Stopsley Strider Club Member Profile
This month’s club member is Miriam Linforth, aged 34.
I work for Canal & River Trust (formally British Waterways) organising and supervising volunteers along the canals. I’m even helping organise the Trust’s first canal-side half marathon in September!
Did you do sport at school?
I wasn’t very good at all. I did compete in the County Champs at 1500m, but only because no one else wanted todo it! I vividly remember coming last.
When did you start running & why?
On a drunken night out in 2006 I agreed to do the Great North Run. With 6 months to train I started short runs in Sherwood Forest. It was really difficult! After managing 3 miles, I decided that to go further I needed to slow down, so one day I set out to crack 5 miles, got lost and ended up doing 8! After that I joined the local running club, Mansfield Harriers and completed the race in 1hr 58mins.
What made you come to Stopsley Striders?
The first thing I did when I knew I was moving to Luton was check out the local running club! Fortunately Stopsley Striders is a fantastic club and I was made to feel very welcome.
What is your favourite run/course?
Having been a runner in 3 different towns around the country, I can safely say that this area is the most pleasant and varied. We are very spoilt for choice of routes here and I just love exploring new places around Warden Hill and the countryside behind the airport.
What is your best run?
Probably my longest – Stour Valley Path ultra-marathon last year. 64 miles! It doesn’t matter how long an ultra-marathon takes, your allowed to walk, and you get to do so much exploring! My husband and brother were at each checkpoint to cheer me on and I met some lovely people along the way. I finished just before dark, in 13hours and the feeling was amazing! It was physically and mentally challenging, but definitely something I would do again (armed with salt for the cramp though!)
What was your worst run?
Milton Keynes half marathon. It’s not a bad race by any means, but the day was truly miserable. At the start line it was cold and raining. By the end it was snowing. I hadn’t dressed appropriately and was completely soaked and freezing cold. Even the silver blanket couldn’t stop my uncontrollable shaking!
What was your most memorable run?
Ironman Triathlon in Zurich in 2014. It was a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26 mile run. After that bike ride I couldn’t wait to get off! The first half felt brilliant, but then it got really hard. Every time I saw my husband I had to fight back the tears or I would’ve cracked. I hadn’t fueled enough on the bike so it was hard to take on enough to get back on track. Plus you were overwhelmed with choice. There were gels, coke, soup, fruit, chocolate, red bull… Getting to the finish line was just incredible. You have a funnel with crowds of supporters, just like on the telly! Once over the line, I hyper-ventilated for a good 5 minutes before unadulterated relief it was over…
Do you like cross-country?
I love to hate it! They are brilliant races and I get a great buzz from running as a team. Though I always get nervous beforehand, especially when the weather is fowl. I tell myself ‘just take this one easy, don’t race it’. But as soon as the whistle blows I can’t help but go for it and hunt down the lady in front! Oh and the cakes… I will always run for cake!
Assuming you have spare time, what are your other hobbies/interests?
I really enjoy swimming. I learnt front crawl 5 years ago so that I could do triathlon. It took a while for me to warm to it, but now I absolutely love it. I also enjoy gardening, though I can’t say I’m particularly good at it!
How many times a week do you run?
I have a 2-month old baby at the moment, but before that I would always go to club nights, as I am not very good at going out by myself. And a longer run at the weekend with friends.
What is your average weekly mileage?
It varies a lot, but if I’m not training for a long race, probably about 20 miles.
Do you do speed work or specialist training?
Speed work on a Thursday night is great. It’s so accessible and when done consistently it makes a big difference. The only time I’ve used a training plan is for Ironman when I paid for a professional coach.
Do you follow a diet regime before competing?
I am terrible at nutrition! I do try to eat a balanced meal the night before a race, and porridge in the morning if there’s time to digest it.
What piece of your kit do you think is the most important?
Trainers of course. I can tell I need a new pair when my shins start to hurt. Also shorts with a pocket.
Who is your hero?
My running buddies. I get running jealousy when people I know run amazing races or get great times, and it makes me want to do that too.
What do you like about the club?
I’ve made some life-long friends at the club and everyone is so supportive. There’s such a wide range of abilities and experience amongst the members that is so helpful and interesting. Plus the stunning countryside runs on the doorstep.
What would be your advice to a new club member?
Come along regularly and feel free to talk to anyone. Try speed work as well. It’ll challenge you and help you find people that run at a similar pace to you.
What is your running song to get you over that line?
I don’t listen to music. I like having a good conversation or listening to the birds instead!