Bernadette Pelling

Another Hopper who found her way to the club via parkrun, along with the friendly encouragement of Geraldine and Kerry – Bernadette shares her running memories and more.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Brighton and have three brothers and three sisters. I went to St. Joseph’s, Fitzherbert (Fizzy Sherbet) and finally to Cardinal Newman. At 18 I took a year out from university to work in a bank, but life didn’t quite go as planned. Four children and thirteen years later, I finally went to Brighton University to train as a primary school teacher. I now work at a primary school in Whitehawk.

When did you first start running?

I use to run at school, like most of us, completing cross country runs around various fields. My teachers use to comment on how well I ran but at the time I hated it. I would do almost anything to get out of a P.E. lesson. I started running again in late 2014 as I decided it was about time I lost my ‘baby weight’ – especially as my baby was now 6. I tried running on my own but quite soon afterwards a friend persuaded me to try parkrun. I think it was this that made me continue running. Not only did I lose weight but I made lots of running friends and I was finding I (sometimes) enjoyed running long distances around various fields.

When did you join Hedgehoppers and why/what made you become a regular?

I have a group of friends who I regularly run with on a Sunday and they tried to persuade me to join their running club. However, I felt they were ‘proper’ runners who took racing seriously and the club reflected this. When I ran London Marathon in 2018 I travelled up and back with Geraldine and Kerry, both of whom I knew from parkrun. During the long wait for the start they persuaded me to give Hedgehoppers a try and I am so glad I did. Yes we are ‘proper’ runners and we take races seriously but we also have fun and it was exactly what I was looking for in a running group.

Best thing about being a Hopper?

The people. I still find myself dreading going out for a run but having other people to run with makes it a far more pleasurable experience. I definitely wouldn’t still be running if I didn’t run with other people.

Favourite running memory i.e. that WOW moment.

Running Beachy Head Marathon. It was my first ever marathon, so I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. The people I ran with and the organisers were all fantastic and despite it being incredibly hard it was still brilliant.  This is also the longest I have ever run and my favourite running event – so three questions rolled into one.

Do you have a nickname and how did you come by it?

I don’t have a nickname but people call me different names depending on how long they have known me. I always introduce myself as Bernadette but people start to call me Bernie once they know me. When they’ve known me far too long they shorten it to B.

Please tell us one thing about yourself that people may not know.

I enjoy singing and being on the stage. The parents at my children’s primary school put on a pantomime to raise fund for the school and I played Cinderella.