After leaving the Marines, I realised I needed something to do to keep me fit and motivated. So being rubbish at swimming – and never having ridden a road bike – Triathlon seemed the perfect challenge.
Unfortunately, my swimming didn’t improve much and so I started to concentrate on racing Duathlons. This resulted in me qualifying to represent Great Britain in my age group at the World Duathlon Championship, in France, in 2012.
FAVOURITE RACE DISTANCE.
I decided my strength was running and concentrated on road races for the next few years with the half Marathon as my ‘go to’ race. After winning the English Half Marathon in 2013, I moved up to the next level – qualifying for a Championship start in the London marathon in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
SO WHAT’S NEXT.
Since then I’ve wanted to go further and have been learning the highs and lows of Ultra running and loving every minute of it – especially getting out into the hills and trails with my trusted training partner, Harry – a working cocker spaniel who actually thinks he’s a mountain goat. You’ll see him leading the way on many of the upcoming GB Ultra recce’s.
Then I’ll be looking forward to the GB Ultra 50 Mile Grand Slam Race Series in 2018.
I am a UKA qualified Running Coach and qualified Fitness Instructor at Run Macclesfield.
Having established the club 3 years ago we set up our couch to 5k course with the aim to get people running. Since then we have had an amazing response with around 200 people graduating our course, many of whom have gone on to join our running groups and regular
Alongside the groups I coach runners on a 1 to 1 basis helping with individual goals,
be it running for fitness or to compete in events. I also work at a running specialists shop, RunningBear in Alderley Edge providing all important advice, gait analysis and fitting to ensure runners have the correct trainers for their needs.
I went from running short distance fell runs to running ultras a year ago. I love all
trail runs, the hillier and more mountainous the better. I came 2nd lady at my first marathon The Excalibur Moel Famu. Having come joint 1st lady crossing the finish line with another female runner at the 3 Towers 37 mile Ultra, I have gone on to gain positions of 2nd lady at Chester Ultra (50 Mile) and 1st lady and 3rd overall at the Pennine Barrier Ultra (50 Mile).
This has been an exciting start into the world of ultra running for me and I can’t wait to see what comes next with GB Ultras!
I started running in 2010 at the age of 36 after 10 years of not doing much in terms of sport and soon realised
that I loved running and it soon became a way of life. I then ran my 1st half marathon race 6 weeks after putting on a pair of
running shoes and my 1st marathon a year later on my 37th birthday.
I have just loved every step and have now run 36 marathons and 4 ultras as well as countless half marathons. I am also a joint
Race Director at GB Ultras so you’ll often find me supporting you from the go at GB Ultras.
5km PB – 17.14
5 mile PB – 29.08
10km PB – 35.50
Half marathon PB – 1.19.00
Marathon PB – 2.48.14
Best Ultra Position 3rd place.
What do you do for work?
I’m an IT Product Owner for a software development company based in Preston. It gives me lots of opportunities to bring to life some creative ideas and introduce new and exciting technologies which have the ability to change the way companies work.
My preferred distance is ultra-running. Whereas in a 10k or ½ or marathon, it’s all about yourself and total focus on achieving a time or beating a PB, an ultra marathon takes you beyond all of that and it’s about pushing harder for longer. The mental challenge is more than the physical at times, especially if the weather conditions are bad. I believe it’s strengthened my mental resolve and given me the belief in what I’m actually capable of. During an ultra marathon, you can absorb and appreciate the surroundings and atmosphere plus it’s a great way to meet some equally like minded people who share the same passion.
Favourite Race for 2017
This year’s favourite race for me is the Ultra Great Britain 200 mile ultra marathon. I did it in 2017 and surprised myself by finishing 4th. This year I want to apply what I learned last year during the race and see what I can achieve again. There’s a much larger starting line up this year with some impressive athletes so it’s going to be a great inspiration seeing some big names on the start line.
Plans for 2018
In 2018 I so far have the Paphos marathon, Chester Ultra, Liverpool to Manchester Ultra, Pennine Barrier Ultra lined up for the first half of the year followed by the Ultra Great Britain 212 mile Ultra-marathon in August. It moves to the Southern Upland Way in 2018 so is significantly more challenging and technical than the current route. Apart from that, it’ll be a few other local 10k’s and half or full marathons and I’ve applied to volunteer at the 4 Deserts Ultra-Marathon in the Atacama desert.
What motivates me
Doing something different and pushing my boundaries. Right from my first race in 2015, I wanted to see just what I was capable of and be challenged. When i complete a Race, I’ve always thought “what’s next”. It’s great to look back after a race and think “I just did THAT!” In the short time I’ve been running I’ve also met some great people who you know are going to be true friends. It’s also been fantastic seeing some of my running friends look at, and take part in, Ultra-Marathons when previously they’d never have remotely considered entering that sort of distance.
WHAT DO I DO
Firstly and most importantly I am a mum to 6 children and grandma
to 2. I work part time in a Coffee shop.
I don’t really have a preferred distance but don’t tend
to enter anything below marathon distance because I am not a racer and more of a plodder who hopes for a decent position and I feel half marathon distance is a faster race.
FAVOURITE RACE FOR 2017
Scott Trail Marathon, 19 miles of tough running followed
by a climb up Snowdon.
PLANS FOR 2018
I plan to remain injury free so I can compete in GB Ultras ‘Race
Across Scotland’, 214 miles and 4 days of running. All the races I enter from now until Next August will be training runs for the big one!!
FAVOURITE PIECE OF KIT
Has to be my Salomon Speedcross. I keep trying other
brands but ALWAYS sell them on and slip back into my Speedies
Debra is often seen, with her daughters Tess and Libby, helping at Checkpoints during the Races organised by GB Ultras and is a fantastic addition to the GB Ultras family.