Louise Cantley

Brathay 10in10 Athlete

I am 55 years young (although Garmin says my fitness age is 20, which I’ll take) and I’m single. By day I’m CEO with Progress To Change, a charity based in Leeds, that supports men and women on release from prison. Running gives me freedom, headspace, a good buzz and sets me up for the day.

The older I’ve got the madder my running challenges have become. In 2019 I did my first ASICS Windermere Marathon. The other participants were so friendly and I got chatting to a man who said he had done the Brathay 10in10 a couple of years earlier. It sounded challenging but an amazing experience. I did not pluck up the courage to apply for the 2020 event, but I’ve increased my mileage a lot over the last year and I’m determined to give it my all in 2022. My target is to complete the event, hopefully in less than double the time it takes Adam Holland!

A number of running highlights come to mind. The Paris Marathon in 2013 stands out because of the great course around some of the major sights. Completing it was special because I spent Friday night throwing up and on Saturday I was mugged on the Metro. I was absolutely determined to complete the course on the Sunday and take that medal home.

In 2019, I ran 18 miles from Ilkley to Leeds with Anna McNuff who had invited runners to join her on her Barefoot Britain journey. It was great to be part of it and meet like-minded others, although my trainers stayed firmly on my feet! Reflecting now, this inspired me to push on and have more confidence in my ability.

In June 2021, I finished Rat Race The Wall, a 70 miles event from Carlisle to Newcastle. I didn't know whether I could go the distance as I stood on the start line, but I always believed I could. A positive mindset is everything, as is wearing comedy shorts.

Throughout my adult life, all of my employment has been geared to supporting others and I’m a firm believer in equality and economic and social justice. I’ve witnessed the damage that poverty and disadvantage do and this inspires me to raise as much as I can to support the work of Brathay Trust because it is crucial to improving the life chances of some young people. Running has given me so much and supported me through some tough times, so it is time to give something back.

Without doubt, this is the biggest running challenge of my life and I’m going to give it the respect it deserves. It is going to feel grueling at times and I’m sure I will have those 'what are you doing' days. When this happens I’ll remind myself why I’m doing it, have a bar of chocolate and crack on. I’m resilient and determined. Will it be enough? In 2022 it will be 20 years since my first marathon, so it will be special.

5

£257

Goal: £5,000

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Experience

  • 1983: Great North Run (also 1984, '85 & '96)
  • 2002: London Marathon - my first marathon
  • 2005: London Marathon (also 2008, '09, '10, '11, '12 & '15
  • 2013: Paris Marathon
  • 2014: Berlin Marathon
  • 2017: Manchester Marathon
  • 2017: Leeds Half Marathon
  • 2017: Yorkshire Marathon
  • 2018: Brighton Marathon
  • 2018: Florence Marathon
  • 2019: ASICS Windermere Marathon
  • 2019: Cologne Marathon
  • 2020: Lands End to John O'Groats Virtual Run - 874 miles
  • 2021: ASICS Windermere Marathon
  • 2021: Wales Coastal Path Virtual Run - 870 miles
  • 2021: Rat Race The Wall Ultra - 70 miles
  • 2022: Brathay 10in10 Donate

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