At The Finish Line With…Claire Savage

Tell us a bit about your running history

I was hopeless at running in school and dreaded every athletics season. The 1500m used to take me 15 minutes and that was with great effort.

After leaving school, I used to occasionally run on a treadmill and I certainly never dreamt I’d run outside or do any distance.

Then things changed. I have always played field hockey and after having my second child, I realised that to get back on the hockey pitch I was going to have to be able to run for at least 40 minutes and outside. So, I started to give it a go.  After a few months, a friend suggested I should go out running with her cross country and aim for a 10km. At the time, I was horrified – the thought of running 10km was just completely unachievable coupled with it not being on the treadmill just seemed totally out of reach. But somehow, I ended up signing up for the ‘run up to Xmas’ at Moors Valley and completed it.

The Great South (10 miles) then followed and then I thought I’d give a half marathon a go. I picked one which sounded nice and scenic – the South Downs half heading out from Seaford, Sussex.  Many events followed including Clarendon marathon relay, Pewsey half, Brighton half … and probably the hardest event ever was the Combe Gibbet 16 miler – you catch a coach up to the top of the hill and have to run back to Overton.

My running then came to abrupt halt in 2014 when I had to have ACL surgery on my knee. It took a long time to recover, I put on a lot of weight, lost my running mojo and only did running as part of sport. It’s only since joining OS in March, I’ve started back up.

*Hurry up and take the picture…I don’t think I can stand up for much longer*

When and how did you start running for OS Runners?

I was very interested in all the different clubs available at OS and quickly heard about OS Runners. I think I ran in the first week!

I liked the fact it was very inclusive and welcoming.

How often do you train and what sessions do you do outside of the club?

I run 2-3 times per week mainly with OS runners. Outside, I run and swim with a local Pentathlon club Wessex Wyerns (WW). WW is a family club with parents, adults and children all taking part in training and events.

I also play field hockey for my local team and like to cycle (road).

I completed the Crondall team triathlon (on bike) and the Bude triathlon individual event this year.


Which is more satisfying… going for a training run or running a race?

Training run for me – no pressure!

What is your running highlight so far?

Without doubt, the London Marathon in 2011. I crossed the start line with the marathon music playing and it was an amazing experience. There was a party all the way round, the support was incredible and the crowds literately carry you round. Watching people crumble 1-2 miles before the end was a real reminder of how tough the marathon is and it isn’t just the 26.2 miles for the race. It’s more like 29/30 by the time you’ve got to the start line, past the finish and walked round London.


What are your future running goals?

Olympic triathlon next year and if I’m feeling particularly fit and have enough training time maybe half ironman triathlon in 2019.

I’m also doing the ENDURE24 event with OS runners next June.

What’s the most valuable piece of running advice you’ve ever been given?

Use Vaseline!

Where do you like to run and have you anywhere particularly memorable?

Trail running – I love running cross-country particularly through woodland, but I am always worried about tripping up since my knee-op. Probably most memorable was the South Downs half marathon, running solo along- side the river towards the Seaford cliffs with 4-5 miles to go.

Do you have any running experiences you’d care to forget?

Being stuck in the St Johns Ambulance, trying to escape from some enthusiast volunteers at the Pewsey Half marathon!

Do you have any other passionate interests?

The outdoors in general – I love being outside with my dogs and have recently discovered open water swimming.

Finally, which other OS Runner do you most admire?

Those that are starting out on the desk to 5k. Making the effort and throwing away your inhibitions to give running a go is really hard, particularly if you found it hard at school.