Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Claire Marie
Features Writer
4:15 AM 17th July 2021

My Midlife 10k - Part 2

(L-R)Janet, Jayne and Claire
(L-R)Janet, Jayne and Claire
“Your age is irrelevant – it’s what’s in your heart that matters.”

After years as a mediocre jogger rather than a ‘proper’ runner, 40+ blogger Claire Marie is taking the plunge and attempting her first 10k. And she’s documenting her journey for Yorkshire Times readers.

One of the best things about being part of a running club is that I get to meet – and be inspired by – new people, like Janet and Jayne here (sounds a bit like a children’s book, or was that Janet and John?). Anyway…

I did my warm-up with Janet (left) at our regular track training session on Saturday. I felt a bit nervous because her warm-up pace is basically my normal pace. But as we chatted (correction, Janet chatted and I answered in breathless, one word answers), she shared that she hadn’t started running until she was 47! I was shocked because she seems to run effortlessly and do 10ks for fun, so I thought she’d been running all her life.

Jayne (middle) is 49 in a few weeks and didn’t start running until she was 43. She’s another club member who seems to run effortlessly and is in amazing shape.

I started exercising consistently when I was 39 and was like a fish out of water. I used to look at people who seemingly had it all: the right gear, fantastic figures and their dignity, and felt like a hopeless and unworthy imposter. But fast forward just a couple of months and my mindset – and shape – told me all I needed to know about its importance. And while exercise might not be the centre of my universe, it’s now a solid part of it, and I feel mega-inspired and reassured that you can came to it late, and thrive.

My chat with Janet and Jayne also made me realise that I made lots of assumptions about taking up a new pursuit in midlife that did me a real disservice and kind of allowed me to talk myself right out of the game. I was telling myself that:
People like Janet and Jayne are such strong runners because it’s something they’ve done forever
You’re either sporty or you’re not – there’s no in between
There’s no point in attempting something new if you’re not going to be really good at it because you’ll look stupid (I wasn’t uptight at all)
You hit your physical peak in your 20s or 30s and your fitness starts to decline in your 40s

Janet, Jayne and many others are blowing these assumptions right out of the water for me, and it’s examples like that which gradually enabled me to set myself goals that would have seemed impossible until not that long ago.

Maybe you’re feeling a little like I did in my late thirties; in a bit of a rut with your health and fitness. Maybe you stopped prioritising your own wellbeing in favour of others. Or maybe you just want to take up a new hobby or fulfil a dream and you’re scared.

Well if you’re looking for a sign, this is it.

Your age is irrelevant – it’s what’s in your heart that gets you through each lap, rep or step. And it’s what makes me so determined that one way or another, I’ll run the York 10k in two weeks’ time.