For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the very lovely Rachael Woolsten. Rachael joined us over two years ago and was part of this year’s winning Arena women’s South Downs Relay Team. If she’s not running with Arena, she’s training women through her business, Girls Run the World or writing about running & health for magazines and newspapers. Rachael has certainly been a great asset to the lady’s team since joining the club and is much respected amongst her peers. I’m sure you all know her face so let’s find out a little more about this very cool, calm character, over to you Ms Woolston.
1. When and why did you join Arena:
I can’t actually remember, probably because my attendance is bit off and on but I think it was about two years ago. I joined because I was spending so much time coaching others, I wanted some time for my own training and for someone to tell me what to do!
2. How long have you been running:
Since 2000. I went to work in Sydney and was so inspired by the landscape and weather, I started getting up every morning to run along the coastal path or through the city. I was hooked on running from then on but more as a way to explore as I travelled than anything more serious than that.
3. Where did you grow up:
Initially Shirley, just outside Croydon and then near Bromley.
4. What’s the first thing you notice about somebody:
Their shoes. I love a nice pair of shoes. Or trainers.
5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Travelling if I have the money, otherwise, cooking, mountain biking, open water swimming, or anything else where i’m outdoors and active.
6. What’s the one song that gets you up out of your chair:
Anything that Gilles Petersen plays at 3pm on Saturday on BBC Radio 6. If i’m in public, nothing gets me out of my chair unless I’m drunk.
7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Run in the mountains of the Himalayas. I went to write a magazine article about the development of women’s running in India, and my contact in Mumbai also mentored young runners in mountain villages around Kalimpong which is near Darjeeling. I decided to travel up there and spent four days meeting and running with them. It was an incredible experience.
8. What are the three most used apps on your phone:
Sadly, Instagram (it’s work, honest!) , the weather app, DarkSky, which is very accurate (depressingly so, if you have to get up early in the morning to train others outdoors!) and IMuscle2 by 3D4Medical which I’m always telling my clients to get (it’s free and if you’re a runner, you should get it too!)
9. Who is your sporting hero:
I was fortunate enough to meet Katherine Switzer, who was the first woman to run the Boston marathon back in the 1970s. She’s pretty inspiring. But at the risk of sounding cheesy, my real heroines are the women I run with – amazing, inspiring women who juggle work, kids, and all the other things life throws at them and still get out to train. And they’re still super fast!
10. What would be your perfect evening out:
Running, mountain-biking or skiing while the sun goes down before going to a country pub with a huge fire, stunning food and delicious red wine. And not having to worry about how we were going to get home.
11. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton:
The sea and the Downs.
12. What’s something you aren’t:
chilled! I’m working on it!
13. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
I couldn’t decide on one single place, I LOVE travelling. Big passions for me at the mo are Myanmar before it changes completely and Ethiopia.
14. Tell me about someone you really admire:
Tom, my partner. He’s always happy and so positive.
15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I won the veteran women’s Mumbai marathon and ended up hanging out backstage with the elite athletes before being presented a gold medal on stage in front of hundreds of thousands. It was great because I was travelling alone and so when I crossed the finish line, I’d felt a bit deflated at not having anyone to share the run with! (p.s I wasn’t fast, there just weren’t that many women running!)
16. Do you fear anything:
17. What has been your biggest achievement in your life so far:
I’m not sure I’d count anything as my biggest achievement. There’s always something else that inspires me to try.
18. What gives you a high:
Being outdoors, running or cycling or swimming at sunrise or sunset.
19. Have you got something that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away:
A manuscript. I wrote the draft of a novel ten years ago. It was harder than any track session! It languishes under my bed and somewhere in the future, a long time from now, I hope I’ll be able to use what I learned from writing that to write something else.
20. Where is your one favourite place that you love to be:
More a state of mind than a place, feeling inspired.
Our biggest thanks to Rachael for her Q&A’s this week and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Rachael a little better. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member.