Ann Robinson is a 61-year-old club runner with Cannock and Stafford Athletics Club. Once a keen road, mountain, and track cyclist, running has given the Accounts Administrator a new lease of life since she lost her hearing almost overnight. Her proudest achievement to date is finishing first female V60 runner at the Spitfire 10km in Cosford and has a half marathon PB of 1hr 56mins.
I wasn’t sporty at all when I was a kid or at school. My parents weren’t very active, but I’ve always been the type who doesn’t like sitting around. I used to have a horse, but that got too expensive, so I had to sell her and bought a bike when I was aged around 35.
I used to do a lot of cycling and racing on road and mountain bikes and even for a couple of years had a go at track cycling which used to frighten me to death! With road racing, you were racing against younger girls, and it just started to get a bit dispiriting. I used to get dropped all the time by the other riders, so I thought I’d have a go at duathlon and better start running. I did a beginners’ running course at a local running club.
I went a bit mad to start with because I was quite fit from cycling and tried to run too far too soon and got a stress fracture. I got over that and the physio I was seeing for my injury recommended I try Cannock and Stafford AC, so I went over and joined.
I turned up on that first night thinking ‘oh god’ because I’d only ever run on the road trundling round on the streets, but it didn’t matter. It’s just about improving. If people run past you then they run past you. No one is looking at you or is taking notice of how fast you are going. I’ve got a coach, Chris [Hollinshead], he’s great and it’s just gone from there really. I train at a track in Stafford once a week and run on the roads on other days. We’ve got a little endurance group that Chris coaches and it’s really friendly.
"Running gives me a sense of worth and enables me to be part of something."
With my hearing loss they reckoned it was just a virus. I went to bed hearing fine, and I got up in the morning and it was really faint and then it just went. When I lost my hearing suddenly, you can feel a bit inadequate as though you’ve got to prove yourself to people so running now gives me a buzz. I may not be able to hear very well, but I can look at someone I’m up against and know I can beat them running. I can compete against people who are younger than me and I just like being part of something and turning up excited and thinking ‘I am racing today!’
I know I only work in accounts, but it does get a bit stressful at times and I just like being outside. Even when it might be raining or snowing, I think ‘no, I’ve got to do it’ otherwise I’d be angry with myself if I don’t do it.
I take part in local parkruns and 10k races. I’ve done four half marathons including the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll. I am doing the Bangor Half Marathon at the end of this month. I would like to get my race times down obviously as you keep comparing yourself to the younger runners. I know I am never going to get 1hour 30min for a half marathon but it’s working towards trying to get those times down, even if it’s just by a few seconds.
"To anyone my age thinking about taking up running or getting back into competition, I would say give it a go, contact your local club, get involved and it gives you that encouragement to go out. Do parkrun to start with where you always get encouragement from other runners."