Sam Blease won the Uknetrunner of the Year award at the recent AGM. Sam was nominated for showing 'perserverence in the face of adversity' and being a positive and encouraging member of the club!
We took the opportunity after the AGM to ask Sam about her running and what keeps her motivated
UkN: How long have you been running and what got you interested?
Sam: I started running in February 2010 because a friend of mine persuaded me to try a local Run England group that had just started at my local leisure centre. I really enjoyed it (the social aspect at least!) and still go most weeks – it’s on a Sunday at 9:30 so it gets me out of bed! It’s also the one session of the week that I class as ‘proper’ training as it has a bit of structure to it!
UkN: What got you interested in the UkNetrunner club?
Sam: I had been looking at joining a running club for a while but had been put off because a lot of the club meetings were awkward for me to get to due to work, the cost was quite high and they always seemed a bit ‘Elitist’ - I’m not a particularly fast runner (or ever likely to be) so felt like I wouldn’t fit in. I found UkNetrunner via another club member and it seemed perfect – a UKA affiliated club that didn’t expect you to turn up for training every week but still had get-together’s and friendly competition with the handicap events and Grand Prix, which have helped motivate me to try and improve. Plus the cost is very reasonable, it attracts runners of all abilities and everyone is so encouraging. I’ve made a number of friends through the club & feel like a member of a big running community – it’s great!
UkN: You ran a stage of the Round Norfolk Relay a couple of years ago. How did you find the experience?
Sam: Absolutely fantastic! It was great to meet other UkNetrunners, the location is great, and the support was fabulous. I had quite an easy stage & far surpassed my predicted time. I remember being a bit nervous before the start of my stage. I’ve got no sense of direction and worried I would get lost. Colin was my support cyclist and was really good, he kept telling me how well I was doing and making sure I was ok. I’m sure he wouldn’t have let me go the wrong way!
UkN: Would you enter it again if we succeed in getting sufficient runners this year?
Sam: Definitely. I was sad that we had to pull out last year. I had said that I would run a stage if I was needed although it fell between 2 other big races for me last year and I was already struggling so maybe it was just as well it didn’t go ahead for me.
UkN: What is your favourite distance and why?
Sam: I would say that my preferred distance is 10k as it is long enough to be challenging without feeling like a slog. However, I do seem to enter more half marathons that 10k’s – perhaps I feel that they are better value for money? Also you’re more likely to get a medal for a half marathon and I do like a bit of bling!
UkN: Do you have a favourite event that you want to run every year?
Sam: Not really. I like to support local runs where I can – I missed out on the inaugural Mansfield 10k this year (my home town event) because I was on holiday but I would like to try that one. I also like the Edwinstowe 10k but missed out last year because it sold out. I have done the Tissington Trail half marathon for the past 2 years and have booked again for next year so that one is becoming a favourite. I think I’d like to try a few different races though so I don’t get bored with the same ones.
UkN: I see you were tempted with the London Marathon this year….well the ballot at least. Was this entered on a whim or do you have aspirations of running it?
Sam: I always thought I’d like to try running a marathon & that London would be the one I would do. I got my arm twisted to enter the York marathon instead though this year and can honestly say I absolutely hated everything about it, including all of the training!! That was my reason for not putting my name forward for the club ballot this time when I wasn’t successful in getting a ballot place.
UkN: What other events have you got lined up this year
Sam: I have got my name down for the Stamford Valentine’s day 30k and the Manchester marathon in April but due to health reasons (I was diagnosed with type
1 diabetes just before Christmas and am still really getting to grips with it – although it does perhaps explain why I struggled so much with marathon training last year)
I am not entirely sure that I will be running them; I’ll have to wait & see how training goes. I have also entered the Liverpool Rock & Roll half marathon in May which
I feel is more achievable, and the Tissington Trail half again in October. There’s nothing else in my diary as yet but that will probably change!
UkN : Congratulations on winning the UKnetrunner of the Year Award 2015. Although you knew you were nominated did you expect to win?
Sam: No I didn’t expect to win, I was really surprised to have been nominated! I had a shocking year running-wise due to injuries and health problems and was just going
to write the year off and hope for a better 2016. I guess my determination not to let things get the better of me (also known as my stubborn streak) was what got me the
award? Huge thanks go to whoever nominated me & everyone who voted for me, it’s a great honour and I am very proud of my trophy!
UkN: Good luck Sam with your running in 2016 and congratulations on winning your award!