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Spotlight on... Gemma Causebrook

Tell us a bit about your running history

On holiday at Centerparcs in May 2013, I decided to give this running lark a try. I was a huge gym, swim and exercise class fanatic before having children, never missing a day but classes never quite fitted round family life and I wanted something that was free to do and so running seemed the obvious choice! With the help of my running mad husband I managed a very slow, painful mile. I tried again a few days later but I felt so deflated with my efforts I gave up. In the July I decided to try again. Within a month I had gone from a painful 12 minute mile to running a comfortable 6 miles in just over an hour. I was hooked. I also then discovered running wasn’t free – road trainers, off road trainers, watch, shorts, vests, race entries, winter leggings, gloves, head torch, club kit….the list goes on! But it’s been worth every penny and I wouldn’t have it anyway now. At the risk of sounding mad, running has changed my life!

When and how did you come to join Totton Running Club?

I joined in September 2013. Tina Wooldridge (my neighbour) had recently joined herself and persuaded me to come along as we had been training together and the streets of Marchwood were starting to get boring. I was a nervous wreck, felt sick with nerves. I almost didn’t go but I am so glad I did! 

How often do you train and what sessions do you do outside of the club?

Every club session where possible (Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings) and then I try and go for a long run at the weekend if I am not racing. I’ve recently purchased a bike so plan on adding that in to my training as well.

Which is more satisfying... going for a training run or running a race?

Both! To reach a new distance during training is amazing and times like when I moved from group 3 to group 2 and didn’t die were pretty satisfying! However, there is something special about hitting those times during a race, seeing my name on the results list and being part of such a fab team! The atmosphere at club on Monday after a big race day is always really lovely too! 

Where do you like to run and have you anywhere particularly memorable?

I consider myself a road runner, I do find the forest much harder work but it is of course much prettier to look at and kinder on my legs so I embrace the surroundings and realise how lucky we are to live somewhere like The New Forest. I also know that training off road helps when it comes to racing on the road. 

What's the most valuable piece of running advice you've ever been given?

Buy good trainers! I now own more pairs of trainers than I do shoes! 

What are your future running goals?

I would like to one day do a marathon but for now I am focusing on training for Endure 24 in June. 

What is your running highlight so far?

I have two – the first was The Thunder Run in 2014. I was a last minute sub and I really didn’t think I would make the 3 laps but I promised to try my best and passing over that finish line on the last lap was amazing. It was a great way to mark a year since I started running. A weekend I will never forget.
















The second is more recent - the Southampton Half. After a disastrous attempt at The Solent Half last year I wasn’t sure how I would do so I set off with 3 goals – I would have been suitably happy with 1:52, my goal was around 1:50 and my stretched goal was 1:49. To reach the finish line in 1:46:35 wasn’t even in my dreams. I am still buzzing about it now. It has given me the confidence that I have been lacking – I CAN do this and all the hard work has more than paid off! 

Do you have any running experiences you'd care to forget?

Lordshill 10k in 2014! I was just back after my first proper injury, it was a very hot day and I sped off at my normal race pace forgetting I wasn’t as fit as I was – by 4.5 miles I was feeling rather sick. I somehow managed to hang on until the end but I then threw up at the finish line!! Not one of my finest moments!

Do you have any other passionate interests?

Sewing! I have been sewing since I was 8 and can spend hours surrounded by fabric in my little cabin at the bottom of my garden! I can easily get lost in designing, cutting and stitching! 

What keeps you out of trouble Monday to Friday?

Apart from being a mum of two I run a little handmade bag business from home. I fit this around the children and I love it! 

Finally, which other Totton Running Club member do you most admire?

Ooh there are so many! Everyone at club has their own story and I admire anyone who is out there running. Beginners who manage 3 miles without stopping for the first time right up to our sub 3 hour marathoners. They are all inspirational but if I had to choose I would say Kylie, Josie, Eamonn, Tony K and Sean….all for different reasons and not necessarily because of their achievements but because they all inspire me, encourage me and make me realise I am capable of anything I set my mind to! 

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