Welcome to WE ARE WONDERWOMEN, a series of short stories from inspirational women who swim, run and cycle amongst us. Ahead of International Women’s Day on Monday 8 March 2021, I’ll be celebrating the achievements, talking about the challenges and sharing tips from a variety of women across our sporting community.
Holly is a seasoned marathoner and accomplished mountain runner who swapped pounding the pavements for time on the trails. Her achievements include 8th place at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi (2010), team Bronze at the Barcelona European Games (2010) and 12th Place and team Bronze World LC Mountain Championships in Poland (2013). It all began whilst watching the London Marathon with a beer and burger in hand.
In her story Holly shares her top tips for getting into running and how it feels to stand on the podium at the European Games.
Hello Wonderwoman! Tell us a little bit about yourself….
My name is Holly Rush, I live in Frome Somerset with my partner Pete and dog Lemmy. My main sport is running. I am the ASICS UK FrontRunner Community Manager, Run Keeper Head Coach, coach and mentor for Rushbynature and co host of Marathon Talk podcast. I have been running for 23 years now! Running really is my life, its my job and my pleasure.
How did you get into running?
I was watching London Marathon (I was a student in London) in 1997 – burger and beer in hand and I told my friends ‘I am going to do this next year”. I got a charity place and ran my first race in London 1998.
What is your biggest achievement?
Has to be getting to the European Athletics Championships in 2010 from being a charity runner. Standing on the podium in the Barcelona Olympic stadium to receive my medal was something I would never have dreamt of.
What inspires you?
My mum. She is tough, hard working and has strong morals. I don’t think anyone could have had a bigger influence on my life. She has always supported me but never indulged me. She has let me make my own mistakes without judgement but tells me if I am out of line. I respect her immensely.
What motivates you to get through a challenging session or tough point in a race?
RACE: That I know that someone behind me is probably going through more hell than me right now and they will finish! If they can do it so can I.
SESSION: I rarely give up in a session unless I am injured. Not all sessions go well but they are all useful in themselves – it’s about the effort! I am motivated by the accumulation of tough sessions not just one.
What do you think the biggest challenges for women getting into running are, and what tips or advice might you have to overcome these?
Personally, I don’t think there are challenges. If you want it enough you will make a way. I have always just gone for it if it’s something that lights my fire (again I probably get this from my mum?) However, I don’t have children so I guess this is the biggest challenge for women with families having to juggle child care and general time.
What are your top three tips for women getting into running ?
Tip 1: get a running buddy. Doesn’t have to be a club. I know these can be intimidating but if you find someone similar to you, sharing the running journey together is a great help and will definitely make you get out the door when the weather is foul.
Tip 2: Get a good running bra. I made this mistake in my first marathon, the chaffing was real!
Tip 3: Don’t do too much too soon. Running is all about consistency. Injuries are part of life but the less you have the more successful and consistent you will become as a runner. Don’t neglect the rest and recovery and defiantly do strength work every week (try and get some advice from a good strength coach)
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
Always remember your WHY……why did you start this running journey? Why are you doing this run today? Why are you hurting/injured?
Thank you for sharing your story and tips! You can catch up with Holly on the ASICS FrontRunner team webpage or her Instagram page, where you can also find lots of lovely dog spam and indulge in the beautiful trails on her doorsetep. Holly is also a coach with a strong belief in the benefits of running and weight training, if you’d like to know more about her programmes take a look at her website.
All throughout the first week in March I have been sharing the stories from incredible inspiring women who run, walk, cycle and swim amongst us. You can check out the full We are WONDERWOMEN here.