Alice's inspirational running story: "Running has helped me on so many levels."
"The thing that keeps me running is the way I feel whenever I complete a run. When I am done I always feel amazing."
My name is Alice Leadbeter. I live between Newmarket and Cambridge in a large village in the UK. I have three lively boys aged 13, 11 and 9 and a non-runner husband. I am a part time primary school teacher in a local school teaching 5-7 year olds. Sometimes I wonder how I find the time to run but it is my non-negotiable, my family will sometimes send me out running as they know that I will come back a much better person.
The one thing that most people would not guess about me if they met me now is how completely shy I was when I was a teenager. I grew my hair long so that it covered my face. I never looked anybody in the eye and I would say sorry several times a sentence. I do still apologise a lot but never would have I have thought it possible that I would be leading a running group, posting on social media and having a lot of fun. I was honestly too scared to have fun.
I have run since my early 20’s when a friend of mine from the gym took me outside and showed me how to run. I have never looked back. At school I hated cross country and did anything I could to get out of it, if only someone had bothered to show me how to run back then…I started running in the days before the internet (yes, I am that old) but that didn’t stop me. Over the years I have built up a huge knowledge about running, through the internet, social media, reading and from other people.
Running has helped me on so many levels. It helped me to get through severe post-natal depression after having my children. Then later, to come to terms with it as I shared my story whilst raising money to run the London marathon. It has shown me how strong and determined I am and it has helped me to raise money and awareness for causes close to my heart. It has also given me some lifelong friends and transformed me into the confident person that I am today. Most importantly however, it keeps me sane in my day to day life. It makes me more efficient and a much happier person. It also makes me a good role model for my children who also like to be active and sometimes come out running with me.
The thing that keeps me running is the way I feel whenever I complete a run. I may have to force myself out of the door and I may not enjoy the run but when I am done I always feel amazing. When life throws every curve ball going – running is my life line. I also love the way that I am able to set myself new challenges. I have absolutely no idea why I do this to myself but I am unable to stop myself and say no. I guess it is my adrenaline thrill; testing myself to see how far I can push myself. And fun is another important thing, I am constantly surprising myself, with the silly things that I say or do but my funniest running experience was when I went into the female urinals at the start of the London marathon. We walked into the enclosure to be faced with lots of bare bottoms. As we stood there ourselves we all giggled, all complete strangers bonding whilst in the most ridiculous situation ever!
When I heard about 261 Fearless I was beyond excited and I wanted to be a part of it. Kathrine is an amazing lady and I am proud to be helping her with her goals and vision. I see it as my chance to share all the amazing benefits that I have got from running with others. I have had my low points in life and running helped me. If I can help others then I will try and this is an obvious way to do it. In some ways it is my way of giving back. The feedback that we have had from the ladies in our club has been amazing. People that have not run feel that they are able to come and have a go with us. We laugh, we have fun and we exercise but we all do it at our own level. If there were men present the dynamic would probably be different. Being women only we open up to each other very quickly, we are all in it together and have this special understanding. Going forward with my vision for the club is to continue for it to be the highlight of mine and the ladies’ weeks. It would be lovely to think that some of our members may become a trainer themselves so that we can spread and reach out to even more ladies. Here in the UK we are at the beginning of a very exciting journey and I am really honoured to be a part of it. Whatever I can do to reach out and to include more ladies then I will do it.
When I don’t run or take care of my family, I enjoy my other hobbies, as well as running I enjoy crafting; knitting, crochet and sewing clothes - I have even had a crochet pattern published! How I fit everything in I have no idea. I don’t like sitting still for long!