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Lauren’s List of Legends: Sarah Gerrish
Lauren’s List of Legends – Q and A with Sarah Gerrish
#3 Sarah Gerrish
Meet Sarah Gerrish – a gem of a human, the founder of Wonderful Wild Community and one of my favourite running / swimming / adventure buddies.
On Sunday 26th July, Sarah set a new record for The Bay Limestone Round, in a time of 11:24:13. This is a 55mile run that starts in Kents Bank (near Grange) and ends on the Pier at Arnside.
Have a read below to find out how Sarah found the 55 mile run, how she fits in this with full time work and WWW community and her favourite inspirational quote!
What inspired you to get into long distance / ultra running?
I think it was a mixture of things really but mostly just a thought of ‘I wonder if I could do this?!’. It’s been a reasonably gradual process after a couple of road marathons and a transition from road to off road running. I’ve learnt that I kind of enjoy a bit of suffering and the challenge of just getting out and my head down for a prolonged period. So in that respect I think the longer endurance challenges suit.
What inspired you to take on the Bay Limestone Round?
First off it was set up by a family friend so I was keen to support what at first glance looked like a really interesting route. Secondly I loved that I could set off walking from home and be at the start line a mile later (proper 2020 lockdown style), plus get a 10 minute train ride home if I needed to at the end!
I also liked the idea of a much more runnable trail route. I did have my eye on doing the Bob Graham Round this summer but due to logistics and where I live my ‘training’ over lockdown has hugely lacked the ascent needed for such an attempt. The Bay Limestone Round was much better suited to the running I had been doing lately.
What were the highlights of the epic 55mile route?
Ahhhh there were so many, most of which were all down to the support runners & those who popped out to say hello! It was generally just a great fun day out and having had such a long period of running alone with lockdown etc I just loved having the buzz of other runners around!
The decent off Arnside Knott was also pretty fun. I wasn’t expecting to be running as well as I was at that point so it was nice to just relax and let gravity help me down.
Did you ‘bonk’ at any point over the run? Or were there any points you were struggling mentally?
About 6 miles from the end I had a brief tough moment where I felt the fatigue really set in and a little grump rise – but it really was short lived! We’d just hit a particularly flat sloggy section, I was tipping over into new mileage territory (the longest I’d done up to then was Lakes In A Day at 50miles). The support changed around a bit then too which on a positive gives fresh legs & enthusiasm but I think I was a little aware Jenny, who also knew the route, had left, the record time was closing in & we still had to do Heald Brow – possibly the trickiest summit to find on the whole route. In the end Heald Brow was a doddle and we found it easily as I’d recced it a couple of weeks earlier & once ticked off the smiles started to return again!
If you do start to struggle mentally, how do you push on?
I think I’ve just learnt that the struggles are temporary.
Particularly with longer endurance events there are so many ups & downs and when I start to feel a bit rubbish I just keep saying to myself ‘it won’t last, you’ll feel better again soon, just ride it out!’, and I do eventually.
How do you juggle full time work, being a mum, ultra running AND organising all the fantastic WWW events?
I’m really fortunate that I have a great support network of family & friends around me & a supportive work environment. Ben & I very much co parent, Ben isn’t the kind of dad that babysits his own child! We also acknowledge and support each other’s need for time out.
I’m also not that great at sitting still so my time gets filled quickly with either doing or planning. Over the years I’ve got quite efficient with my time – that being said I am learning to say no to more things these days as down time is super important.
Do you have another challenge lined up for this or next year?
Nothing currently planned. I may set my long term goal towards a Bob Graham Round next year & just concentrate on getting stronger for that.
I have a couple of races that I wouldn’t mind incorporating into that training too if they can go ahead – namely tour de Helvellyn by Nav4.
What’s your favourite inspirational quote?
Hmmm… One that really stuck with me at a tough time was:
‘Another persons beauty is not the absence of your own’
I think it’s quite transferable in not comparing yourself to others & learning to accept your own strengths.
Sarah is fundraising for Lake District Mobility. Find her Just Giving page here: