20th December 2016

The Running Game

You Are Here:The Running Game

Running is a game.


No-one forces you to play, but when you decide to get involved, know that there will be hurdles to overcome and that you will have to fight to gain and then retain your fitness! Know also that you will meet great camaraderie along the way and know also that only determination and application will overcome the ups and downs and make the game a huge enjoyable journey.


At the Farmhouse Five for Females in 2016, Bon Collins had not long since started playing the game. Although we had lots of women who were racing for the very first time, and each with their story how they had ended up running on Mother’s Day last year, Bon had more obstacles to negotiate than most…



We spoke with Bon Collins to find out a little bit more and to see just how her journey has unfolded since race day last spring…


Bon’s story starts with a series of incidents which put her body into a state of flux. In 2009, she had a lucky escape following an accident, and what showed itself thereafter is quite probably the body’s response to the power of holding onto the unreleased emotion of a traumatic experience. Bon’s body progressively went into shut down – at first anaphylactic shock, then various symptoms mirroring sinister cancers and even stroke – when at the low point of all in 2013, reliant on a wheelchair, stairlift and various gadgets around the house, Bon’s consultants told her that she wouldn’t walk again.


Taking the bull very much by the horns, Bon wouldn’t settle for that prognosis, and set about forcing herself to stand up and get going again.


And not only did she achieve this but by March 2016, she had surpassed all medical expectations by completing the Farmhouse Five route (and in not too shoddy a time as well, we might add!).



Here’s what we chatted about with Bon…



Bon, we were delighted that you entered the race in March, and joined the Local Values Team. We’d heard that the Farmhouse Five was your first ‘cross country’ race – as it was for many of our runners – what made you want to enter?


I wanted to celebrate being a woman and being able to run when I thought I never would, and having heard about the race…and offered the opportunity to join a team running it, I figured it would be just what I was looking for.



Tell us how you found the running the race…


I really enjoyed it.  The reverse start was fantastic and having runners with you all the way to the end and not being the last in is fantastic.  I mean, we know those behind us are quicker and set out later, but having runners behind you spurs you on.


The build up beforehand…the whole atmosphere was fantastic.  I loved having our photos taken as a team and with friends/family, and there was no elitism.  I didn’t feel out of place even though I still at that point struggled to think of myself as a runner.


That’s all great to hear! After the event you said, Next year I shall join you again and I shall be less panicked and much faster”. We get the strong impression that you’ve got a lot of personal motivation!


Once I started walking properly and decided to take up running what I needed to get my head around was the fact that I can do it. I was panicking because my brain started saying ‘You shouldn’t be able to do this’.




What steps have you put in place since the Farmhouse Five to start to feel ‘less panicked’?


At the 2016 Farmhouse Five I was lucky enough to run with my good friend. She supported me through my illness and has been a massive support through my running.


She talked me through how I was feeling and… I realised that I was struggling to breathe because I was panicking that I could run and actually I needed to enjoy the fact that I could run.


Once I got my head around this, I knew I needed to set myself some big targets to push myself.



Relaxing our breathing is always one of the biggest steps to making strides forward and clearly sometimes we really do need someone to show us what patterns we are putting in our own way…! But whatever the weather, we all need support from others to help us achieve our goals…



The goals that I have set myself are not small and I knew I couldn’t achieve them alone. I want to attain a certain level of fitness and have some pretty big challenges lined up along the way. For me working with a trainer to make sure that I optimise my performance is really important. I am now the fittest that I have ever been and in great shape too!



Although it’s certainly not an essential element of progressing down the running path (all puns, always intended! ; ) you’ve chosen to join a running club – Ipswich JAFFA – since the Farmhouse Five in 2016?


I was probably the last person that you would expect to join a running club. I had it in my head that running clubs were all about good runners. I love the friendship and support that you get. Yes, there are some VERY good runners at the club, but I can tell you that they support everyone.


I have gone from running 1 mile without stopping to being able to run 10k without stopping.



This is superb progress! We know that you’ve entered many different races in the past months as well. We’re delighted that you’re going to join us at the Farmhouse Five 2017 – how do you feel about it now?


So excited!!!  I’ve actually run some of the course since then as I enjoyed it so much!  With 9 months of training under my belt by then it will be interesting to see just how different it is.  I can’t wait to be part of it and enjoy what is an awesome experience in beautiful surroundings.  I hope that it will encourage other people who are new to running to take on the event too.



What would you say to anyone who was feeling nervous about entering their first race, or perhaps their first off-road race?


Don’t be! Each race is a challenge and the nerves help us to drive ourselves. Just do it.  You will not regret it all!



Very many thanks to Bon for chatting with us, as well as signing up to race again at the Farmhouse Five 2017!



What we think that the story really shows is that the road to achieving what you want to achieve is through a strong will, determination…maybe a little bit of stubbornness (in her own words!)…as well as super support structure around you and the obligatory ingredient – a sense of humour!


We’re sure that Bon’s journey will be inspiration for all of us – the attitude and application to work towards our goals – whether you’re a seasoned runner who comes to join us in the ‘I’ve got the wind beneath my wings’ category, or some new-to-running women who take a This Girl Can* attitude and come and join us on the phenomenal footpaths along the Fynn Valley.



Do pass this post on to anyone who might need a touch of motivation to get their running shoes on over the festive period or into the new year!


And in the meantime, click here to enter the race, and book yourself on the starting blocks of the journey… and don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter here or on the website to be the first to read the blog each week!



Many best wishes for a lovely Christmas period and an energised and enthused New Year : )



Dawn and the Green Health Events Team



* The Farmhouse Five for Females is super proud to be officially recognised as a supporter of the Sport England This Girl Can campaign again in 2017!



If you’re interested in finding out more about Bon’s running journey you can find out more here.

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