Tag Archives: running

Running for friendship and survival – with Omer Homer and Bella Mackie

7 May Bella and Omer

When it comes to running, it seems most of us fall into two camps; running to escape thoughts and feelings or running towards a goal.

Omer Homer, a training Para Olympian hopeful, firmly falls into both. He runs to win but acknowledges that running has made him a different person. Omer started running in 2017, his target to win the Swindon Half Marathon – an ambitious goal given Omer had never run before, had no former training and has severe injuries from an encounter with an exploding landmine. However, Omer completed the Swindon Half Marathon in just 1hr 22min 49 sec and ranked in the top 1% of runners.

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A Humble Champion – Jo Pavey at Swindon Festival of Literature

8 May

LitFest_18050701_Jo_Pavany_Running_0008If ever anyone was able to brag about their achievements it would be Jo Pavey: World Champion, mother of two children, and author.

Instead she is Jo, an honest down-to-earth individual who admitted to only raising her arms halfway up in 2014 at the 10,000m World Championships, due to her disbelief in having won and her fear of being judged when wearing running gear on the school run.

Jo speaks as freely as she runs, her responses and stories at times emerging at the same pace but absorbing nonetheless. A runner since she was 13 years old, Jo never voiced her desire to pursue athletics professionally. Born into an active but not sporting family she was recommended to an Athletics Club by her PE teacher, with a neighbour assisting with the transport due to her parents caring for younger siblings.

Love, irrespective of discipline and circumstance, never leaves. Jo continued to run throughout her studies in Physiotherapy at Bristol University and a six-month backpacking trip around the world with her future husband, Gavin. Silently continuing her training and pursuing her desire to become a professional athlete, Jo ran through the sights as opposed to walking: ascending volcanoes, passing through fields of kangaroos, and stopping at sports fields in New Zealand for impromptu training sessions. Continue reading

Sweaty and smells of fish – Nell McAndrew at Swindon Festival of Literature

5 May

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It’s not an admission you’d expect from the 16th Sexiest Woman In the World (FHM Magazine, 2003) but if you meet Nell McAndrew in the school playground, chances are she’ll be sweaty and smell slightly of mackerel.

The original Lara Croft, Tomb Raider – she was the face of the arcade game franchise three years before Angelina Jolie claimed the ponytail in the movie spin-off – and the fourth most popular contestant in the first series of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Nell was at Lydiard Park to talk about her new book, Nell McAndrew’s Guide to Running. Continue reading

Running and walking with writers at Swindon Festival of Literature

6 May

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Life’s all about choices, and on a warm bank holiday Monday afternoon I faced a dilemma – take a 5km run through Swindon’s Lydiard Park with some Lycra-clad literature lovers, or enjoy a gentle stroll around the ornamental lake of the Georgian stately home with storyteller Rachel Rose Reid.

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Inspired by running and bones

7 May

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Later today after the Dawn Chorus…

In a bonus to the stories enjoyed in a brisk walk around Lydiard Park grounds (lucky old Swindon with this on its doorstep) with international storyteller Rachel Rose Reid, ponies and their cute foals were close up to the fence by the path.

Rachel Rose followed two stories of love with a ‘Just So’ inspired tale of an elephant that ate its own eyes. She made us do the suction sounds as the eyes popped out. I’ve still not recovered. Continue reading

On Running

1 May
Naomi Benaron

Naomi Benaron

The only time I run is for the bus or the train.

I’m not saying I’m proud of this fact. And I’m getting to that scary age where running without some kind of stretching warm up is positively bad for my health. A long way, in fact, from the time where simply walking was just impossible. My five year old gives me this uncomprehending look when I tell him to walk (like when crossing the road), you know – that’s a run. Nope, that’s a skip. A walk is when one foot is still on the ground when the other one leaves it. Slow. Not fast. Still blank look. You know, like mum and dad. Oh – boring!

I’m also not a fan of watching sport. Maybe a bit of tennis. Perhaps even snooker though to be honest I’m not even watching the current world championships. (Whenever I watch it, Ronnie O’Sullivan loses. So I stopped. And he wins).

So when Swindon Festival of Literature director Matt asked me to chronicle the running event on the opening day (Monday 7 May) it was, at first, a dutiful ‘yes’ in response.

Then when he told me about the people taking part and their interesting stories, I was hooked. Continue reading