It’s unusual to meet a runner who’s been running for over 40 years, and it’s particularly unusual for that runner to be a woman. The RunBritain rankings website lists 31,600 active runners aged 60 and over, but only 28% of them are women.
There has been a significant increase in women’s participation in distance running in the UK in the past ten years and this is reflected in much higher female participation levels in the younger age categories. Many of the active runners in the statistics are probably women who, like me, started running in their forties. There are far fewer women who have been running for thirty or forty years, compared to men.
Forty years ago, there were limited opportunities for women to participate in distance running. The women’s marathon did not make it on to the Olympic programme until 1984 and the 5000m and 10,000m were added much later. There were fewer opportunities to race, fewer medals to be won, and fewer role models.
I was delighted to be able to interview Maddy Collinge who started in running in 1977, aged 26, and has just turned 68. I was interested to find out how Maddy had got into running and how she has managed to keep running from her twenties to her sixties.Read More