Name: Jo Marriott
How did you first get into running?
The earliest memory I have of enjoying running is when I was 13. We had moved to Northamptonshire from St Andrews in Scotland, where I went to a wonderful school. I was really miserable at my new school and started to do some running with my younger brother and sister. I think it was just to do something different and clear my mind of all the stuff going on at school. We then moved again and I did do a couple of Cross Country races for school but got Glandular Fever in 6th Form and that put a stop to the running for many years.
In 2005 my uncle, Ron Skilton, passed away with Motor Neuron Disease. He used to run the Neudd Arms in Llanwrytd Wells. He and Gordon Green had set up the Man v Horse race in 1980, initially to attract tourists to the town. It really captured people’s imagination and became the catalyst for Green Events. The Ron Skilton Half was created in his memory and my whole family marshalled at the event and still do. My brother and I decided to train for the first one, so that got me running again. For a few years I used to train to run the event but still didn’t really run regularly in-between.
Then from 2008 -2010 we went out to Dubai. I wasn’t running at all then (it seemed far too hot!) but a teaching colleague persuaded me to enter the Dubai Half Marathon with her in the December which I did. It was my first proper road run and official Half Marathon (as Ron Skilton initially wasn’t the full 13 miles).
When we got back to rainy England in 2011 we went for dinner with Carol and Neil Powell. Despite protestations, Neil told me that if I could run a half marathon then I would be more than capable joining a running club. He persuaded me to give it a try. I remember going to Luctonians with him in February and running around the field in the rain. There were only a handful of women there. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it but felt really proud afterwards. I thought, if I can get out and run in the rain, I can do this running thing!
I joined Croft officially later in 2011. I found running up hills so difficult. I swore I would never do Cross Country but then ended up running Westhope. It was awful. I still hate it to this day but still seem to come back for more – especially the winter season races.
In 2012 I ran the London Marathon. I managed to do it in 3:53 which I was happy with. It was a great experience but I didn’t like all the crowds and how busy it was. I love to have some space around me when I’m running. I love running off road and across the hills.
What’s a typical running week for you?
I’d like there to be one, but because I work from home it’s hard to get into a routine. Ideally I like to do one 10-mile+ run and get a speed/interval session.
I usually run 3-4 times a week. As lockdown eased I ran a lot offroad with Emma and Greg and Tim Jones who really introduced me to routes across the Black Mountains and the Beacons so I could develop fell and ultra running techniques. I relied on them a lot for navigation as the only long off-road I felt confident with was Kington, over to Hergest to Gladestry and back via Hanter Hill! (I did that a lot back and forwards when training for my Ultra). Now I’ve done a navigation course I’m hoping to be a bit more self-reliant.
What’s in the diary?
Ragleth Inn Fell Race – 17th August
Wrexham Half – 4th September
Malvern Red Buzzard – 11th September
Brown Clee Burn – 18th September
Cardiff Half Marathon – 2nd October
Ron Skillton – 23rd October
I haven’t got any ultras in at the moment but hope to do something next year.
Most Memorable Run?
The Ron Skilton 2019 was very emotional for me. I was first lady and there were loads of my family there. It meant a lot to me. I can’t remember the time but it was under 2 hours.
Any injuries you’ve struggled with?
I’ve been fairly fortunate, I used to have a bit of a glute issue but that’s ok now. I do some strength and conditioning and lift weights, I think that’s really helped keep the injuries at bay.
What do you most love about running?
I love everything about it. It offers so much to so many people. It can be both competitive and social. When I go for a run I just feel more positive afterwards. And the social side is amazing. There aren’t many sports that you can talk to other people while you’re taking part! I know I talk a lot when I run and I’ve got this habit of running faster when my minds on other things.
I know lots of people in different clubs now. The Hereford Running Community is really friendly. You don’t seem to meet anyone that’s nasty. It’s just a great sport.
What do you do for a living?
I’m private tutor for primary school children; I also do a bit of writing.
Who do you live with?
With my husband Crispin and daughters Imee (20) and Lucy (18).
Have you any pets?
A chocolate lab, Coco (13) and a black lab, Truffle (3).
The summer holidays have started; can you recommend a good book?
I love Kate Atkinson. I’ve just read Big Sky, the 5th book in the Jackson Brodie series. She’s a clever, smart writer. I love the way characters are woven in and out and how she includes their train of thought – quite random thoughts they’re having while doing something else. Her book ‘Life after Life’ is brilliant too.