Your Stories

Karmen's
Story

I’ve met amazing people at races & Parkrun over the years, made friends and travelled the UK and parts of Europe. 

I remember being 20 years old, just making the bus from Solihull to Birmingham for work, being totally out of breath and thinking, if I am like this now what will I be like when I am 40.  So, I started running. I was so proud when, at 40, I was so fast and fit. At 50 I’m proud to be out there still.  I might have little niggles now, but my chiropractor soon gets me back out there.

The great thing about running is that you just throw on your trainers, get out the door and you’re off.  No worrying about being somewhere on time or anything.

During Covid-19 I’ve been able to get into the local woods during my lunch hours. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to see a muntjac which was such a special moment.

When I was at school, I was always the last person to be picked when teams were being picked. You know, the person that no-one wanted because they were so rubbish. The dregs at the bottom of the cup. After I left college, I was running for a bus to go to work.  I was about 20 years old and I just about made it. But I was totally out of breath.  I remember thinking, if I am like this now, what will I be like at 40.

On the way out the door to go nightclubbing, I told my parents if I was up early, not to worry I was going for a run.  One week my Dad laughed and said, “You say that every week, but you never go”.  Right, I thought. The next morning, up I was. When Dad asked where I was going, I said, off running.  This was the time when you ran with Rattle & Hum in your tape cassette machine – remember those?

I almost died I was so puffed out and I only did about 5k. But I still thought, this isn’t good.  I’ve got to get fitter. So, I kept going.

I moved to London and my boyfriend suggested we both put in for the London Marathon.  Amazingly we both got places and he said he’d come within 2 hours of my time.  Someone said, if you do a 4 hour marathon, most people do it in 6 hours. I’d been duped. I trained like mad and got myself a subscription at the YMCA Health Club at Tottenham Court Road. One night I was like Bridget Jones when I got off the bike & dropped to the floor. However, I made it to the start line and did my first marathon in 3 hr33 mins. My boyfriend however got injured and didn’t start.

I found I loved going for a run (it’s a form of meditation when you get to a fitness level where you aren’t totally puffed out) and that I wasn’t too bad at it.

Running has seen me through all the bad times in my life; like a best mate. It’s seen me through the deaths of my Father & Gran 3 months apart in 2012. It took my running coach a while to get me back running after that as I’d run to earn respect from my Dad. I never knew I’d already earned it until his friends told me at his funeral.

I’ve met amazing people at races & Parkrun over the years, made friends and travelled the UK and parts of Europe.  Even had cycling holidays in Tanzania and from Vietnam, through Cambodia finishing in Thailand. So where did I get?  From being the kid that no-one wanted in their team, I’ve made it to qualifying to race for Queen & Country in duathlon (age and gender only; I’m no Olympian) but it was still a special moment wearing Team GB kit with ‘Pardoe’ on it in Spain cycling on a bike my Dad bought me before he died. That’s not too shabby is it?