The founder of the Red Radish Supper Club has a secret: for the last twenty years, she’s been unable to stop running! For those who know the dynamic Louise Bird – or Lucy as she’s usually known – this won’t come as any surprise. For the last thirteen of those years she’s been pounding the highways and byways of several of the world’s continents in aid of good causes.
‘I fell in love with racing during my first marathon 13 years ago’, enthuses Louise (who, when she finds time to pause from racing, runs bespoke catering serviceRed Radish Events as well as the famous ‘pop-up’ supper club.) ‘A friend who was a director of the Duchess of York’s charity ‘Children in Crisis’ asked me if I’d like to join their team and run the New York Marathon. I love a challenge, so thought I’d give it my best shot. I got hold of a manual and read all about how to run a marathon in the quickest time.
The training regime was demanding, with practice runs of between 25 and 40 miles, five days a week for 16 weeks. But it all paid off, and I managed to complete the New York race in 3 hours and 35 minutes. In those days they didn’t have the electronic chip system, so that time included the 15 minutes it took to get to the start line!’
Eighteen months later, and spurred on by her success, Louise entered theLondon Marathon, running in the ‘good for your age’ category – rather an unfortunate label for someone still in her early thirties. ‘I trained even harder this time, but the day before the marathon I came down with a streptococcal throat infection. I felt terrible but still ran the race and managed to complete the course in three hours and 25 minutes’.
With this highly commendable record behind her, and now she has moved to the South of France, it’s no surprise to find Louise entering the Nice-Cannes Marathon, which unlike its city counterparts is blessed with stunning vistas of the French coastline over the 42.195-kilometre course. She admits that, thirteen years on from her first marathon, it’s going to be a lot harder. But once again she has stuck to the book, and really put in the training miles. ‘I have a chest infection at the moment but I am sure it will be OK on the day. I would love to run under 4 hours and am sure I’ll manage it with the support of so many people who have signed up to sponsor me.’
Not everyone runs marathons for charity, but it’s become an increasingly popular means of fund-raising. Apart form anything else, as Louise Bird point out, it’s crazy to through all that effort and pain and not raise any money for someone. Her chosen charity is Cancer Research UK ‘because it just seemed the right charity at the moment. We all sadly seem to know someone who has suffered or lost someone to this terrible disease and I am sure I’ll be thinking of all the people close to me – including friends and family members – who have suffered from cancer’.
If you would like to support Louise’s charity you can do so online at http://www.justgiving.com/Louise-Bird.
‘Also please come along in person if you can’, she adds, ‘It’s a fantastic day out, with the opportunity to watch and support all the fun runners, competitors and élite athletes who have trained so hard. Your support makes a huge difference!’