We’re proud to announce that FOCXH’s chairperson, Ais (Alison) North, will be running (yes, running!) the 100 mile L2M Ultra Double on 27 May 2017. This is an enormous challenge for the fittest of people, so it may surprise some to hear that Ais is in fact a woman in her 60s. Faced with some negativity about taking part in such an event at her age, she is proving that age is just a number! #66notout

If you would kindly like to sponsor Ais for this challenge, please visit her sponsorship page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AlisonNorth1

So what made Ais want to take on this enormous challenge, I hear you ask? You might assume that someone taking part in such an extreme event has always been a long-distance runner, but actually, before 2014 the furthest Ais had ever run was 8km! Despite leading a busy and active lifestyle, she was a late-comer to endurance running.

Alison climbing

Ais grew up in Aberdeen; she always loved the outdoors. Surrounded by city, sea and countryside, all sports were open to her. As she entered adulthood, with the support of her husband she juggled being a successful business woman with motherhood; she was rarely sedentary.

It wasn’t that Ais had never jogged before, over the years she had tried it but never persevered, but when she was working in San Francisco on a court case in 2014 she discovered that she could actually run long distances. She worked very long days and realised that the only exercise she was doing was walking up and down the hill to and from work. So very early one morning, Ais went on a long walk and really enjoyed it. She made a habit of going walking when she woke, and one day she decided to see if she could jog a little as well. The jogging soon turned into running, and at 64 years old Ais was amazed at how far she could run; in fact, the further she ran the better she felt!

AlisonrunningRunning became very much a hobby for Ais, until she decided to sign up to the 100km Race to the Stones event. Her daughter, Lorna, was going to enter it, so Ais asked if she could join her and compete in this challenge. She worked hard to fit in a full 16-week training programme around her business trips around the world. Amazingly, Ais successfully completed the 100km in 20 hours, doing a combination of walking and running. She hasn’t stopped there though; she is now planning on completing the 100 mile L2M Ultra Double on 27 May 2017! Please sponsor her at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AlisonNorth1

Needless to say, Ais has dedicated a lot of time training to run such a long distance. She is passionate about encouraging others to start running, no matter what age they are. Here are Ais’s top tips for anyone who wants to start running:

  • Start with walking even if it’s only a short distance, then try to run a little and mix the walking and running. Soon you’ll be running all the time.
  • Build your core strength and flexibility too; it is important to run strongly and we need our whole body for this.
  • It’s not about speed.
  • Join a running club, or perhaps a social media community, to learn more or if you’d like to run with others.
  • Eat healthily and learn about nutrition. When we run we need fuel, but it should be the good stuff.
  • We need hydration too so don’t forget the water bottle.
  • Always talk to your doctor first if you want to take up exercise.
  • And remember, if you decide to race, every step is forward no matter how fast you go – there is no shame in finishing last.

Ais is a true inspiration. She says, “If you want to run, just get up and try. You will be amazed by what you can achieve.”

Please support Ais by sponsoring her at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AlisonNorth1. All of the sponsorship money will go to the Friends of Charing Cross Hospital (www.friendscxh.org.uk). This money will supplement a wide range of equipment and support facilities for the benefit of the hospital, the patients and the local community. Thank you for your support.

You can follow Ais on Twitter (@alison8north); Instagram (aisnorth7); and of course via the FOCXH Facebook page (@focxh).