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I've been running for 25 years but my midlife runs are my favourite yet

Tasha Thompson, 43, is tackling her first-ever ultramarathon this year. Here she shares why running is better than ever in midlife

Lady in pink running clothes
26 January 2024
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I've been running for almost three decades and back when I started, I was faster, fitter and had more energy. Now I'm in midlife, I'm slower and less concerned about chasing finishing times, but I've found I'm enjoying running more than ever.

My journey with running hasn't been completely smooth, though. As a black woman, I've always felt lonely and like an outsider when taking part in races.

There are plenty of elite black female athletes, but whenever I attended a race, I noticed there was a lack of regular black female runners in attendance. This was hammered home in 2019 when a friend and I were taking part in a running event in London.

Lady in pink running clothes© Black Girls Do Run
Tasha is taking part in her first ultramarathon this year

We were dressed in running gear, with our event bibs pinned to our tops, but when we asked a marshall for directions, she questioned whether we were running the race. Surely our attire showed that we were? We will never know for sure, but I felt like she didn’t think we were part of the event because we were black.

There were very few black people at the race, and the lack of representation of black female runners made me feel like I didn't belong.

The lack of diversity at running events planted the seed for me to set up the running community, Black Girls Do Run, to inspire, encourage and motivate black women to run.

The Black Girls Do Run UK community is so much more than running, though. What I love the most is we have become a family who support each other through running and the ups and downs of life. So many beautiful friendships have been forged. Women within our community are holidaying together, spending Christmas together, looking after each other’s children and socialising. It’s a joy to witness.

READ: This empowering workout reframed my attitude to exercise 

Inspiring other women to run

Inspiring more black women to run is one of the best feelings in the world. You can't be what you can't see, and when you see people who look like you leading similar lives and having shared social norms it is life affirming and makes you feel that you too can run.

If you're new to running in midlife, keep it short and slow. Make your first run or return to running a run around the block or to the top of your road and back, then build up gradually by increasing the duration or the distance of your run each week.

People taking part in a race in a forest© Gigi Giannella
Tasha has loved running for 25 years

My first ultramarathon

I'm now in training for my first ultramarathon, inspired to do the Race To The Stones ultramarathon by Threshold Sports, an organisation that helps people realise their potential through world-class events.

I was scheduled to take part in 2023, but I had to defer as I injured my back. Once upon a time I said the maximum distance I would take on was the marathon distance, but being surrounded by like-minded women planning and doing amazing things really does inspire me to step out of my comfort zone and take on new things.

Tasha Thompson is working with Threshold Sports on their Ultra 50:50 campaign to inspire, empower and enable women to take part in events at the toughest end of the running distance spectrum.

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