25–26 Jan 2025 220 days to go! #RunShow

Ann-Marie Kennedy

Although I ran track at school and would often take part in the county heptathlon and decathlon, once I left I focused less on outdoor activities and attended the gym briefly for a couple of years on and off. In the early 2000’s I found out about Parkrun and decided to give it a try kitted out in the wrong trainers which made the experience quite awful, although I really enjoyed the vibe, lovely people encouraging me to continue and the smiling faces. I was determined to do something to improve my fitness after putting it on the back burner for so many years.

In October 2019, I was asked by the founder of Black Girls Do Run U.K. to take part in the Big Half, the following March, I immediately agreed as I love a challenge and felt it was the right time for me, as I was more educated about running equipment and could commit the time. Alongside a great programme and other wonderful women to run with, the training was more like catching up with friends rather than hours running in all temperatures, mainly cold! The big day March 1 2020, came and it was fantastic, the people, entertainment and every aspect far exceeded my expectations. I had accomplished my goal. 20 days later the U.K. was shut down, I was forced to work from home, not see loved ones and gyms were closed alongside all outdoor events. During this time all I had access to for my well-being was walking or running and I choose running, it was a release from the monotony and an opportunity for me to get out and see people, I used running to give virtual hugs and chats with friends close by by running to their homes to maintain the contact and community with those that I cared about.
My biggest achievement to date as a runner is taking part in my first marathon, the virtual London in 2021, after saying I would never do a marathon. My next venture is the Manchester marathon in 2022!

Being a running ambassador for The National Running Show, would enable me to share my experience, although short in the running world and let people know it is never too late to start something new, make great friends and get fit whilst smiling all the way to the finish.