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‘What’s My Next Challenge’ – By Team Member Kelly Taylor

My running journey started nearly 10 years ago now.

I’d always been into sport and working out, but I had also been over weight most of my adult life.

It wasn’t until I moved to Windsor, Berkshire with my now Husband that I found my love for running.

We live 2 minutes from Windsor Castle and The Long Walk which leads to the amazing Great Park.

So, one day I decided instead of going to the gym I would walk to the castle and see how far I could run down the long walk. I was so amazed I managed to run some of it and it eventually became a regular thing and I was running further and further. I finally felt like a runner the day I ran from Windsor Castle gates to the Copper Horse along the long walk!! The view was incredible but then it dawned on me …… I had to run back!! This was the 1st time I ran 5 miles and I was super proud of myself. This route became a regular running route and I would run it a couple of times a week before work on my days off.

In Nov 2010 my friend lost her baby at 42weeks pregnant and I decided to help them raise money for the neonatal department at the hospital so I challenged myself to run The Silverstone Half marathon in March 2011!! This was a massive challenge considering I’d only ever done a couple of 5km Race for Life races in the past. And I was also at my biggest weight of 16 and a half stone. I didn’t really follow a training plan but just gradually increased my mileage weekly.

I completed the race and all I can say is I felt like I was running but I think it was more like a walk but I’d completed my 1st Half Marathon in 3hrs 15mins and raised just over £1000 for the Hillingdon Neonatal department.

I didn’t do much running after Silverstone as the pain I experienced was like no other………….fast forward a few years.

My hubby had proposed and we were planning our wedding so I joined my local Slimming World group to shed some pounds before our Big Day. I lost 1st 8lbs before our Wedding and dropped 3 dress sizes. My hubby then decided to lose weight and we have now lost 20 stone between us.

When I got to my target weight of 10st 6lbs totalling 6 stone loss I decided it was time to set myself some more challenges so I set myself 4 challenges to help me get fit again and to help me keep the weight off.

Challenge 1 – Sprint Triathlon – June 2015

Challenge 2 – Windsor Half Marathon – Sept 2015

Challenge 3 – Great South Run – Oct 2015 and

Challenge 4 – Skydive – Nov 2015 – A lifelong dream which I’d never been able to do as I was always over the maximum weight!!

I felt on top of the world and I loved all the events and they were so much easier as I was sooooo much lighter!

Everyone kept saying to me a Marathon next and I always said ‘Never’, there’s no way I could run 2 half marathons back to back!!

In Jan 2016 I quit my full-time office job and became a full time Slimming World Consultant. I now run 10 groups a week looking after around 400 members a week. I love helping people change their lives and achieve their dreams. Not working 9 to 5 gives me time for me and this is how I’ve really increased my running.

My running has also inspired my members to take up running and just get those legs moving. I always recommend they start with the couch 2 5k app so they can gradually build up and some of them have now completed their 1st Half Marathons.

I’d now completed several 10k races, 3 half marathons and 2 Great South runs – one with my husband which was incredible considering when I married him he was 14 stone heavier and wouldn’t of run for a bus in fact in that race he actually beat me which he’s never going to let me forget!!

So, what next ………..Well Another Challenge of course … picture the scene ….. we’ve been on a 12 day All Inclusive Royal Caribbean Cruise and 3 days in NYC, we are sat waiting at the airport, I’d drank and ate far too much and just felt gross. An ad on FB popped up for Brighton Marathon and it was on my Birthday the following April so I thought why not let’s give it a go, so I signed up whilst sat at Newark airport!! Everyone thought I was bonkers to want to run it on my Birthday but I had a year to train and found a training plan and just gradually built my mileage up and started to raise money for The MS Society.

On my journey to the marathon I had a couple of injuries but I was determined to complete the race no matter what. 15th April 2018 was my 37th Birthday and it was amazing I had a t-shirt made up and everyone wished me Happy Birthday along the route. I’d met another slimming world consultant a few months before whose husband and friends were completing the race so I ran the 1st 6 miles with them which was great. Don’t get me wrong it was hard and even though my back went 8 miles into the race and my knee then went at 20 miles and the pain was unbearable I’d still completed my 1st Marathon in 5hrs 34mins & 53secs and raised just over £2000 for MS Society. I can’t thank my hubby enough for running the last 2 miles with me to help me reach that finish line without him I’m sure it would have been closer to 6hrs. I was proud of myself but also disappointed as my body had let me down. I hit a real low after the Brighton Marathon and consistently felt lost. So, I started entering more races – 4 half Marathons and another Marathon to be precise.

I absolutely loved the training through the summer for Valencia in Dec and had a Half marathon every month in the build up to the Marathon.

I loved Valencia Marathon it was my 1st race outside of the UK and would highly recommend it from the ease of collecting your BIB to the most impressive finish line I’ve ever seen. I took selfies all the way round and just loved the race. The entertainment was amazing and really helped spur me on and the best bit was my body held out and I got that sub 5hr marathon, smashing 40 mins off my Brighton time, but again I had that lost feeling so what better way to get over it but to sign up for more races !!

I completed Brighton Marathon again on 14th April and a friend had also put my name forward to a local charity for London Marathon 2019 and I only went and bagged myself a place so I decided to do both even though they were only 2 weeks apart and meaning I would of run 4 Marathons in 54wks. Everyone again thought I was crazy but I’d caught the bug.

London was incredible, I wanted to relive the experience so I invested in a Go Pro to take with me so I could film the big landmarks and share with my friends and family the amazing atmosphere you experience along the way. I was in tears as I crossed the finish line and not because of relief but tears of pure joy. I’d just run the LONDON MARATHON the one race I’ve watched on TV every year and said I’ll never do that!!! And raised over £4000 for a local charity- The MS Therapy centre in Berkshire. They were an amazing charity to run for and nicknamed me “Their little Marathon Runner”.

So, my journey doesn’t end there just before London, I signed up for my next Marathon so I could put a stop to the lost feeling once and for all.

I have a few challenges in the pipeline which will take me several years to complete and will also see me travel the world in my trainers.

Challenge One is to complete Abbotts World Majors Six Star challenge. So, I’m currently training for Berlin Marathon (29th Sept) and have also got myself a place in Tokyo Marathon 2020 via charity and New York Marathon 2020 via Strava which just leaves only Chicago and Boston Marathons to go to complete the six stars.

Challenge Two is to run the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World in Florida which comprises of 5k, 10k, Half & Full Marathon in 4 consecutive days!!

Boston Marathon is going to be the hardest race to get entry for and I will need a qualifying time to get a place so this is where Purdue Performance came into my life.

I was searching for running coaches to help me improve my fitness and times so I can achieve that qualifying time one day.

I’ve been working with Charlotte and Adam since 1st June 2019 and I’m loving the training especially the tempo runs which I’d never done before and I’ve found a love for track running too.

I completed my 1st race on Sunday since starting with Team PP and completed the half marathon beating my course PB by 7 mins, so I’m super excited for what the future brings and know that if anyone is going to help me get a Boston Qualifying time it’s Adam and Charlotte.

So, the moral of the story is never say never and challenge yourself to be the best version of yourself.

Instagram: @kellytaylor_runstheworld

Quick Fire Questions:

1) Favourite Race

That’s hard as I’ve loved them all for different reasons.

But if I had to pick one it would have to be The London Marathon at the moment.

2) Favourite post-race food

Champagne and a Birthday Cake Grenade bar …… A FAB combo lol!!

3) Hardest thing you find about running

Not beating myself up if I have a bad run

4) Favourite Film

Top Gun – I’m super excited for Top Gun 2

5) Pre-Race Song

Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars