My name is Jan Draper, am a member of West Hull Ladies (WHLs) running club and was delighted to find out I was one of Hull Marathon’s ‘poster stars’! I took up running in my early forties because I knew that if I wanted to limit the vagaries of growing old I had to get fitter, grow stronger and keep middle-age spread at bay. I ran my first marathon (Dublin) within a year of starting running – to raise money for a children’s cancer charity – and really enjoyed the thrill of achieving something I never thought I would ever do. I ran ‘unattached’ for ten years until Linda Dodsworth (who also happens to be my running partner for the 2018 Hull Marathon) encouraged me to join WHLs. I had always enjoyed running solo, appreciating the peace and quiet of being out running alone, so wasn’t sure whether I would like running with lots of other people. But it has been fabulous! WHLs is a great club – welcoming, supportive and valuing runners of all speeds and abilities.

Since I took up running I’ve run 21 marathons, numerous halves and 10Ks too. Many of my runs have been done with my eldest daughter Liz, who is also a keen and crazy runner! She took up running a few years after me and for many years, I managed to keep ahead of her in terms of times. Sadly those days have long gone and she beats me now over all distances! I’ve also taken part in quite a few 24 hour events – Endure 24, Thunder Run and Equinox. Two highlights from these were winning the ladies pairs at Endure 24 (with Liz) in 2016 and running 100K at Endure 2017.

Running has brought me so much – health, fitness, a sense of achievement, as well as meeting so many fabulous people not only in WHLs but across Hull’s fabulous running community. I’m really looking forward to Hull’s 2018 marathon. I ran the Hull marathon last year – not quite achieving my goal of sub-4 hours – but was 2nd lady in my age category. Nice! This year I am running with my running buddy Linda Dodsworth – she is doing the first leg and I’m doing the second. Our team name is ‘Smarty Pants’!