baby in 2018, I couldn’t have been happier in returning to such a friendly and supportive club. I felt like I had started all over again but great camaraderie meant I wanted to go to training and before I knew it, within a year, I achieved PBs at all distances…and even ran my first ultramarathon!
Apart from school athletics and cross country, I've been running for around 30 years. I'd started cycling to work in Stirling in the early 1990’s with a colleague from Saline and was asked to take part in a charity duathlon. On my first trial training run round the village park, I couldn't manage more than 500 metres without stopping so I realised I needed to up my game.
From that time, I built up my distances and completed a few 5 and 10 kilometre races and a couple of half marathons before being encouraged by George to go along to the Harriers for the first time. Although I only went along two or three times in 2002, it gave me a flavour for the basic training
structures as well as the support and social side that Carnegie Harriers offered and I joined as a full member in 2008 once I was working back in the central belt.
The Harriers offer excellent and varied, twice weekly training and encourage a healthy degree of competition between members which is a great motivator to push yourself on. Age- Graded prizes and UK league tables also help keep motivation high as you get older.
I've tried nearly all distances and combinations of running/ tri/ cycling/ duathlon/ ultras etc over the years. As I am now over 60, I'm probably more comfortable competing in shorter races i.e. 1 mile/ 5 km/ 10 km although I've also completed a few half marathons again recently.
Like many Harriers, race addiction is an ever present and I will average around 50 races/events (including parkruns) each year. Speaking of parkruns, I did my first parkrun in October 2009 at Edinburgh and have now completed over 350.
I've recently retired from a career with Scottish Water and so have volunteered my services as a trustee on the Harriers’ board.
I am also a keen golfer and am a member at Saline and also Lundin Golf Clubs. I serve on the committee of Saline Golf Club too.
When I'm not running or golfing, I play trombone and euphonium in some local bands and orchestras. I also have an interest in motoring.
Through the club I have made a lot of very good friends and had some great experiences, which would not have happened otherwise. My closest friends in the club are ultra-runners and as a result of supporting them in their long-distance adventures, since 2009 I have been privileged to have been asked to support some of the best Scottish and UK ultra-athletes in national and international competitions (100k and 24-hour races) in both the UK and Europe.
I have over 10 years’ previous service on the committee, including 3 years as Treasurer, 4 as Club President and, most recently, almost 4 years as Club Secretary.. I have had a key role in organising many club races, most particularly the Graham Clark Memorial Races and Devilla Forest Races.
I am also a qualified Jog Leader, and was involved in setting up the first Jog Scotland groups in Dunfermline and Dalgety Bay.