A Six Star journey in her 60s
"This isn't quite 'Brittany Runs a Marathon‘ but I definitely felt an affinity with the story after tackling the distance.”
Back in 2017, Hilary Herman from Manchester, UK decided to run a half marathon.
“I had absolutely no idea what I was letting myself in for and swore blind after I had finished that I would never do it again. There were so many negative words screaming at me.
“Then the inevitable happened, and I found myself signing up for more. And more. Then from nowhere I thought maybe I could run a marathon.”
Hilary did some race research and landed on the Valencia Marathon as her first 26.2-mile challenge to coincide with her 60th birthday. Six months prior, she ran her local marathon in Manchester.
“I hated the training, and I hated the cold mornings but decided to turn the poor decision into my training marathon. I realized the things I had done wrong and swore I would overcome them for my main event.
“I evolved into a woman on a mission. Nothing would sway me from my plan. Normal life was put on the back burner. The discipline and regimes I followed were to make sure that I ran Valencia from start to finish. Walking or stopping was not an option for me. Learning how to pace myself would be the trickiest part. Saving energy for the second half was a worry."
But she did it! This Prestwich Athletic Club member surprised herself by finishing in Valencia in a time of 3:57:18.
This performance was also a strike against her plan of stepping down from marathons - she’d just earned herself a Boston qualifying time, a Good for Age place in London and a high-ranking position in the AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Rankings!
The following year (2020) was set to be a busy one for Hilary and her new love of marathons. But the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans and races were put on pause. Not to be detoured, she’s made up for it by running both the BMW BERLIN and TCS London Marathons in 2021, Boston in April, and she is heading across the Atlantic to Chicago and New York City in the fall.
By the end of the year, she will be a Six Star hopeful with just Tokyo left on her list. Something she simply didn’t dream of just three years ago.
“I love running. The feeling of having had a good internal and external workout and keeping my bones strong is such a motivator for me.”
Not happy with knocking off 10 minutes from her personal best in 18 months, Hilary has new goals.
“I would love a 3:45 or even 3:40 marathon but maybe that's pushing it a bit!”
At the age of 62 she continues to build momentum with her running and has this advice for anyone who wants to give it a go to.
“Take it slowly, build up steadily and always, always listen to your body and then push it a little more if you feel you have it in you.”
*Always consult a physician and get a full health evaluation prior to marathon training. Even if athletes appear healthy after treatment or surgery, or to have a disorder under control, underlying medical conditions could exist.
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