Taking on a running event of any distance is a big achievement for anyone, whether you're a total beginner or an experienced athlete.

So to be looking forward to clocking up your twentieth Great Women's Run in a row is definitely something to be proud of and shout about!

That's exactly what Gail Penny from Glasgow intends doing on Sunday 10th June and will be turning it into a double celebration as she turns 61 the day after the run.

Gail moved to Glasgow in 1998 to study at the University of Glasgow and it was the following Spring when she took part in the Great Women's Run for the first time, having been persuaded by her fellow students. 

Gail said: “It was such a great day, with the atmosphere and support of the crowd and other runners, that I got hooked and have taken part every year since.”

Although Gail wasn't completely new to running at the time, she had only taken part in a couple of runs. Twenty years later she could now easily class herself as an experienced athlete with all manner of events and distances under her belt, including six full marathons.


Gail taking part in the Great Women's Run

Over the years several charities have benefited from Gail's running including Alzheimer's Scotland, Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation. This year she will be fundraising for the Children's Hospice Association Scotland, following a friend sadly losing her 15 week old baby girl Anna to cancer last year.

During her time at University Gail would train with a small group of friends and go for a run two to three times a week and then while working would head out at 7am in all weathers or fit in some training over her lunch break.

Now, although she has persuaded a few people to enter the Simplyhealth Great Women's Run too in recent years, she tends to train alone as most of them are ‘younger and faster' than her, and is enjoying having more free time to fit in her training as her only commitment at the moment is volunteering with Oxfam.

However Gail is the first to admit she doesn't really enjoy the training for a running event, but keeps coming back because not only is she hooked on the atmosphere but crossing the finish line makes her feel amazing. To give herself some variety she mixes up her fitness routine with games of football and squash.

“I only found out about it recently, but I'm also going to check out Great Run Local at Glasgow Quays as it would be good to run with a group sometimes.” she said.

To help Gail with her fundraising visit justgiving.com/GailPenny5

To join Gail at the Simplyhealth Great Women's Run click here

To find out more about Great Run Local's free 2k and 5k weekly runs click here