NAME Ann White
CLUBs Garscube Harriers, SVHC
DATE OF BIRTH 13th March 1951
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?
In an unguarded moment descending Ben Lomond with my daughter, Katie, about 5 years ago, I agreed to do a mountain marathon. Knowing how competitive she is I thought I had better do a bit of training so as not to let her down. So I started running. I have always been reasonably fit and active and was doing a lot of hillwalking and backpacking at the time but I had never really been much of a runner. I was quite enjoying it when Katie sustained a fractured fibula doing the Liverpool marathon (which she went on to win anyway!) and she spent weeks on crutches. We never did the mountain marathon but I had been bitten by the running bug and carried on regardless, entering my first race, the Balloch to Clydebank half marathon about six months later. My main aim was to finish in less than two hours or not come in last, whichever proved to be more feasible on the day. I was, however, surprised and delighted by my time and started looking for more races. I did several more half marathons and gradually reduced my PB until last year I got a new PB of 1 hour 39 minutes on my 65th birthday. Katie was already a member of Garscube Harriers and she suggested that I join the club so that I could take part in cross country events over the winter. I really enjoy the team aspect of cross country and at Garscube we have the added incentive of home baking at the end of every race.
Whilst the half marathon and cross country are my favourite events I have also done lots of 10Ks, one marathon, one ultramarathon, various other distances such as 10 miles and a few trail races, including the Glentress Half Marathon.
HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?
Being a member of Garscube Harriers has improved my running a lot as there is a great team spirit and everybody is very supportive. The training schedule is very good and keeps me on track with some tough sessions. My daughter, Katie, is my biggest supporter, though, and she often persuades me to do things that I wouldn’t consider, such as doing another marathon (I said I would NEVER do another one and Manchester 2018 is definitely my LAST!). She gave me brilliant support when I did the Kintyre Way Ultra in 2017, providing jam sandwiches at regular intervals and getting me through the last 5 miles.
WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?
Apart from the obvious things such as maintaining cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and bone strength as I get older I like the challenge that running and racing provide: trying for a PB, running longer distances, completing a tough interval session, running up a hill without stopping. Mostly, though, I just love getting out and running on all the wonderful tracks and trails near where I live, enjoying the scenery, the fresh air, the wildlife and the changing seasons.
The social side of being a club member is also important to me and I try to get to as many club events as I can. At Garscube we have a brilliant training weekend when we go away somewhere such as the Isle of Arran or the Borders and just run and enjoy ourselves. And then there is the Christmas Ceilidh!
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?
I think that my best performance was being first FV60 in each of the Polaroid 10Ks in 2016.But the performance I am most proud of is the Kintyre Way Ultra in 2017.
My worst ever experience in a race was at the National Cross Country in Callander Park a couple of years ago when I was on the verge of hypothermia after the race.
WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?
My main ambition is to carry on running as long as I can. I would love to represent Scotland again at the Masters International Cross Country: it would be good to take part in all the competing nations.
OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?
Running does tend to take up a lot of time but I manage to fit in a few other activities. I volunteer with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park as a volunteer ranger and also as a conservation volunteer. The Park provides lots of different opportunities such as taking part in wildlife surveys, repairing footpaths, planting trees, removing invasive species and helping at events in the National Park. I count some of these as cross training e.g. pushing a wheelbarrow full of aggregate up a hill – two birds with one stone.
I also like to travel, I read a fair amount and I enjoy painting using acrylics. And gardening.
WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS?
A little pain, a lot of pleasure and many wonderful people.
CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?
I usually follow the Garscube training schedule for interval and tempo sessions. Then I do a long run at the weekend plus another short run: usually about 30 miles a week or so. However, when training for a specific event such as marathon or ultramarathon I find a more specific schedule which seems to be at right level for me and what I want to achieve in the race. After each session I do lots of stretching and rolling about on my foam roller.
I also try to do some core strengthening exercises at least once a week. However, I find that I need one or two days rest and recovery depending on the particular schedule that I am following. I certainly can’t train every day. But I am usually fairly active on the days that I am not training.
MEMORIES OF DERRY: British and Irish Masters International Cross Country 2017
The excitement really started to build at the team photos, seeing how many people were taking part and what it meant to everybody to be there running for their country.
A warm-up jog round the course revealed how muddy some sections were, the difficult corners and the long, tiring stretches.
