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Spotlight on... Ann-Marie Vanderplank

Tell us a bit about your running history

When I was about 12 my Uncle and Auntie were members of the Hash House Harriers also known as ‘the drinking club with a running problem’ and they would take me along with them. It was a different location each week always starting at a pub. I would run 4-5 miles on Sunday mornings with them finishing back at the pub afterwards for a pint. They also got me to do ‘The Purbeck Plod’ a 25mile run/walk in Swanage. It took me over 7 hours, there were lots of hills and walking but I loved it! When I was 13 My Uncle and Aunty left the HHH as they were off to travel the world so as I had no one to take me that was the end of my running.. 

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

I joined the beginners group in May 2012 after hearing about it from Caroline Wilton. Myself and a couple of friends, all with kids in the same class,  had tried aqua aerobics to lose weight and  get fit, with no success then Caroline told us about the club so we thought we would give it a try even though I had not run for about 22 years .”I used to be good at running, how hard can it be, it’s only a beginners group” I thought to myself…..well it was BLOODY HARD!!!


We only had to run for 1minute then walk for a minute but it felt more like an hour! By the time we had done about 5 reps I was praying for the whistle to blow so we could walk.  Driving home my legs were shaking but I felt so proud of myself that I couldn’t wait for the next session.

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

I try to get out with the club most Mondays and Wednesdays if I can. I also really enjoy the Friday social runs. I don’t really train outside the club unless its marathon training or running with friends. 

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

think they are both equally satisfying, I always come home with a sense of achievement after every run, the hardest part for me is getting my bum off the sofa! Although I must admit that since getting my first medal from Exbury 10k 2013 I have developed a bit of a ‘bling’ addiction and nothing makes me smile more than a nice medal!

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

Anywhere in the forest really, I prefer off road but running across Tower Bridge during VLM is a moment I will never forget.

What keeps you out of trouble Monday to Friday?

I work part time at Paultons Park as a chef assistant and have two kids Amy who is 9 and Riley who is 6. They keep me pretty busy especially with all the chauffeuring to brownies/swimming/beavers/football etc! 

What are your future running goals?

I would like to run another marathon one day and try to get sub 4.30. My goal for a half is sub 2. There are lots of different races I would like to enter such as The Larmer Tree half/20 and marathon (nice bling, I want the set!) I’d love to do the Purbeck Plod again one day. I have also set myself a target of ticking every box in the club championship table, this is not easy for a group 4 slow runner but I will do it one year! Last year I ticked them all except the 10k, looks like this year I’ve been knocked off the half marathon column, my best was Gosport half 2.03.48. 

What is your running highlight so far?

When watching The London Marathon at the age of 7 I turned to my mum and said “I’m going to do that one day”…..and I did!


I’ve said it lots of times to lots of different people over the years, I don’t think anyone (including myself) actually believed that I would especially since I didn’t do any running! So to be able to say ‘I did it’, even though I had a knee injury and hobbled most of the last 5 miles, has to be one of my highlights.


Brighton marathon would have to be my best achievement so far. I took over 44mins off my London time and running over the finish line hand in hand with Kelly was amazing!

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

There’s been some pretty tough marathon training runs in really bad weather conditions. Stonehenge Stomp 2014, although I really enjoy it, this particular year it was terrible weather, hammering down with rain and gale force winds. I must have added a bit too much washing detergent when washing my leggings or not rinsed them properly as after being out in heavy rain for so long they started to foam! I had soapy froth all over my legs…not a good look and quite embarrassing!

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

Breathe….always helps! Pace yourself and don’t cross your arms. 

Do you have any other passionate interests?

Um…, quite boring really. Although I am a bit of a thrill seeker, after hearing about Zip World Velocity in Snowdonia from fellow club members Marlene and Toni I had to try it. It’s a zip wire, a mile long, 500ft high, traveling over 100mph and it was amazing!


I’ve also done a tandem parachute jump and been a passenger in a two seater plane that was doing aerobatics such as a barrel roll, engine stall and loop the loop. 

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

Josie’s whole marathon journey was inspiring.


Our fastest lady Helen Wallington, who I see most mornings dropping the kids off at school before her morning training run. Helen’s dedication to training is inspirational and her ability is outstanding. I’m in awe!


Too many others to mention, but all the coaches that give up their time to help us, organise training and encourage us, without them we wouldn’t have a club. 

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