“My name is Jayne Lannen and I am 54 years of age, I was born in Bristol, England but have lived in Falkirk, Scotland for 14 years. We moved here for my husband’s job but he died almost 10 years ago.
“I’ve kept myself busy for years by working night shifts and weekends at the local supermarket but I stepped away in February last year to give me more flexibility to see my family and then attend races once I fell in love with running.
“My running journey only started in 2019 when I decided to enter the Virgin Money London Marathon ballot following the death of my mother. I thought it would give me something to focus on and I naively thought I’d get a marathon place first time. I had no idea how popular they were!
“When I kicked things off with the National Health Service ‘Couch to 5K’ App, my fitness was basically non-existent and I struggled to even run one minute intervals in the first week. My 5km time was 37 minutes, slower than suggested, but over a period of 18 months I continued running and with support from a local running coach and great friends, I’ve now completed two virtual marathons!
“I graduated from 5km to my coach’s 10km to half marathon target group and continued to build up my endurance slowly but surely. I’d recommend anyone new to running to join a group as the encouragement and advice has helped me immensely, and it’s a handy place to rope in companions to do virtual runs with you!
“When COVID changed the way we can take part in events and disrupted my plans for 2020, I turned to virtual racing to allow me to collect some bling. Medals have become really important to me since my husband’s death – I no longer had anyone close to me to encourage me or to celebrate my achievements, so when I am feeling down, my medals give me a boost and help me maintain mental health and a positive attitude. I like being able to do things that others can’t – such as running for five hours!
“When lockdown in Scotland meant there were no group sessions or in-person races, I signed up for virtual challenges and have been doing one a month to stay motivated. I completed all six of the AbbottWMM Global Run Club City Challenges and my coach also created fun virtual challenges for us each month. The opportunity to run both the London and New York City marathons virtually felt like too good an opportunity to miss and of course I saw it as a great way to get a medal for both!
“The completion of the marathons has given me the confidence to know that I am able to complete anything if I put my mind to it and I just have to put the work in to achieve it. Running has made me feel part of a community and given me a focus. I feel like I have a ‘Scottish family’ when my own are so far away and if it wasn’t for running, I would likely not see or speak to anyone other than my neighbors.
“I am looking forward to brighter days when I can run in real-life events again. I am going to ramp up my training in February to five days a week in the hope that I can run the Edinburgh Marathon in May. Then I have my sights set on a couple of events in September and maybe one day I will get lucky in the London ballot that I have to thank for the start of this fun running adventure.”
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* Note: Always consult a physician and get a full health evaluation prior to marathon training. Even if athletes appear healthy, or to have a disorder under control, underlying medical conditions could exist.