The Steph Turley Story

steph-turley-2015The Steph Turley Story

How many Mid Sussex Marathons have you run?

I have run the Mid Sussex Marathon weekend twice now. I love the challenge of the weekend, and the routine of it; Eat, sleep, run repeat!

 When and why did you start running?

I did very little exercise until I started running in 2010. In fact, I have often been quoted describing my favourite hobby as sitting! I decided that I needed to start doing something as I was getting out of shape and miserable so my (now) husband took me to Victoria Park in Haywards Heath for my first ever run. I remember it so vividly. I couldn’t even run around the park once without slowing to a walk and I hated every minute of it (and him!). Slowly but surely I got better. Each day I attempted the run I saw more improvements. Gradually I had to walk less, I could get up the hills and then I could run 3 laps without having to stop to walk.

I soon started running around the streets of Haywards Heath to increase my distances and signed up for my first 10K on Brighton Seafront for Cancer Research and 2 years later I ran my first Half Marathon in Brighton (2012).

It took me a few more years to become a consistent runner. For the first few years I would enter events, train like crazy and then just stop running completely. It was upon joining a running club in 2014 where my running became a more constant part of my life. Now most Saturdays I meet up with the lovely members of the South Downs Trailblazers to run many varied (and hilly) trails on the South Downs.

steph-turleyDo you have any notable achievements?

I have been very lucky to run in some really amazing races, most of which were in beautiful Sussex.

My biggest race distance is a half marathon. Some of the most challenging races include:

  • The Steyning Stinger – a Killer(!) but beautiful trail half marathon. It takes in some of the steepest hills the South Downs has to offer but repays you with the views.
  • High Weald Trail Half Marathon – another tough but beautiful trail race on the Sussex border with Kent.
  • Spartan BEAST – a half marathon length assault course. This was definitely one of the toughest physical things I have ever done. Running, swimming in lakes, climbing over obstacles, lifting logs/ sandbags. It was so tough, but I ran it as part of a team and loved the camaraderie of getting through it with a group of people by your side.

Why do you enjoy running?

I love running as running keeps me sane on so many levels. Firstly it is an opportunity to have some “me” time. I can head out my front door and be on the South Downs in 10 minutes. I am sometimes in a terrible mood when I leave the house, but 40 minutes later I will be back, sweaty and muddy but smiling.

I also love the people I have met as a result of running. Running in a group allows you to exercise while also chatting to people that you may not normally cross paths with in your daily life.

And, maybe somewhat predictably, I love running because I love eating and luckily the two complement each other rather well!

 What advice can you offer to anyone who may be considering starting to run?

 Just get out there and give it a try. Be patient with yourself as you might hate it at first and it will hurt the next day, but keep trying because it WILL get easier! Also, join a running club; it really is a motivator.

Can you tell us a bit about your challenge and chosen charity?

I am running 30 Races (before I am 30) this year for the NRAS (National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society) as last year my best friend Mel got diagnosed with the condition.

Mel caught the running bug at a similar time to me and we trained together for the 2014 Brighton half marathon and she went on to run the London Marathon in 2015.

It was a real shock to find out that Mel had arthritis.  As a result she is unable to run the longer distances and is having to make lots of other changes to her lifestyle, including taking medication that a person in their 20’s never expects to have to do.

The NRAS has been an amazing support to Mel during her initial diagnoses and beyond, as they have been to many others like her. I want to run for the NRAS to not only raise money to support their continued operation but also raise awareness for them and the condition.

Follow Steph’s progress as she aims to complete “30 before 30”.