I’m immensely proud and thankful for the opportunity to be on the Trail Team 2014 but a couple of things happened recently that made me even more glad to be part of it.

Firstly I was sat by the pool in La Palma, recovering from running Transvulcania the previous day, when an English woman of a certain age started chatting to me, and I mentioned I was there for the race. She replied ‘oh, your husband ran the race’. Sigh. ‘No, I ran the race.’ Cue much incredulity that a small female person runs long trail races and typical talk of ‘I couldn’t even run to the end of the road’ etc. I have had this conversation hundreds of times. It would be great not to keep having it anymore.

Then a female friend from my running club, an amazing woman who is about to dip her toe into ultras despite only starting running about 18 months ago, said ‘I’ve been looking at some websites for ultras and they’re very, well, male-oriented.’. I’d never really thought about it but I suppose they are. But I know tons of women who run ultras and tough trail races, I met some very inspiring ones at the Trail Team day, and this is a sport where women often finish in the top 10 overall. I’d hate to think that women were put off getting into trail running or ultras by getting the very wrong impression that it’s male-dominated.

The Trail Team is a great opportunity to encourage men and women of all ages and abilities to get into the sport, go further, faster, higher, plan adventures and ruin a lot of socks. I can’t wait.