I was amazed to find a comment on the posting walled gardens for minors  from Mike Gerard. It has been a long time. Apart from being an exceptional work colleague during my time at CERN, he also agreed to be the coach for a team of us ladies (we were about 6) that would run the CERN relay every year at the end of May. The core team was myself (British), Monica Marinucci (Italian ), Maite (Spanish ), Aneta Baran (Polish ), Leanne Guy(Aussie ), Irmeli Svenson (Swedish), and Catherine Charbonnier (French) We also had some that came and went, sorry if I missed your names ladies 😉

I think the first year we ran it was in 1998. Each of us needed to run 1km, and OK for you fit guys out there this is nothing, but for us it was like a marathon as none of us were runners.  Mike used to take us out twice a week leading up to this race. He was amazing, he also got some stick from his colleagues when he was caught running around CERN with 6 ladies puffing in tow 🙂

We did so well that we even got medals in first or second place in our ‘ladies only’ team category a couple of years. After the first race I trained in earnest and have since run a whole load of half marathons and two full marathons (incl. NYC), and every time I have stood at the starting line I think of Mike and what he said that made me believe that I could run, how I said that I didn’t have a runners form, almost as though it was out of my control, I was getting to that age where the kilos were starting to load. He said that “you needed to run in order to get a runners’ form”. He was right, it is the chicken and egg thing. So I started to run… and got that runner’s form and I remember that one day when he said to me “now you are starting to look and run like a runner”. This made me feel very proud.

Apart from running I have since done tjevassen (ladies cross country skiing race) twice 30km, and once a race on skis of 45km. I have done an ice-skating race of 30km across the Swedish lakes. I have three times cycled tjevatten (ladies cycling) of 90km each. I have swam in tjevarnbroswimmet 1km upstream in water of only 16 degrees (with a wetsuit ;-)). I have trekked across the mountains with a 10kg rucksack on touring skis, got stuck in snow blizzards and survived. I even canoe and take a tent to sleep in overnight. In fact it makes me what I am today, determined and much more, getting mentally younger every year I get physically older. My personal moto is that “there is no excuse for not trying”.

More importantly if I had never started running I would have never met my very fine viking man soon after arriving in Sweden who has since become my husband. We met in a running club, at that time when running was my only life outside of my work. So this is why I feel nostalgic, if it wasn’t for Mike’s encouragement I would not have what I have today, and it is those things that money cannot buy 🙂

I don’t normally name people in full on my blog for obvious reasons, but I wanted Mike to get this public thank you from me and from the team, and this is the best way I can think of to do this 🙂