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Ladies who run – Penny

POSTED Thursday 16 March 2017

In celebration of Women’s History Month, throughout March, we’ll be talking to women from different areas of sport and fitness in our #ladieswho series.

This week’s series is on #LadiesWhoRun. We talk to three amazing ladies who’ve fallen in love with running and find out what sparks their passion for pounding the pavement.

This is Penny’s story:


Penny Barber



Day job

Business Support Manager

How I started running

I started running in Autumn 2010 to support three young women who wanted to do Race for Life – the 10k, not the 5k of course! Their combined age was less than mine, so I thought I’d better make an effort to not show them up.

I was also working away from home a little at the time, so it was in my mind to try and run for when I missed a gym class and as an antidote to a long day of meetings.

I’ve never considered myself sporty, but have always liked simple exercise – walking and swimming. I started attending group exercise classes regularly in 1999. I thought I was pretty fit until I tried running! I tried going far too fast to start with and learnt that you only sprint to catch buses & trains.

In 2012, I was persuaded that, as I had now done two 10k races, I could do a half as part of the fundraising team for the charity I worked for – Brook Young People. So I was entered in the London Royal Parks Half and Birmingham Half. At this point, I thought I’d better train properly with people who knew something instead of pretty much making it up.

I joined my local running group and they’re just brilliant! They made it really safe to try something new. If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d not only take up running,  but be considered a good-for-my-age athlete, be in a cross country team and even ‘jog round for the points’ when my running group are very short at a track meeting, I would never have believed you – nor would anyone else!

Penny with women from her running group. Penny on the far right.


Why I love it

I just love being outdoors – it’s just like going for a walk only quicker! I enjoy being competent at a sport – this is a first for me. It’s a very handy conversation topic – if people don’t run themselves they generally know someone well who does,  or they are thinking about taking it up. The running community is just so friendly, supportive and fun.

Top tip for new runners

Do Parkrun! It’s for all abilities & inclinations and great fun.  It’s a friendly way to practice running in a group if you’re thinking of doing a race. It’s a good way to suss out running clubs if you’re thinking of joining one.

Next big race

Wilmslow Half Marathon on 19 March – home of my half PB in 2014, but I don’t think I’ll repeat that time for various reasons.


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