We were proud to welcome Angela White, aka The Running Granny, to the EMEA Recruitment podcast.
“If this body can do that, what else can it do?”
Angela joined Paul Toms, our Founder, at the end of January, a time when people typically set their goals and targets for the coming year. Angela’s prime target for 2022 is to “get strong again”. Due to recent COVID-19 restrictions, she didn’t get out into the hills for training as much as she’d like to recently.
After running the 875 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End, Angela took some time out to recover, but she’s hoping to complete one or two challenges this year; having run from the east to west coast of the UK previously, she’d now like to see how quickly she can run it.
We explore the difficulties that led to Angela feeling overworked, unfit and unhappy in her late 40s. She started by taking small steps, initially going for a 10-15-minute walk each evening. Although she felt guilty for taking this time to herself and found herself short of breath, Angela pushed through and started to feel better, lose weight and make social connections.
Angela references the “20 ways to kill an idea”, which we can all have when stepping out of our comfort zone. After seeing an advert for a mature lady’s running group, Angela took three weeks to make the call, but she found “the most inspirational lady” when she did. Angela met Sandra, who was 67 at the time and had only started running when she was 62. Through their friendship, Angela discovered her passion for long-distance running.
Angela has advice for anyone wanting to make changes to their life; set goals that are achievable within your daily routine and do something that you like doing. Walking not only helped with Angela’s physical fitness, but also gave her time to speak to people she’d lost touch with and put things into perspective. Although she was out of the house and away for her children for 30 minutes, Angela felt she was a better person when she got home.
But how do build up to becoming a Guinness World Record holder, running 875 miles at the age of 60? Angela developed a love for the mountains, meeting people along the way who supported her in entering a number of events. She found a 50-mile challenge in 2014 difficult, so ran it again the following year.
But it was a personal reason, yet again, that opened up “all sorts of ideas” for Angela. In June 2015, her first grandchild was born. Angela’s husband, however, had died of a brain tumour in 2007 and would never meet his granddaughter. She ran a 190-mile, coast-to-coast route to raise money for a brain tumour charity.
Approaching her 60th birthday put age into perspective for Angela. Having worked as a medic in the UK’s NHS, Angela was aware of how miserable life can be with ill-health. As a trustee with Age UK and chair of a health and wellbeing forum, Angela is committed to raising awareness of healthy ageing, acknowledging that many long-term health problems are largely preventable.
Angela explains how meticulously she planned for her John O’Groats to Land’s End challenge, which ensured she had the answers to deal with unexpected injuries and weather conditions. She learned the depth of human resilience through the pain she experienced, as well as how she overcame it.
Nevertheless, Angela believes her team worked harder than she did. She also didn’t want to let down the hundreds of people who came out to support her along the route.
Two years later, when she was 62, Angela took part in a 62-peak challenge in the Lake District. Although the goal is to complete the Steve Parr Round (61 peaks over 2,500 feet) in 48 hours, Angela wanted to raise awareness that you’re never too old to “get these things done”. A small film was made about the experience, which you can watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvS3HqwnXhw
We look at the steps companies can take to improve their approach to age in the workplace. Angela feels that employees must invest as effectively in their mental and physical health as they do in their financial pensions. Employers also have a huge role to play; between 2018-2037, there will be a 16% increase in the number of people working age people need to support. Organisations must therefore design, develop and deliver employee health assistance programmes to embrace inclusion of all workers for the future, she says.
Older professionals can sometimes face difficulties when searching for new jobs, being told that they won’t fit into the culture of the team. Angela herself proves why you should never judge a book by its cover, explaining that the ultra-running world is a hugely diverse and inclusive community.
As such an inspirational person, it’s unsurprising that Angela has a few favourite motivational quotes up her sleeve – we end the episode by finding out her favourites.
The timestamps below will help you find the most interesting part of the episode for you:
01:30: The last thing that made Angela smile02:58: Angela’s goals for 202204:42: The events that changed Angela’s attitude to fitness10:46: How Angela stuck to her new habits18:15: Becoming an ultra-runner25:35: What Angela learned about herself running 875 miles30:26: How people keep Angela motivated33:09: Completing 62 peaks at 6237:03: How companies can improve their approach to ageing44:10: The diversity in the ultra-running community51:57: Angela’s favourite motivational quotes54:50: How to reach out to Angela
As always, the EMEA Recruitment podcast is brought to you in partnership with Operation Smile. We’re hoping to raise enough money to create 100 new smiles – please support us by donating: emearecruitment.com/operation-smile
Find out more about our professional services recruitment through our website: https://www.emearecruitment.com/
You can also find us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/emea-recruitment-limited/
To contact Paul, connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paultoms/
Or you can follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/paul_toms
Do you have any suggestions for the EMEA Recruitment podcast? Please send them to Rose: [email protected]
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