‘Can you be at my house at 4.45am in your running gear? We’re going on BBC Breakfast in the morning.’ It’s no wonder my running ladies thought this was some sort of Saturday afternoon prank call! I was phoning round to find any of them willing to don their Lycra and run around Salford Quays. BBC Breakfast had invited us to celebrate the amazing achievement of Jessica Ennis-Hill winning her silver medal in the heptathlon, just 13 months after the birth of her son Reggie. Amazingly, four of them said yes. The rest were on holiday in far flung places (as I discovered when I rang them) or had no child care.
Then followed the realisation that I was by no means ‘screen ready’. Out came all the running leggings, skorts, dresses and shorts. Which socks? Which bra? Hair up or down? Oh my goodness, I need to shave my legs! At least the T-shirt was sorted with all of us having a matching club one from the Women’s Running 10k in Liverpool. Thankfully I also had a pair of lovely, clean, new Reebok trainers; the rest are all covered in farm muck which I’m sure would never come off the Breakfast sofa.
Off to Media City we went and were warmly welcomed by the Breakfast team who made us tea and gave us a run down of how the morning would go. We were offered make-up but we declined. We felt natural, sweaty, running mums was a better example to set than running mascara. Mind you I have to admit to slapping on a bit of concealer under my eyes at 4am before I left the house.
We had three slots on breakfast. All of them involved running up and down the specially laid out athletics track on the piazza. Two of them also included interviews so I had to time running back up the track at the exact point I was needed AND pace it so I actually had enough breath to talk. There’s something about knowing people are watching you running that makes you want to go fast!
So much potential for disaster but it all went well.
Mike Bushell was the presenter and he made us feel very relaxed. Jenny Meadows (800m runner) and Katharine Merry (400m runner) were also being interviewed and talked about what an amazing role model Jessica Ennis-Hill is and how incredible her performance in Rio has been.
I got to explain how our group started in the first interview and then about the importance of having women who were good strong positive role models to break many of the myths and taboos surrounding women and exercise. Claire, one of our club also shared her 18 month journey from couch to marathon and how running in a group has helped her.
Iwan Thomas (400m runner) was discussing how well Greg Rutherford had done winning a bronze in the long jump. There were markers (BBCBreakfast coffee mugs) out on the track to show the distance of Greg’s jump – hard to believe that anyone could actually jump THAT far!
We were having a great time chilling on the bean bags and enjoying the whole experience so were super pleased when we were asked if we’d stay on and do a FaceBook live for BBC Get Inspired. More running, more chatting and slightly less nerves by this point! You can watch this clip here https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FBBCGetInspired%2Fvideos%2F1746117462343009%2F&show_text=0&width=400
We lingered for as long as we could having an extended photo shoot before getting back in the car and literally laughing our heads off about what we’d just done.
I was so proud of us all. Remember when we started we wouldn’t even go to the school gate in our kit and ran in private on the school field and now here we were running, squatting and lunging in Lycra on national TV. Hopefully there was somebody watching who might have felt a tiny bit inspired by that and have the courage to go out and give running a go!