Redway Runners Jen represents England

Last weekend Jen Sangster from the club run in the Chester marathon for England, we asked for her story:

This weekend, in Chester, I had the huge honour of qualifying to run for England in the Marathon Age Group Masters for the second time. But this year was different. I really wasn’t ready. After an awful year of numerous personal struggles and losing my job, I hadn’t put the training in and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. It was taking a lot of mental strength and talking to myself to get to this start line. But I had to be honest with myself, I knew I could do it, it wouldn’t be my best performance but I wanted to do it feeling good and feeling strong. So I gathered myself together and went and did this one for myself.

So there I was lining up right in the middle of the paddocks at Chester racecourse with everyone in their red and white kit… shaking with cold as it was 4 degrees! Well, the heat wasn’t going to get me in this marathon!

Andy and the boys were there to see me off and meet me a few miles later in the city centre and then I was on my own running through the countryside. I met up with another England runner, Jayne and we ran for ages just chatting about absolutely anything and everything! Before I knew it, 18 miles had gone by. Wow!

The rest of the run I was on my own as Jayne sped up and I purposely slowed a little. I was feeling great and I wanted to keep it that way. I was thinking of everyone’s lovely messages on Facebook from the night before – “Come on Stealth” you’re doing this.

The hills that got me last year felt like little slopes, and the hard sapping finish on the grass was amazingly different this time as I encouraged another runner to run the last bit with me. I saw my boys and Andy at the side and I ran over, gave Luke a huge high five and promptly knocked his big foam ‘high five hand’ onto the race track! Oooopppsss!

Then it was the sprint finish and big smiles. I’d done it – 3.13 (only 10 mins slower than last year when I got my PB) 13th in my age group and 4th in my age group from the England Masters entrants.

I remember writing about the lessons I learnt last year, that every run is different and that’s what makes running such a special sport. You are constantly learning about yourself. This year, I also realised how important mental attitude and training the brain really are. Believing in yourself, being honest with yourself and you’ll succeed at anything you do.