25 May In the Spotlight – Kath Petersen
When did running begin for you?
I ran in school but nothing serious. I hated cross country so that’s maybe why I avoid it to this date (sorry Lisa!). I was more into circuit training (I met Andy in Cogan Leisure Centre at circuits, 26 years ago).
In my 20’s I used to take part in the annual Barry 5k which some people may remember! Part of the course ran up Holton Road and I always remember a non-running friend of mine saying “I’ve had many cars that haven’t made it up that hill”!
Another annual race from many years ago was the Chandlers 10k. For most Penarthians, they’ll remember Chandler’s restaurant down the seafront and they sponsored this event. It started and finished at Cogan Leisure Centre and was a similar route to our handicap run. It was a great social event and always ended up in the bar of the Leisure Centre….yes, it had a bar back in the day! We’d regale each other with tales of the race, especially the slog up Beach Road, which never gets any easier!!
My first Half Marathon was the Great North Run back in 1998. At the time, I was working as a Midwife up at the Heath Hospital and we needed some more TENS machines; so I decided to run the race to raise funds for 2 machines. I ran it with my Brother-in-law who I still run with now when we can, and I think we completed it in 2hrs 18. I didn’t do another Half Marathon until 2005, as marriage and babies came along!
I joined P and D first when the boys were small but had to give up for a few years, as James had karate on a Monday evening and at the time Club only met on a Monday. I rejoined a few years later and have been with them ever since.
Why do you run?
I’m afraid if I stop then I will put on 10 stone, the amount I eat!! No, seriously, I enjoy the freedom of running. It is also a ‘quick fix’ for me when time is short.
It also helps me mentally too. I know I always feel better after a run. As the saying goes, you never regret a run; you only regret the ones you didn’t do.
What race or moment in your running career holds the most significance and why?
I can’t really pinpoint one moment so I’ve chosen three!
- Cardiff Half Marathon 2005
This was the time when the Full Marathon was an option; two laps of the Half, so no wonder I didn’t sign up for the Full! It ended in the (then) Millennium Stadium with a lap of the track and the atmosphere was amazing. In 2005, me and my two sisters ran it, albeit not together. I think we started together but finished at different times. I’d had James six months earlier and my Dad was quite poorly with mobility issues, but my Mum had managed to get my Dad to the stadium in his wheelchair to watch us all finish. I remember feeling very tearful seeing them up in the stands cheering us on. A funny story from that race though was that as my eldest sister was doing her lap to finish, a massive cheer went up in the crowd and she thought it was for her until the eventual winner of the Full Marathon streaked past her and finished before she’d finished her Half. We still chuckle about that to this day!
- Lanzarote 2019
I love the Lanzarote trip in December and have gone for the last three years. Emma’s always my room buddy and we get on great, even if I am always telling her to hurry up or we’ll miss the bus!! The race itself is always so hot so it’s not the place for PBs! Most years, by mile 3 I’m hot, knackered and already slowing down but last year I felt great up until mile 11 then hit the “wall”! But I still managed a respectable 2 hrs 2 mins and 32 secs! A PB for me for Lanzarote so I’m going for sub 2 when we can next go!
- Cardiff Bay 10k 2019
I never start a race thinking I can get a PB as usually I’m just glad to get around in one piece! But this day was one of those days where it just clicked. Emma and I were late getting into the pens (I blame Emma every time as I’m always trying to hurry her up and she’s never in a rush)!
We got caught in the back of the hour pen so the 1st mile was very slow as I had to weave my way through the runners but unbeknown to me, this played to my advantage as my mistake is I always go off too fast! I was waiting to hit the wall but I didn’t and each mile I just got faster (well, faster for me!). It’s a lovely feeling and I wish you could bottle it. I had a 10k PB by one and a half minutes that day.
Who is your running inspiration?
I love Instagram and I follow a lot of runners, including Nell McAndrew and Sophie Raworth (Newsreader) who are both phenomenal runners, with the latter being selected to run for England at the age of 51. It makes you realize that age is just a number. I also think that Iwan Thomas is great. I met him last year at the Porthcawl 10k and he really is a lovely guy.
I had a shocker of a race as it was boiling but Emma had won 2 places and we had access to the VIP area before and after the race!! We even had a mention on their website. I’m sure that she regrets giving me the place though because by the end of the year I had leaped up the rankings in our Age Category ahead of her (sorry Em!!)
What event past or prsent would you like to part in and why?
I really enjoyed the Vale Ultra in 2018 so would like to do that again; the 18 miles though and not the 33! Dare I say it, perhaps a marathon one day while I still can run! Emma is always trying to persuade me but I’m still not sure! It would have to be an iconic one though to get me around!
What golden piece of advice would you give to other runners?
- I read once ‘run the mile you are in’ and it’s a great tip. I’m forever thinking about how far I’ve got to go during a run/race and it can be a psychological blow! Since I’ve used this mindset, I had a PB in Lliswerry and Lanzarote so perhaps it works!
- Don’t take the bad runs/races too hard. We all have them; it’s just part of the process. A bad run is better than no run at all.
- Having had ‘only the hill to go and it’s downhill from there’ shouted at me by a well-meaning marshal at the bottom of Beach Road during the Chandlers 10k and ‘only a parkrun to go’ at mile 10 of the Forest of Dean Half, perhaps think about what you say for encouragement as a marshal!!!
- Never get in a gin round with Nigel Adams in Lanzarote or anywhere in fact!! I’ve learnt this the hard way!
As I said, maybe a marathon….watch this space!
Who would you like to nominate?
I thought long and hard about this and rather than go for the obvious choices, I would like to nominate someone who I don’t know a lot about and (surprise, surprise) I follow on Instagram!! His transformation and improvements over the years are amazing and I’m eager to hear his story about his running career. He’s recently back at Club and has joined my ‘track family’ albeit whizzing past me most of the time!! No, it’s not you Frank, I think you may be too busy!! So, it’s over to you Paul Morton.