Running with… The Unstoppable Woman

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To put it lightly Kate Jayden is unstoppable. Her list of challenges completed will make your head hurt but she isn’t stopping there, her 2017 is going to be the hardest year yet. At the start of May she will be attempting a six day round trip from London to Paris using only her running shoes and her bike. She plans on running 300 miles of the 600+ mile journey. She’ll be averaging 60-70 miles a day when she is running and 150 miles on the bike. That’s crazy I hear you scream but that’s not even the start of this woman’s year. Just two weeks after that gruelling adventure Kate will be taking part in a 145 mile Ultra-Marathon along the Grand Union Canal. After that she will be taking part in the Thames Ring 250 mile Ultra in June followed by the GBUltra 200, all non-stop races!

I caught up with Kate to find out what it takes to make an unstoppable human:

What challenges have you done in the past?

I’m generally causing mischief and mayhem somewhere if I’m left alone on the internet with google maps for too long. If I say “I have an idea” it usually solicits a response of “oh no what now?”. I’ve been a bit of an adventurer for the last 5.5 years and have visited many countries and continents by running marathons too! I’ve ran a lot of marathons and ultras; around 250 now. Around twelve 100 mile events, three Ironmans and cycled London to Paris three times. I’ve also cycled the length of Britain followed by 11 marathons in 11 days for charity as well as running 20 marathons in 17 days.

What motivates you to keep going?

I usually try and top the previous year’s challenge, which whilst difficult hasn’t proved impossible just yet. I try and find a new goal to push myself. Every other year I set an epic challenge for charity and this year is my best yet I think! A few things aside from charity and challenging myself keep me going though. It helps keep depression at bay, it helps me to stay in tune with my body and to celebrate the things it achieves instead of all it isn’t and thereby keeps my happy positive body image. It helps me learn more about my own limits and determination or will to succeed. Even when you put all that stuff aside I just like to show that an average lass like me can do epic stuff and you don’t have to be a talented athlete to achieve epic goals. Hopefully that inspires others to at least “have a go” and start their own journey of health and fitness.

What do you love/hate the most about running Ultras?

I love most the sense of euphoria and pushing past the human physical limits every time. It doesn’t get easier. I love the camaraderie and social element of ultras too. I meet so many amazingly inspirational people! I love the way it feels when you’ve seen sunset and see the sunrise again on the same run.

I hate that I just stink. I mean really stink. I hate the feeling of tiredness as I love my bed! I also hate that I have to carry all my own food as not often do aid stations have much vegan!

What does it take to become and Ultra runner?

I’d say it takes a healthy dash of determination with an unhealthy level of stupidity and high boredom threshold. You just have to really want it I guess and have an ability to pull yourself back up from the point of being broken to the point of bouncing back again.

What charities are you running for this year and why?

B-eat: the primary UK eating disorders charity. I’ve suffered with bulimia and anorexia in the past and know the determination it takes to get through that. If I can help raise awareness and funds and turn my negative experience into something which helps others then great. There’s still a real stigma at times with eating disorders because it’s hard to hear. There are a lot of misconceptions still too.

Mind: the UK mental health charity. I’ve had debilitating panic attacks in the past but it’s been almost a year since my last one. I’ve also been through very bad bouts of depression which really took parts of my life away. It never really goes away it just has better days and not so good days and luckily I try and manage that well generally through running but still struggle in winter. Anxiety is still very misunderstood at times too. I often get asked “but what are you worried about” and I don’t always have a reason. It means I cancel plans last minute because I can’t face going out. It means I overthink things a lot. Sometimes it’s very physical though and is as simple as I’ve too much adrenaline going around my body and feels like I’m in “fight or flight” mode and it leaves me exhausted. I’m probably in the best point I’ve ever been and no longer need medication and manage it fairly well. We all have bad spells at times and I’m no different. I try to be open and honest about my past and what it’s like so that people are more open and encouraged to talk more, just like they would with any other health matter.

Finally I’m raising for two charities which are international; Doctors without Borders (MSF) and Syria Relief. MSF are a group of doctors and healthcare professionals who help in natural disasters and areas of conflict. They’re helping in Syria at the moment to keep hospitals open; makeshift or otherwise as hospitals are targeted by bombs. Syria Relief helps with aid in the country, on the ground for people stuck there who can’t actually leave. It’s as simple as being an empathetic human and seeing beyond my own front yard. It’s knowing these people aren’t numbers, or just “displaced person” they’re someone’s brother, sister, mother, father, daughter, son. They had a life like you and I. The least I am do is give them a little hope through showing people care.

A tip for runners starting out?

Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t compare too much. Know that you will improve and get better. Enjoy it. Set goals. Make friends with other runners. But perhaps don’t explain in too fine a detail your long runs to your boss on a Monday; especially the impromptu nature toilet stops, or how you lost your toe nails etc!

Finally; Morning Coffee or Morning Run?

Morning run and then morning coffee!!

To keep up to date with Kate join her Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/projectparis2017) or to donate to the amazing charities she doing all this for flick over to her charity page (www.virginmoneygiving.com/projectparis)

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