The start line was very crowded but the initial straight was quite wide and the field soon spread out. Although we were wearing numbers on the back and front of our vests I found it impossible to know how I was doing in my age category as I didn’t see anybody else with a 65 number for the full three circuits. So it was just a case of going as fast as I could and hoping for the best.
The support around the circuit was tremendous particularly as we approached the end of each lap and it really kept me going.
The celebration dinner was lovely and the food was excellent. I was absolutely delighted to have won an individual gold and team silver. The medals are a really beautiful design.
The organisation was superb and I had a great time both at the race and the dinner. Everyone in Derry was really friendly and the city itself was very interesting, highlights for me being the Peace Bridge, the city walls and the Museum of Free Derry. We also ventured further afield and went to the Giant’s Causeway and Belfast where we visited the Titanic Exhibition.
Thanks to everyone who took part, the organisers in Derry and in each of the participating countries and all the supporters.
Ann well clear in Derry 2017
A HOT HALF MARATHON IN MALAGA: WORLD MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS 2018
We knew it was going to be very hard. We had trained in the heatwave during the summer and had found it difficult to maintain pace during speed sessions: we are just not used to that sort of weather in Scotland. The Beast from the East was more our thing. At least the race was early in the morning.
We were not sure of the route so we arrived early at the stadium and tried to work out where we would be running and where the water stations would be. We took advantage of the opportunity to have our own electrolyte drinks at two of the water stations. Having warmed up we headed for the start which was arranged in age groups.
Katie’s race: Having not run in any of the International Masters events before I didn’t really know what to expect from the race so I had no target time in mind. After an over-crowded start and a first loop around the stadium people started to spread out a bit and I settled into a consistent pace on the long out and back section of the course. On the first lap it was nice to find a bit of shade, but unfortunately it didn’t last long. I wasn’t sure what position I was in until the turn-around point at about 4.5 miles. Then I realised I was the second woman with quite big gaps between the women in first and third place, so I just hoped I would be able to keep a steady pace and maintain my position. I don’t normally drink anything during a half marathon but I tried to make good use of all the water stations both for drinks and to throw water over myself to keep cool. Looping around the stadium to start the second lap there was some good support for the GB team, which really helped encourage us on as we set out on the long out and back again. The gaps between me and the other women runners didn’t seem to have changed much and I was maintaining a relatively comfortable pace. It was good to finish with a lap of the track and experience the support in the stadium. Other than the hours spent waiting for the results I really enjoyed the event so hopefully it will be my first of many more International Masters events.
Ann’s race: I set off at the pace that would give me my target finishing time but after the first few miles I realised that, because of the heat, I would not be able to maintain it for the whole race. There was an athlete in my age group from Finland just ahead of me and I had decided to use her as a pacemaker but I had to let her go and just run at a pace that I thought I could manage for 13.1 miles. We did two laps of the course, round the stadium and out and back along the coast. On the first lap there was some shade from the tall buildings along the way but later we seemed to be in the blazing sun all the time. It seemed a very long way between some of the water stations and it was a relief to pick up my drinks and pour water over my head. There were several moments during the race when I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish but I just tried to maintain my pace. Starting the second lap was daunting as I knew exactly what I was up against but there was some good support along the way that kept me going. And then, about three miles from the finish, I spotted the Finnish runner up ahead! I steadily gained on her and then had a dilemma. Should I overtake her now or just tuck in behind and then make a break nearer the finish? I decided to risk it and went past her, expecting her to come back at me any second. But she didn’t! Then it seemed a very long run back to the stadium, particularly the last mile where we had to circle the outside of the stadium and then do a lap of the track. I was getting cramp as I circled the track but I was spurred on by the sight of Katie cheering me on from the stands. What a relief to finish and get into the shade of the stadium.
I had no idea where I had come. Indeed it wasn’t until very late in the afternoon that the results were revealed and I was delighted to find out that I had won an individual silver medal in the W65 age group and team silver in the W60 age group. Although we had to wait for several very trying hours in the heat for the medal ceremony, it was a great feeling to be on the podium with the Union flag. I was very proud to see Katie get her silver medals as well and we had an excellent paella and a couple of beers to celebrate later that evening.
(In 2019 at the British and Irish Masters International XC, Anne regained her W65 title and also led the Scottish W65s to team victory.)
By Ann and Katie White