Name: Erica Clarkson
Sport: Ultra Runner
Since I took up endurance running in 2017, I’ve raced in eight ultra-marathons.
I love the bizarre sense of suffering that comes with ultra-running. Of pushing myself over tough terrain for a really long time and exceeding my own expectations.
I feel most at home running on the trail. It brings me closer to nature - with no phone, no email and no distractions. It helps me to manage the stresses of a very busy, high-pressure job. It also connects me with an amazing community of very inspiring people.
I’m no spring chicken, so I also run to maintain a healthy lifestyle and I hope that being so ‘out there’ about my ambitions might encourage other older athletes to exceed their own expectations.
Running also helps me to manage a number of issues related to hormonal imbalances that trouble so many midlife women.
In fact, this was largely my motivation behind setting a new 10-day Guinness World Record for the most consecutive days to run an ultra-marathon distance (female) (pending verification) on a track this past December.
I set out to raise awareness and as much money as possible for a charity called Wellbeing For Women to help fund much needed research into menopause.
My hope was that by attempting to break a world record, I would raise awareness around menopause, the symptoms many women experience and to encourage others to think about how they can create healthy lifestyles to help them through this period of their lives - and beyond.
I really want to make it my mission to show the world that midlifers and older athletes have a lot to offer – that we are entirely relevant and that we can be successful on the road, trail or track.
It’s a cliché, but running saved me, and I want to shout really loudly about that so that others realise the benefits of exercise as we age. We can all do so much more than we think we can!
Going into 2020, I’ve got a number of races lined up. In order to continue running safely and maintain my fitness, I will also focus on other disciplines such as strength training, core strength and mobility.
Having the Picky sponsorship has been a huge support to me. Without it, I simply wouldn’t have been able to complete my world record on the track.
Given the challenging weather we can have in Orkney, the gym is a godsend – the new treadmills are great! It’s really well equipped and we’re very lucky to have such a variety of training options. There aren’t many islands with their own 400m running track either – it’s wonderful that we have one here in Orkney.
As well as having access to a great range of facilities and expertise across the staff team, I take inspiration from the other sponsored athletes.
I feel very fortunate to have sponsorship and never take it for granted. Knowing that I’ve got the support from Picky will, I hope, continue to drive me forward when the going gets tough in this year’s races.
Erica is a member of Pyllon Ultra and is coached by James Stewart – GB and Scottish International. She is also an Ambassador for GB Ultras and a proud member of Orkney Running Club. She recently set a new 10 day record for the most consecutive days to run an ultra-marathon distance (female) (pending verification).