RunYoung50Running blogs by women over 50
If you are interested in finding out more about the experiences of women runners over 50 have a look at some of the blogs listed here.
In 2013 when I first started looking for blogs by women runners over 50 I only found a handful but gradually that number has grown to include American, Canadian and British bloggers. I’ve only included blogs where there have been recent and fairly regular posts.
I’ve noticed that a lot of the women on this list are ultrarunners and this makes me wonder if women over 50 are particularly drawn to running longer distances. I did a bit of research into this, looking at races in the UK, which you can read here.
Do let me know if you follow other blogs by women runners aged 50+ so I can add them to this list. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do.
Since joining Leamington Cycling & Athletics Club in 1986, Sue Harrison has run well over 50,000 miles in training and racing and that’s what led her to call her blog “Twice around the world and still running“. Sue, who turned 50 in 2021, is a top-class distance and ultrarunner. She’s ranked tenth in the all-time British rankings for 20 miles, third for 50k and fifth for 100k. She has represented England and Great Britain and has competed several times in the IAU World and European 100k Championships.
Whilst Sue has always been very motivated by training for races, in 2020 she wrote, “Since lockdown began I’ve realised that actually I don’t need races to motivate me to get outdoors and run. Running is part of me; it’s who I am and is as much a part of my life as eating, sleeping or cleaning my teeth!”
Maggie Cooper is a runner in her fifties from Wirral, Merseyside who has loved running since she was very young. She competes for her running club, Wirral AC, and coaches children there. Maggie’s blog is also a podcast. It covers a wide range of topics, including coaching, running technique, running kit and nutrition. Maggie is a scientist and some of her articles draw on academic evidence. Her podcast frequently features guests who are runners, coaches or experts in a particular field.
Reflecting on 2020, Maggie wrote: “I now know that running is important to me and it isn’t just about the competition, it’s about something more than that, about helping, encouraging and supporting each other to be the best that we can be, whatever the circumstances.”
Jacquie Millett started running at 57. I first heard about her when she was interviewed on the Marathon Talk podcast (episode #231), shortly after she had won the v60 age group at the Comrades Ultramarathon in South Africa. Jacquie runs marathons and ultramarathons with her daughter Camilla Longlands and they have run over 100 marathons together in many different countries. In their this is how we run blog, they review races and give tips based on their experience.
Audrey McIntosh is an ultra runner from Glasgow who took up running in her mid-thirties. In her blog she writes about her running and reflects on related topics. She ran her first marathon in 2003 and has run more than 45 races at marathon or ultra distance. Since 2013 Audrey has organised the Loch Katrine Running Festival. She has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity. Her current challenge is to run a 100k ultramarathon in extreme conditions on each continent. Audrey writes: “I’m fully aware that other runners have completed more races, have clocked up more miles, and run faster. But ticking boxes is not my driver. For me, running is all about the sense of purpose and well being it brings.”
Karen Nash is an ultra runner from Preston with a love of fell running, trail running and climbing. Her blog contains detailed accounts of long-distance, off-road races. She races regularly, often finishing first female. In May 2018, aged 57, she was the first woman to finish, and fourth overall, in the Northern Traverse, a self-supported, 190-mile race with over 16,000 feet of ascent, coast to coast from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay. A lifelong runner, Karen says: “As I got older, slower and more injured I moved to longer races and found the ultra series. I may not be all that fast compared to some but I love the long days and friendship this has given me.”
Nicky Spinks is an accomplished fellrunner, who has set many records on British long-distance fell runs. In 2016 she became the fastest person to run a Double Bob Graham Round, running the Lake District route twice – 132 miles in 45 hours 30 minutes. In 2018 she became the first person to run a Double Paddy Buckley Round in Wales and in 2019 the first to run a Double Ramsay Round in Scotland. Nicky is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed at 39. She farms in Yorkshire and records her farming life and running life in a diary on her website.
Hannah Kirkman turned 50 in 2016 and has been running since her twenties, when she began training for her first marathon. She began Chi running (applying the principles of T’ai Chi to running) to overcome injury and subsequently went on to qualify as an instructor. She runs Chi running courses and is also a personal trainer. She writes blog posts about her running and races and on general running topics. In April 2017 she delighted to run her fastest half marathon for over 15 years.
Jenny Baker started running in 1999 and has run 5 marathons. In her blog she reflects on the part running plays in her life and says: “Running has been many things to me – a space to achieve new things, a way to keep fit and stay healthy, a source of friendship and community.” In 2015, just after her 50th birthday, Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer and she documented her experience of treatment, recovery and running on her blog. Her book about this: “Run for Your Life” was published in January 2017.
