After finding out she'd won a place at the inaugural Scottish Half Marathon on 6 September, courtesy the recent SCOTTISH RUNNING GUIDE / GSi Events competition, horse-lover Pauline Friel expressed her delight at having the chance to finish a race at Musselburgh Racecourse. Pauline's love of horses played a part in her recovery from Hodgkins Lymphoma as she put her running on hold.
Starting running in 1995, Pauline had to stop in 1997 after being diagnosed with the disease. On how the diagnosis affected her life, Pauline says: “I had already stopped running a month earlier because I hadn't been feeling great. I had six months of chemo and running was the last thing I was thinking about during that time. I spent a lot of time with the horse (Paco) I had taken on lease a couple of months before I was diagnosed.
“When I finished the chemo I bought Paco and although I was still keeping fit at the gym and running on the treadmill I did not have the time to go out running. Most of my spare time was spent bringing Paco on. A course of radiotherapy followed and at the end of 1997 I was given the all clear although I was back at hospital for regular checks for some years following my treatment.”
14 years and two kids later, a friend of Pauline’s suggested getting fit and running a 10k together, she explains: “It was something I wanted to get back into. I used to watch people out running and feel slightly jealous. It was then I joined jogscotland Cumbernauld and with the help of the coaches I soon got my distance built up and ran the Women’s 10K in Glasgow that May. In 2013 I ran my first half marathon in Edinburgh and loved it. I have now completed four half marathons but have no aspirations to go for a full one, not yet anyway.”
Joining jogscotland has been a big help to Pauline: “I love running with the club, it's a good social group and we all keep each other going. Besides I'm not very good at motivating myself to go running on my own! I also enjoy doing it for health reasons, it encourages me to eat healthy too because I know if I eat rubbish I will feel rubbish when I go out for a run. And I love chasing that next PB!”
Looking ahead to the half marathon in September she admits the course will be a trip down memory lane: “It will be an amazing finish coming down that last furlong at Musselburgh Race Course. I've cheered a few four legged runners over that finish line in the past!”
For more information on the Scottish Half Marathon, visit the event website.