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I Celebrated International Women's Day by Running my Very First Ultramarathon ~ Fabienne Coulon

I celebrated International Women’s Day by running my very first Ultra-marathon, the Humanity Direct Amersham Ultra (30 miles).

Twenty two months ago, I was unfit not only physically but most importantly mentally and it was time for me to do something about it. Although I was not sure if I would like it, running seemed to be a good activity that I could do while maintaining a balance between my family life and my working life. I started with the couch to 5K app (on which I had procrastinated for a few months before that). To my surprise, I reached the 5km distance quite easily and decided to register for a 10km race to get to the next objective. I found a 10km training plan and completed my first 10km race just 4 months after I had started to run. Then, I registered for the Royal Windsor Half marathon which I completed in May 2019.

In July 2019, my daughters and I went to support my husband who was running the Serpent Trail, a 100km ultra-marathon in the South Downs. And there, I got the bug for Ultra-marathons. I wanted to put all my chances on my side to be able to complete the 50km in Amersham. So I got help from a coach, Kerry Sutton, a very inspiring lady. She taught me to run slower in order to be able to run longer. She also made my training sessions more enjoyable and more varied, introducing the dreaded hills, some sprints, fartleks, … I also learned that you don’t have to run the full distance before you actually do the race. So the most I had run before Saturday was 26km.

I had 3 objectives on Saturday: 1. To have fun: I definitely ticked that box! I actually loved every second of the race. 2. To complete the full course: I also achieved this. 3. I was hoping to complete it in 7 to 8 hours (with a secret very ambitious plan of 6.5h if everything was going really well): Well, I am very proud to say that I smashed that objective as I completed it in 06:19:19.

I could not have achieved this without my coach’s training plan and her precious advices on race management but most importantly, I could not have done this without the support of my husband and my daughters: their encouraging words every time I was going out of the house, no matter what the weather was; their concerns after my weekly long runs (“did you run well Mummy?”, “How was it today?”, …); the hug that my youngest daughter gave me just before I left home for the race on Saturday morning. All that also contributed to my achievement.

Today, I am fit physically and I am much better mentally and I am really looking forward to my next Ultra, the 50km Serpent trail in the South Downs in July.


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