Ronnie Haydon, author of the Marathon Gran blog, is a writer and journalist who lives in London. She describes Marathon Gran as “a belated marathon training blog from a woman with something to prove”. Ronnie ran the London Marathon in 2015 in under 3 hours 45 minutes, a time which falls well within the Good For Age qualifying time for women in her age category (50-59).
Mimi Anderson is a former British ultrarunner in her fifties who took up running at 36 and has run the world’s most famous ultra races including the Marathon des Sables (the Sahara), Comrades (South Africa), Badwater (US) and Spartathlon (Greece). She also holds Guinness World Records: fastest female running from John O’Groats to Lands End; fastest crossing on foot of Ireland; and furthest distance covered by a woman on a treadmill in 7 days (403.81 miles if you were wondering). Sadly as a result of a knee injury Mimi has had to retire from ultrarunning and is now focusing on swimming and cycling. Her blog now is mainly about swimming and cycling, but if you look at older posts you’ll find lots of information about the ultras she completed, her training and preparation for races.
Angela Shepherd works in Public Health and has a particular interest in helping people to get more active. After running many half marathons and marathons, Angela developed a passion for ultrarunning and trail racing. In 2019, she ran seven races of marathon distance or longer, including the Hardmoors 60 and The Wall (70 miles) ultra race. Angela’s Running Over the Hill blog features race reviews and other articles related to running. Angela and I met for the first time at the Snake Lane 10 in 2015.
Karen Guttridge is a British runner who began running in her early 50s, partly because her doctor told her that she had osteopenia, and suggested that exercise could help to reverse it. She also quickly recognised that she was motivated by racing. In her blog, Running Like a Wrinkly, she says “The reason you go running – your WHY – is the single most crucial aspect of your running plan.” Karen’s blog features lots of advice for runners as well as articles about her training and races.
Rivka Cymbalist from Montreal is a long distance runner in her sixties who competed in the Edinburgh Marathon in 2019. A former midwife and doula who has lived in several countries, Rivka now runs a cafe with her son. In her blog Dreamchaser she writes about her life, the issues that matter to her and her running experiences, including races. Rivka describes herself as “a ‘back-of-the-pack’ racer” and says she is “happy and grateful that my body works so well”.
Carolin Botterill from Calgary, Alberta has called her blog Accidental Ultra Runner. She began running in her 30s to get fit and lose weight and over time began to set herself harder challenges, motivated by the question “Could I do this?” She travels the world competing in multi-day ultra races and has completed the 230km Jungle Ultra in Peru three times, including in 2016 when Nikki Love was also a competitor. She posts a few articles each year about her races and has also written about how ultra running has helped her to cope with anxiety and depression. She writes: “I still don’t have that “runner’s body”, yet I have discovered that this body I do have is capable of so much more than I ever thought it could be. It has led me on some amazing adventures…. It gets me there. I keep pushing it to see where its limits lie, but so far I have not found those limits.”
Debbie Norman is an ultrarunner in her sixties from rural Lafayette County in Missouri. Debbie began running at 42 and ran her first ultra in 2011 aged 51. She has run 50k, 50 mile, 101k and 100 mile races. In her blog, Debbie writes about training, running and racing and reflects on some of the challenges we face as runners and as older runners. Her posts feature some beautiful photographs of the routes she runs. Ultras are very much a family affair for her as her husband and three children all run and the family crew for each other and support each other at races. Debbie says “All of my life I have had a stubborn streak. If someone says to me ‘You can’t do that’, something inside me wells up and says ‘Oh yeah? Watch me!'”
Mary Lou Harris is a runner and race director in her seventies from Pennsylvania. In her Still a Runner blog, she writes about travel, races she’s run, race directing and general running topics. Her races have included the Boston Marathon, National Senior Games and 50k trail races. Mary Lou’s thoughtful articles include reflections on her own experience of ageing.
Ellen Maude is a trail and ultra runner in her fifties from Seattle, Washington State. She specialises in hiking and running demanding wilderness trails, often with a group of female friends. Her Mauderunner blog and Instagram account feature beautiful photographs of the scenery and flora and fauna from her adventures. In 2018, she ran the 93-mile Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier and completed her first 100-mile race, the Javelina Jundred. Ellen writes: “Running a lot is my passion. I love my weekends in the mountains, testing my limits; exercising my heart and lungs and muscles and soul; and feasting on fresh air, views, and the expanse of nature.”
