Betty de Jongh

When did you start running?

About 5 years ago. I signed up for a triathlon before I’d realised it involved a bit of running at the end. I started with the Couch to 5k programme, doing loops around our block early in the mornings in the dark so no one could see me in lycra!

Why do you run?

So I can eat cake! Also because it keeps my head in the right place. As a single parent with a very busy job, I’ve experienced periods of stress, anxiety and depression. Running (and cycling, swimming and yoga) helps me manage my mental health. I’ve found an amazing and supportive community of runners here in Glasgow which I love being part of. Running also allows me to be a rolemodel to my daughter and show her what you can do when you put your mind to it.

Where’s your favourite place to run?

Mugdock definitely. It has a bit of everything that I love: mud, rocks, great views, hills and toasties after.

Your favourite race?

Craggy Island triathlon is everything I love about the sport. It’s all offroad, muddy and in an amazing location. It has a chilled out atmosphere and is just so much fun. First you swim across the sea to the island. You then do a mountain bike ride all the way over the island with some great descents and beautiful views. A bit of technical riding thrown in and some steep climbs. And then you run (or scramble in my case) all the way to the highest point of the island and straight back down again, through a cave and then along the other side of the island back to the finish. The run of this triathlon was my first offroad one and I found it exhilarating. It got me hooked on trailrunning.

Your best run moment?

I’ve had so many, it’s hard to choose! At Bowhill duathlon the long run route takes you through a downhill wooded section where you’re slaloming in between trees, jumping over ditches and fallen trees. I loved that so much. Another great moment was at the start of Manchester marathon when you could hear 1000s of running shoes hitting the road. I will never forget that sound. The best ever moment though was triathlon champion Chrissie Wellington cheering me on during the marathon section of Challenge Galway. Total fangirl moment!

Worst run moment?

One of the winter duathlons where I completely ran out of steam. I felt I had no energy left to get myself round and I didn’t enjoy one moment of that run. It put big doubts in my head about why I was even doing it. Eventually it turned out my iron levels had bottomed out after a season of tough long distance races, but it set me back and I still struggle with my motivation.

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3 words that sum up your relationship to running:

Mud. Rocks. Friends.