It’s been a long and eventful journey to where I am now. Thirteen years ago I would never have imagined that my bio would contain any of what is in it! Author, international speaker, running expert – I never would have believed it. It just goes to show that if you work hard, love what you do and be a bit fearless, life can take you to amazing places.
I qualified as a doctor in 1996 and became a GP in 2002. After 16 years in General Practice I decided to hang up my stethoscope and use my medical knowledge in a different way. I want to tell you why.
I took up running when I had three pre-school children. I just wanted to feel better about myself, get fit and have some time out of the house. I didn’t expect it to take me anywhere, other than a few miles round the village. I was unsure, full of dread and really a bit embarrassed but I decided to have a go. Running did its magical thing. It changed me. Once I experienced the incredible effects that it had on my own physical and mental health, I knew I had to share it with others. This was a powerful medicine!
I began by helping some of the other women in my village to start running. This just confirmed to me how powerful running was as a tool to change your life. It also gave me an insight into the problems people face when they both start and continue running. Running isn’t always easy. Over the years I’ve seen people struggle to jump over the hurdles in their way and others hit brick walls in their running journeys.
I became the resident health expert for Women’s Running magazine, writing features and answering readers’ questions. This then expanded to other magazines and websites followed by a book deal! Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health was published by Bloomsbury in 2017.
I worked for three years for Public Health England as the Lead Champion for Physical Activity in the North West of England talking to other heath care professionals about the benefits of exercise and how to share it with their patients.
My personal running took off and with many marathons under my belt I knew that running had become an intrinsic part of who I was and something that enabled me to live my life to the full.
Somewhere amongst this I got invited to play a role in developing the 261 Fearless global women’s running network. I trained as a Master Coach and took over the women’s health part of the training curriculum. I then co-founded 261 Fearless Club UK (a Community Interest Company) which houses all the 261 Clubs in the UK. I continue in these roles as well as volunteering as a coach in 261 Club Lancaster every week.
My side-hustles had grown so large and I’d become increasingly frustrated by the restrictions of my consulting room, prescription pad and time pressures. Something had to give. I took the step to leave clinical practice and spend all my time helping people to run but importantly, helping them to overcome the things that stop them running. Running throws up so many health questions that you didn’t even know were issues before you started hitting the road regularly. I could use my medical knowledge and running experience to serve others – perfect!
People have frequently told me that I have a gift for explaining things in a simple and understandable way. Taking to patients for 22 years and helping them make a plan for what they should do next has served me well. I believe understanding how your body works, discovering what is right for you and achieving your ideal balance between life and running are the keys. Of course, with all life throws at us, what is right and what that balance should be are always changing! Sometimes you just need some advice and guidance from a trusted source.
Let me help you on your running journey.
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