The 12 Dave’s Of Christmas #12 – ‘Dave’ Willis

MERRY CHRISTMAS everybody. We hope you have enjoyed our build up to Christmas 2011 with an insight to some of the club athletes (named Dave) at Tyne Bridge Harriers.

We conclude with another ChristMISS ‘Dave’, Ladies Club Champion 2011/12, Cath ‘Dave’ Willis. Have a fantastic day !!

'Dave' Willis

Well, last time I checked, I definitely wasn’t a Dave. And I think we have more than enough already!

I hated running at school, I still have memories of cross country and we never had good weather for it. After running in local inter school cross country races, I was selected for the county school cross country in Whitehaven and remember losing my shoe in the mud. I literally had no idea about running, don’t recall ever having interest in it and not really sure why I was picked.

On to Uni and I discovered the gym! As well as the benefits of watching the rugby guys train, I remember running off many a student hangover on a treadmill…. it was fun trying not to fall off the end or bounce off the sides … this progressed to outdoor running and I started to run around the streets of Sandyford and Jesmond.

I continued this plod routine for a few years, never really thinking anymore of it. I was asked by a gym staff member at work in 2004 if I’d like to join a club and I figured I’d give it a go – it was getting boring to just do the same routes on my own anyway. And then I realised running in a group was awesome! I always pushed myself that little bit more when in the group and discovered new running routes and local towns/villages I never new existed – don’t think I’d have ever discovered Backworth if it wasn’t for running ☺ haha. My first race memory was Blyth 10k in May 2004, which started from the sports centre and went through the town. Not sure they hold it now? I still have my black heavy cotton teeshirt, can’t throw it away!

2005 was my best year I think, 1’33 at the Great North Run and then again at Amsterdam Half Marathon but then again – I was new to club running and injury free… over the years I think I’ve had every injury going which has plagued my training since, with extended periods out of action. Every time I think training is going really well, kerr’ching! Another injury.

I always said I’d never do a marathon and this stuck for many years… but the long Sunday runs turned into half marathon distance most weekends… I decided to think beyond 13.1 miles. Edinburgh Marathon 2010 was my first and I loved the training more than the race itself. It didn’t go too bad, 3h36m. I now like to think that marathons are my main focus race and dot 10mile/half marathons along the way in training. I definitely prefer 10mile to 10k. Next year I hope to get under 3’30 at London and may try an Autumn race if i can. Will see how I get on at the Edinburgh Half too. Overall, I just want to stay injury free and see if I can get my times down. I know I’ll never be a sprinter but it would be nice to get a bit faster. I’ve also been trying out sprint triathlons the past 2 years for fun but next year I hope to start doing them more seriously and improve on my times there too.

I regret not getting into running earlier in life, if I had trained in the hills at home in Cumbria, I wonder if I’d be a stronger runner today? But I’m happy I’m still running and still got the bug. I’ve made many good friends through running (a lot of them are called Dave. Strange that) and it’s great to be a member of such an amazing and successful running club. Here’s to 2012!

‘Dave’ Willis

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    • Big Ron on 25th December 2011 at 10:43
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    Great read Cath, you are the complete opposite to me, I love running but the thought of doing a marathon fills me with horror! If they sais to me at the end of the GNR that I had o run back to the start, I think I would shoot the person responsible!

    • Kenny mac on 25th December 2011 at 11:17
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    Saw a new side to Catherine this year, volunteered and competed in cross country, taking a big involvement in coaching. Good luck with all your racing next year

    • Apples on 25th December 2011 at 12:04
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    Another great read and insight into people’s running background. Think there is loads more still to come from Catherine in 2012, loads more speed work to get the times down and most definitely sub 3.30 at London.

    • Double D on 25th December 2011 at 12:16
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    Well done Catherine on a fantastic 2011. Not only have you become an integral part of the club, but you also had the honour of becoming the club’s first ever female champion. Best of luck in 2012 and hopefully you’ll steer clear of further injuries.

    • Double D on 25th December 2011 at 12:25
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    It’s been an absolute joy reading the 12 Dave’s of Christmas and i would like to thank everyone who contributed. It’s been fascinating delving into the history of the members and should definitely become a regular feature on the website.
    However, i must say i”m slightly disappointed that the club failed to sign another ‘Dave’ who i know is currently on the market looking for a new club and would have been a great addition to the 12 ‘Dave’s. Oh well, i suppose if Beckham can’t agree terms with a football club we could always tempt him with free use of byker pool. Merry Christmas folks.

    • Denise on 25th December 2011 at 12:51
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    A great report Catherine. Your support and enthusiasm have been invaluable this year. Good luck with your running in 2012. I know that you’ll continue to ‘give your all’ to the Team.

    • Sean Kelly on 25th December 2011 at 19:33
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    Catherine says that 2005 was her best year. I remember her running an OUTSTANDING 10 miles in 2004. It was the ‘Jelly Tea’ Tynedale race. She was part of a winning team that was headed by Lisa Walker. They won the north-eastern 10 road race championship. I think that Catherine was 10th in the race. Lisa was 3rd, she crossed the line and was handed a bottle of wine as a prize, 2 seconds later she threw up! It’s not often Lisa throws up before a bottle of wine. A wonderful run by Catherine in the 2010 Edinburgh Marathon and I was there to witness it. She is a great Dave to have in TBH and I look forward to seeing her achieve success in 2012.

    • dan b on 25th December 2011 at 22:48
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    Great report Cat. Big thanks to you for your amazing energy and enthusiasm, and your never failing smile. Looking forward to running with you in 2012 …

    • Cat on 26th December 2011 at 20:34
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    Thanks for all the very kind comments! :) must say Sean, I’d forgotten about the jelly tea! Was a great race too! Hopefully can get back to those times in 2012…. Happy new year everyone :)

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