Neil Featherby: How a busy mum fits running around her life

Kathryn with son Joe after running The Breckland 10K and Children’s Fun Run. Picture: Kathryn Hammond

I must start this week’s column with a big well done to all those people who completed their Virtual London Marathon challenge last Sunday.

While I was out running with my dogs and friends, we saw several people running along Marriotts Way with their race numbers pinned onto their tops.

Needless to say, we stopped to cheer them on before then completing our own run to be home in time to see the men’s elite race on TV.

Watching the athletes on the start line, I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be Eliud Kipchoge’s day, but I do have to say I felt for him when seeing him interviewed after the finish.

Kathryn Hammond on the way to completing the 2012 City of Norwich Half Marathon. Picture: Mick Howes.

Less than a year ago he appeared immortal, but certainly not after Sunday’s race. I don’t doubt for a moment though that he won’t now go away, dust himself down and come back well and truly ready for a special performance next time around.

Kathryn Hammond winning another race back in her days at Kirkley Middle School. Picture: Kathryn Hammond

Nevertheless, and whilst the very elite who do appear to be superhuman are mainly full time athletes, for all those many thousands of other runners who make up what is the majority or should I say what is now referred to as the masses of any big running event such as the “40th RACE, Your Way,” they have to fit in what is many weeks and months of dedicated training around their busy working lives.

While all of my staff at Sportlink are committed runners, Kathryn Hammond most certainly represents what it really takes when it comes to fitting training in around everyday life and in her case being a hard working mum.

She has also just recently signed up for the Lands End to John O’Groats Virtual Run and hopes to complete the 874 miles within six months.

Although I know Kathryn very well, the truth is I don’t really know how she balances everything into her daily routine and while I regularly wind her up when perhaps she has missed a run day in the past, I asked her to send me a detailed plan of what it takes for her to fit in her running around her lifestyle so I could write about her this week.

Initially she thought I was winding her up, but when I explained that she represented so many other people out there, she did succumb.

From an early age she was always encouraged by her mum to be very active and take part in many differing sports.

However, and moving on 20 years or so, whilst always being very fit, along came her son Joe in 2007, which of course changed things somewhat.

Anyone who knows Kathryn well, will also know that when it comes to the important things in her life she really is devoted particularly when it comes to Joe.

Joe, who just like his mum, is also very sporty being prolific at rugby, football, athletics and gymnastics. It is swimming where he really excels though for which it has meant following an extensive training programme with regular 5.30am visits to the pool for those early morning swim sessions with the City of Norwich Swimming Club.

Needless to say and without the full backing of his mum, at 13 years of age this would not be possible.

Now whilst the many hours spent travelling back and forth each week so as to meet Joe’s many sporting needs are just part of the many components which go into Kathryn’s busy schedule, running has always been very much on her agenda.

“Finding time to fit everything in is sometimes difficult, but if you plan ahead, then there is always a window of opportunity to get out for a brisk run,” she said. “Even if it is just 20 minutes, that’s enough time to get a couple of miles in if only just to stretch your legs.

“In the past I have been guilty of spending too much time on social media, but it’s about prioritising and if you really have the desire to do something worthwhile, then you will. There really are no excuses.”

Kathryn is currently 50 miles into her Lands End to John O’Groats challenge somewhere on the A30 heading out of Cornwall, albeit virtually.

She still has a long way to go, but if she can average around five miles a day for the next five and a bit months, she will have ticked off another box amongst her many up to now completed challenges.

We all know just how important it is to have a goal, be it completing the Couch to 5k programme or indeed like all those many other people who ran 26.2 miles last weekend. As the saying goes “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

Or in Kathryn’s words: “Whatever it is that floats your boat and no matter how busy your life is, you just have to be focused, disciplined and determined to make it happen.”

Neil Featherby's Friday EDP Feature