Who likes to hear about inspirational, 'normal' parent's who challenge themselves to do amazing things? We thought we would share an interview with Lilly Hopkins, 37, from Calne in Wiltshire. Lilly has a little boy aged 2 1/2 and works for a local pet food company. She completed her first Ultra Marathon this year, Race to the Stones, which was voted the UK's best endurance event, 2016.
Q: When did you start buggy running and how often do you run?
I started buggy running in Australia when Gordy was 12 weeks old, not far and not fast but had an old mountain buggy and I ran to mums group, everyone thought I was crazy. Currently I run 3-4 times a week. Generally manage one or two runs without the buggy or dogs.
Q: When did you get into running and long distances in particular?
I signed up to do my first half marathon as it fell on the second anniversary of when my beautiful two year old niece Pippa was taken from us. I raised money for sepsis uk and ran with Pippa’s mum, Cath and my two other sister in-laws Joanne and Sue. I vowed to never run again after completing it. Then I realised if I wanted to eat cake and drink wine and still fit into my jeans I needed to run. Also I thoroughly love getting out with Gordy and the dogs. I then decided to run with Ben 401, I planned to run at least half but as it was a two loop route as I started the second loop I didn’t really have much choice but to keep going especially, being the only female out of 12 that carried on. So I kept going and ran a marathon. After that my crazy sister in-law Cath decided she wanted to run an ultra and the next thing I knew was that I had said a maybe and we were signed up by her twin sister Joanne. I blame them both for making me do it, although I secretly wanted the challenge I think!
Q: How did you train for RTTS and what training plan did you follow?
I basically just ran as much as I could. I started proper training in January. I read lots of books, I got a big wall calendar and wrote a 6 month training plan which I did not stick to after the first week. I signed up for Paris marathon in April, Brecon trail marathon May, Hampshire hobbit marathon June then RTTS in July so I just upped my mileage every long run to get up to 25 miles before Paris and then just kept running at least 20 miles every two weeks, back to back runs at the weekend. Mid week I tried to do at least 3 runs of 5 miles or more, some buggy runs and some buggy free. I did follow the 16 week RTTS in the last few months. Furthest run was 30 miles solo, furthest buggy run was 16 miles.
Q: What pieces of kit were essential in your training?
- My buggy I wouldn’t have got the miles on my legs without being able to run with Gordy
- My running buddies, gordy, frecks and Milo (dogs) and my running buddies who made it easy to get out chat and get those miles done
- My buff for wiping the sweat out of my eyes
- My family for their support especially Alex my hubby he has been my strength through it all. He helped plot routes, dropped me off, sometimes literally kicking my butt out the door of the car to make me run home when I really didn’t want to run. Also for no questions on how long I will be at the weekends doing back to back long runs and basically putting his biking life on hold for 6 months. For supporting me on RTTS at every check point even into the night, ringing that cow bell so we could hear the check point way before we could see it and for always having a cooked roast chicken on the go after a long run and a bath running. He was my rock.
Q: How did you choose your running buggy?
With the help of RunningBuggies.Com and the wonderful Wendy (please quote me on that) Thule glide was my third running buggy and I wish I had of been my first. Love it!
Q: What advice would you give someone who was starting our buggy running?
Just get out there and start walking or jogging or running. No pressure, enjoy being out with your little ones. Some runs are great some start and end with a screaming baby, some with a sleeping baby. After a bad run there is always a good one. Take snacks, ipod, bribes whatever it takes. Happy mum, happy bub never feel guilty for taking them out. It is such an amazing experience to share with our little ones and they will be so proud of their running mummies.