Miriam Diaz Gilbert is an ultrarunner, author and independent scholar in her sixties who has been running competitively for over 30 years. Since taking up ultrarunning in 2005, she’s run 50 mile, 100 mile and 24-hour races. In her blog Miriam interviews ultrarunners and older athletes and reviews running books. She also has a page with articles about her ultra races and a page with accounts of hiking in the National Parks. Miriam writes: “Ultrarunning, writing, blogging, and hiking are all very similar. All require discipline, patience, perseverance, and pacing. And so does life!”
In her fifties Pam Chapman Markle chose a 100 mile ultra as her first marathon race. Over the following years she began to run more ultras, often setting course age group records. She specialises in 100 milers or more and in 2016 got a place at the Badwater 135, setting a v60 age group record. She ran Badwater again in 2017, 2018 and 2019, setting an age group record each time and improving her time by nearly 7 hours since 2016. Pam writes occasional blog posts about her races. She says “I want older women to look at me and realize that they can still accomplish whatever they set their heart and their mind to.”
Sherry Fijas from Buffalo writes a blog called The Wrinkled Runner. Sherry began running at 40 to lose weight. Her husband started running soon afterwards and she became more serious about running as they prepared for their first half marathon together. Sherry writes about her running and publishes recipes. She also has a Youtube channel. She says “I really believe that if you listen to your body, you can do things you didn’t think you would be able to.”
Kimberly Hatting, author of the Running on the Fly blog, is an enthusiastic distance runner who loves racing. Kim runs outside all year round despite the cold winters in Iowa where she lives. She started running seriously in 2005, extending her distance over time until she ran her first ultra in 2015. The half marathon remains her favourite distance. She races frequently, sometimes 3 or 4 events in a month. Kim says “I love long runs! I am an endurance person and love the challenge of going further and further.”
Beth Risdon is the author of a very popular running blog called Shut Up + Run. Beth lives in Colorado and turned 50 in 2017. She started running in her early 40s and her first race was a marathon in January 2009. Beth takes a no-holds-barred approach to writing about running and life. “I love to run. I also love to write. I believe in holding nothing back. I believe in telling the truth. I believe in being real. I’m sure it offends some, but I’m also sure it resonates with more.”
Deb, the author of the Deb Runs blog, ran at school and college. She decided to run a marathon as her 40th birthday present. Her time in that first marathon in 1997 was fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon and she run over 40 marathons since, as well as many other races. She works in the fitness industry and leads a running group. Her frequent blog posts cover a wide range of topics including race reviews, running tips and boot camp workouts.
Judy, the author of the Chocolaterunsjudy blog describes herself as “an older, slower runner with a passion for half marathons and chocolate”. Her blog features lots of recipes as well as her reflections on running. She lost a lot of weight in her late forties and took up running. She is now on a mission to run a Half Marathon in every state and runs 2 or 3 a year. She says: “If you think you’re too old, too fat, too slow to run, I’m here to tell you differently, to cheer you on every step of the way & hopefully to sometimes inspire you.”
Taking the Long Way Home is “a running blog by someone who doesn’t want to act her age”. Wendy Rivard uses her blog to link up with other women running bloggers. Wendy has been running for more than 20 years and her favourite distance is the half marathon. She is using cross fit techniques in her training and finding that the increase in her strength benefits her running. Wendy was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2016 and her site includes useful links to resources and support.
Darlene Cardillo was already in her fifties when she started running in 2008 and says she was “searching for the Fountain of Youth”. Now in her sixties she’s still setting personal records. This is even more impressive when you learn that she broke her ankle in 2011 and needed 6 months to recover. Darlene loves to race and would race every weekend if she could. Read about her races and other running adventures in her blog.
Libby James has set national age group records in her seventies and eighties and received numerous awards. In January 2013 she set an age group world record in the Disney World Half Marathon in Orlando, Florida, beating the previous record by 4 minutes. She says “In the back of my mind, I’d always thought I’d quit when I turned 70, but when the time came I was having too much fun.” These days Libby’s blog mainly features articles reflecting on her life and current events but there are occasional mentions of running. In 2018, at 81, she ran a 10k in 53.16, earning an age grading of 102.55%. You can hear an interview with Libby in episode 167 of the Marathontalk podcast from 2013.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments about your favourite blogs by women runners over 50.
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