OCTOBER 2017: Ruth Maughan signed up to RunBrighton for our Summer 2016 training, subsequently stuck around for Winter 2016/17 and Summer 2017, and is now ready to get stuck into Winter 2017/18.

Hindered, initially, by ongoing knee problems, Ruth took our advice and began a regular strength & conditioning regime, rather than just running.

And, just having passed her 60th birthday a couple of weeks ago, her fitness continues to go from strength to strength.

Ruth, firstly perhaps you can tell us a bit about yourself? What do you do when you’re not running?

Work probably takes up most of the time! I’ve had my own business for 20 years and that has meant being away a lot. I’m working locally now, so hoping to have more free time to enjoy life. I have two adult kids who I love to be with. I walk a lot with friends and feel I’m so lucky to live near the sea and the Downs. I read a lot and love socialising… the people, obviously, not just the food and wine! I have family in Ireland and try to get to see them often. When I have time, I love to cook for family and friends.

What was your running background, before joining RunBrighton?

I did cross-country running as a child, but running didn’t feature during my adult life until October 2015.  A friend convinced me that it would be great fun to do the Dingle Peninsula Half Marathon, the following September. I started to do parkrun on Saturdays and the occasional run during the week. My first event was the Worthing 10K in June 2016 and that was the furthest I’d ever run at that point.

So, what was the main way you kept yourself fit before getting into running a couple of years ago?

I’ve always been active. I loved exercise classes and did Zumba, Step and Body Pump. That said, there were periods of time when I was working away and sometimes months would pass without doing anything regularly. It was so easy to get out of the habit and so tough to get back into it!

How did you hear about RunBrighton and what originally inspired you to sign up for our Summer 2016 season?

My good friend Annie Broe told me about RunBrighton and convinced me I needed to up my game if I wanted to complete the Dingle Half in the September. As a result, I joined RunBrighton for the Summer season and began to build up time on my feet in the hope that, by the time September came around, I’d be able to complete the Half.

And what has persuaded you to join us for every season since then?

Running with RunBrighton isn’t like any other form of exercise I’ve done before. There’s an incredible sense of camaraderie and support from other runners, regardless of ability. So, to start with, it’s a fun place to be. Added to that, we get to see spectacular scenery at a time of day when most people are still in bed, asleep. Then there’s the discipline of being part of something that happens regularly, so, almost before you know it, you’re out of bed and on your way to meet up, without registering how early it is!

There must be some dark, cold, Sunday mornings over the winter, when you look out of the window and see that the weather is quite awful. What drives you to get up early on those Sunday mornings, to come running?

Knowing how fantastic I’ll feel when I get home. It sets me up for the day and gives me a real sense of achievement. Also, I find that if I promise to give someone a lift to the run, it removes the option of going back to sleep!

What are you looking forward to most about RunBrighton’s coming Winter season?

Meeting up with great people again, the discipline of getting out early on Sunday mornings and seeing the early morning sun… when it’s there!

Something that I encourage runners of all abilities to do, is incorporate Strength & Conditioning into their weekly schedule; in other words, to get strong to run, rather than just running to run! I know you’ve regularly attended fitness sessions with Matt Bartsch at Riptide Health & Fitness, in Hove Park, since October last year.  How did that first come about, and what benefits have you enjoyed as a result?

Again, it was due to Annie. She gave me a birthday present of a one-to-one session with Matt at Riptide. He is a real source of inspiration and a born motivator! I did a few of his Body Fit classes, in order to learn good technique, with maybe one or two other people in the group. I joined up for his regular classes and try to get to at least three a week. I feel stronger and more toned. My knees don’t cause me problems any more, and that’s helped by building up muscles in other areas. I also used to get lower back pain, and that’s a thing of the past now. Matt is an excellent instructor. He really notices how people are doing and corrects posture and technique when needed. I’ve achieved so much with his support and encouragement.

What has surprised you most since you took up running?

That I’ve been able to build up the time on my feet. I remember the day I came home and told my daughter that I had done a 2-hour run. I don’t know who was more astonished… her or me!

What’s your next running goal?

I’m planning to do the Brighton Half next spring and, other than that, I want to do 5 and 10k events on-going.

And what advice would you give to anyone who was in a similar situation to yourself, maybe women of a similar age who would like to take up running to improve their overall wellbeing, but perhaps daunted by the prospect and just can’t seem to take that first step?

Just do it! Start from where you are and don’t compare yourself with others. All you have to do is keep turning up and you will improve. It’s that simple. Put in the effort and you’ll get the results.

Ruth, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. I’m delighted you’re joining us again this winter. Good luck with your preparation for the Brighton Half next February, and I’ll no doubt see you at plenty of Riptide sessions in the meantime.

(For full details of RunBrighton Membership, click here)

By Mike Bannister