Introducing Mel Barrett who’s one of our ambassadors for Run the Blades. If you haven’t met Mel at the event before, you’ve probably heard her! She’s been a huge supporter of ours, a (loud) vocal advocate of the race and the community that surrounds the event, hater of ‘that fucking hill’, lover of our medals. Mum, personal trainer, runner, business owner, all round badass!
We did a quick fire Q &A with Mel a couple of weeks ago to find out a bit more about her.
Q1. Describe yourself in 5 words.
A.1 Determined, impulsive, ambitious , caring and fun-loving (technically that’s six sorry ).
Q2. How would others describe you?
A.2 I have absolutely no clue how others would describe me so I asked my friends and family, they said , passionate , supportive , ambitious , funny, team player, empowering , independent and heart of gold ( their cheques are in the post ).
Q3. What’s your sporting claim to fame?
A.3 Getting a Guinness world record for participating in the most people to run a remote marathon (London) in 24 hours . 37,966 of us took part on October 4th, 2020.
Q4. What has your running journey looked like?
A.4 My running journey has by no means been linear, I started running with my dad aged around 8, we would do 4 miles down the river where we lived when he got in from work which I loved although this stopped when he developed bad arthritis and was unable to continue a few years later. I continued to run at school, mainly cross country and I got put down often to do the 800/1500m which I HATED, I’m not built for speed and I’m not ashamed to say I hate hurting and running fast hurts!
I stopped running when I left school, I did it sporadically, but I was more interesting in going out partying. By then, in 2014, I had put on a fair bit of weight after my first pregnancy and I decided I needed to do something for me and to feel good about myself again, so I got my trainers out and started running again. In 2015 I started entering races and got the buzz for it; that nervous anticipation as you all line up together and wait for the start gun. There’s nothing like it .I also qualified as a personal trainer that year and my running became a way of life – I needed to do it , it was my stress relief. I had my second child in Dec 2016 and not long after my fiancé told me about RTB and despite never having ran further than a half marathon we signed up to the 50km- and I’ve not looked back. I was hooked on long distance running.
There’s been low points since with bad injuries and not being able to run for 3 months after covid knocked me sideways and no longer being able to run at my old pace. But once thing that’s never changed is my sheer pig-headedness to never quit trying and I hope to continue running until I shuffle off this earth.
Q5. What barriers has there been to that?
A.5 It’s certainly been hard fitting in all of my running and training in around my kids and running my business and I’ve been up as early as 3am to fit longer runs in before my other half leaves for work. I’ve also ran miles in loops around parks while my kids play to ensure I don’t drop a session which is a real mental battle. Injury and covid again threw up huge barriers and all of us have at some point been affected by the two, but a huge one for me is the financial barriers. This so called inexpensive hobby actually costs a small fortune, especially as you branch out into my main goal is to run all 6 world marathon majors, so far I’m 2 down and several thousand pounds lighter with 4 still to go…….it may take a while to complete….
Q6. How many times have you participated in RTB and what is it that makes you return?
2018-50km, the night one
2019 – 50 km, the night one
I ran RTB 50km before I’d even ran a marathon and I fell in love with it (yes even that disgusting hill). I loved how friendly it was and felt like a real community, no egos or nonsense and impersonality that you sometimes get at the bigger events. We were all on the same team , we all wanted each other to succeed in completing the race, you weren’t just a number on the entry list , it felt like you where more than that, like you personally mattered , the organisers and volunteers wanted to hear about you and your story, they were genuinely interested . Also, the other runners were so friendly before, during and after the race. It never felt like you were alone and I think that’s a rare thing in an event and just goes to show what a great job Lee and the team at BSE have done in building this event community.
Q7. Do you feel RTB is an inclusive event towards women?
A.7 Absolutely yes !!!!!!from the girls at the start who give you your number right through to the volunteers at every aid station shouting encouragement and asking if you need anything to the girls taking your pictures on the course and the ones at the end cheering you home like things possessed! I’ve made some lifelong friendships with some of the women at this event and I’m sure many past entrants would agree. There is no male/female divide at RTB, we are all just equal nutters trying to make it up that hill to get our bling and give Lee the finger for putting it there in the first place. 😉