An interview with Emma and running Ultras

What do you do to keep fit?

I work as a landscape Gardner/designer and also as a personal trainer. I love walking my dog, running, fell running and also just recently bought a paddle board. I basically love anything that keeps me moving 😁

What is your favourite sport?

Fell running is my passion. I started off road running but always felt the need to run too fast. I was initially afraid of running out on trails but once I found myself off road, I realised it was more me. I love finding new trails I never knew were there. I feel good out on the hills and found my joy. I also have no knee pain, there is less impact on my joints running off road. I’ve discovered I’m a good downhill runner which I love.

How do you feel when you are out running?

I lose myself in the moment. Sometimes I think a lot about things but mostly I just switch off. I have a very busy brain so its good for me to find that peace; it grounds me. It’s also just a positive thing to do something you love and you get a sense of achievement whatever the distance.

What are your greatest achievements/most memorable moments?

I really remember my first 10K. It was the Manchester 10K which I ran for my dads charity. It was a big deal for me to run 10K then and I felt so emotional to have achieved it. It led me onto more running.

The most poignant run was the Cortina Ultra in the Dolomites. I was blown away by the enormity of the mountains and the distance/elevation (The Cortina Ultra is 50km and has 2,800 metres of elevation). I turned up with my old backpack and probably the wrong gear; surrounded by very professional looking runners with fancy gear from many different countries. It was amazing though and the people are so friendly and helpful. That’s something you find in trail running in general.

Emma before the Cortina d’ampezzo Ultra
Emma running the Cortina Ultra another year

Do you have any comical moments to share?

Well I lost my trainer once. It was an ultra marathon in Leeds. I thought I was just running through fields and then my foot sank right down up to my calf. It turns out it was a bog; I tried pulling my leg out and promptly fell over in the bog. I was then not only without trainer but resembled a buffalo rolling around in the mud 😆.

What is your fitness background prior to the running?

I always wanted to be a dancer. I did a bit of running with my dad but I wasnt really into it back then. I loved contemporary dance and ballet and got into dance college. For personal reasons that didn’t happen and my life took a different course and I became a florist.

How did you go from Florist to Personal Trainer and why?

I did it for my own benefit really. I still do florist work but I wanted to be injury free when running and I was doing more and more Ultras. I had trained for 15 years with my own personal trainer and I still see him now and again. I wanted to learn more about it and be stronger. I love it now and its my passion to help other people. You can find Emmas website here: https://en-gb.facebook.com/peaktrailspt/

You’ve mentioned Ultras plural, which Ultras have you done?

I’ve done the Cortina in the Dolomites, Italy, twice (48km with 2,600m elevation); the Eiger in Switzerland (51km, 2,800m elevation), Mont Blanc (56km and 3,500m elevation). I attempted the Bullock Smithy in the Peak District and I’ve done a few Punk Panther Ultras including the Punk Panther Ultra Leeds (80km) and the Ring O Fire (135 miles around the Isle of Anglesey). I prefer to do ones where I can get points that allow me to do Ultras abroad.

The Eiger Ultra Trail, Grindelwald, Switzerland 2017
Emma running a training trail marathon on Snowdon
Emma with her Mont Blanc medal

What goals/dreams do you have in relation to your running?

I’d like to run every European Mountain or better said the main mountain in every European Country. I was supposed to do the Pyrenees this year but it was cancelled due to the pandemic. I also want to keep helping other people. I would love to guide people to run and realise you can do this no matter what shape you are. You cant always give someone that motivation though. It’s all about self worth and self aspiration, it comes from within.

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