Pour yourself a drink, pull up a pew, sit down and put your feet up – it’s Ann Eke. From early parkrunner to marathoner in a couple of years. Ann shares her running and Hopper memories.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a local girl, having been born and brought up in Shoreham, not far from Hopperland! I met Steve in 1976, and we married in 1991 – we don’t like to rush things. We have two sons, Tom and Jamie, who both still live locally, and two granddaughters, who we’re missing like mad!
When did you first start running?
I had run one Race for Life many years ago, but that was the extent of my running history. Then after bumping into John Docherty in January 2008 (he and Steve had played football together in the early 1980s), he told us about the Brighton and Hove Time Trials that had started in Hove Park a couple of months earlier. So on 26th January 2008 we decided to give it a go and ran our first ever BHTT (later renamed parkrun). For two years I ran no more than once a week, but after watching the London Marathon in 2009, I decided it was time for a new challenge! Having failed to get a place in the ballot, I was persuaded to sign up for the inaugural Brighton Marathon.
When did you join Hoppers?
I was so delighted to have completed a marathon, I decided I’d like to continue running more regularly, and joined Hedgehoppers around the summer of 2010 after chatting to Roy at parkrun. I turned up the following Tuesday just before 7.00, only to discover they’d left half an hour earlier! Undeterred, I turned up on time the following week. I’ve never looked back…..well, probably because I’m usually at the back!
What’s the best thing about being a Hopper?
Portslade Hedgehoppers are such a friendly and inclusive group – and being one of the slower runners, I have really appreciated that. I am really missing running with the Hoppers right now – solo running is such a struggle. I am very proud of my HH trophy, after winning the Handicap 6 in 2015!
What’s your favourite running memory?
It’s got to be crossing the finishing line of my first marathon – my legs were like jelly, but I was so happy! I was even more happy when I joined friends afterwards for a glass of champagne, it went straight to my head!
How many years have you been running?
January 2008 was when I started running, so just over 12 years.
What made you start running?
Up until the age of 40 I was pretty much a couch potato. I then became a fairly regular cyclist for about 10 years, but at 50 felt I needed something else to keep fit, and parkrun started just at the right time for me.
What’s the furthest distance you have run?
A marathon is the furthest distance I have ever run.
What’s your favourite running event?
parkrun is without doubt my favourite running event (you might have guessed), it has certainly changed my life!
Please tell us one thing which people may not know about you?
I won (park)runner of the month in February 2008! My prize was a pair of trainers donated by sponsors Sweatshop – there was no Brighton shop in those days, so they had to be posted!
Is there anything else I’d like to share?
I was hoping to celebrate my 500th parkrun this May, but that’s on hold for now.