Miles Together is all about running with others, whether that’s your partner, family, friends, or even your dog! This is the first of (hopefully) many blog posts where we get the chance to chat to other runners, get to know them a little bit, and find out what running together means to them.
This time we’re talking to Shelley Hall – one half of Ashley & Shelley a.k.a. Apparently We Run!
Welcome to Miles Together! It’s great to have you on the blog – please introduce yourself to our readers.
First off thank you for having us, we are Ashley and Shelley, creators of Apparently We Run, an online running community that was created in 2019 to help all runners feel included! We wanted a completely inclusive area where all runners could share what they do without judgement, and we are very proud to say that we have created that! It is still a relatively small group which helps us interact with people and it has a real community feel rather than the groups that have 1000s of member that sometimes means people go unnoticed. That certainly doesn’t happen with us we really do try to support, encourage and hopefully even inspire every individual member 😊 Alongside this we also share our own running journey on Instagram and Twitter and with our runner’s eye views on our YouTube channel!
There’s lots of pics on your socials of the two of you running together. How did you get into running in the first place? Were you runners before you met, or did you start running together?
Yes, we certainly do a lot of running together! Ashley and I have only been together for a few years (2018) and before we met Ashley was very much the runner having run for many years with his career and also as a hobby! He petrified me in fact when he first suggested coming out for a run with me. I began my running journey with Couch to 5K in 2015 when I decided something had to change with me and how I felt about myself. I completed my first ever 10k distance some 12 months later and that is where I thought I was comfortable, not really aiming to push much further. When Ashley and I started dating he was trying to convince me to run further, and I was still trying to get over my embarrassment of running with him and him seeing me as a new runner! Learning to run together was challenging at times as I always felt I was holding him back and couldn’t run at the speeds he can but now I realise that it was never about pace and in fact it was about sharing the experiences with someone, and we certainly have many memories from sharing many hours running together.
What keeps you motivated to get out and run? Is it the same for both of you?
Like many people, motivation to run is a struggle sometimes. We both have full time jobs and family commitments that do impact our free time. We always try to make sure we have some time to run in week and weekends as that can sometimes be the only actual time we have together as a couple and our one opportunity to escape the “normal world” as we call it. Neither of us are really motivated by speed and we tend to be very much about the next adventure especially as we have stepped into the ultra-distances in the last 12 months. I (Shelley) also used running as a way to initially lose weight and now as a way to maintain my weight, when I started running I was much larger and running has helped me manage that better. I’m not so good at diets and restricting calories.
Tell us about your best experience of running together?
Our best experience to date would be running 100km from London to Brighton in May 2021, we ran it continuously and still chat about how amazing it was and how much we want to go back and do it again! We do not have a single bad memory from that day. We went into that challenge unsure if we would complete it as it was double the distance we had ever run before, and we did wonder if we were out of our depths a little but as the run progressed we seemed to get stronger and more determined and crossing that finish line will always be a memorable moment!
Here is our YouTube runners eye view link: https://youtu.be/RWmwjLka5rc
And the worst!
We’ve been fortunate enough so far to have had a very positive running journey together but one of the hardest runs we have had was a fundraising 33 mile ultra that we were completing for some friends who live in our community. They had very sadly lost their son to mental health back in 2020 and to help them raise awareness for mental health in children and young adults we pledged to run 33 miles for their chosen charity Young Minds. As we made this promise (Autumn 2020) unfortunately we went into another lockdown which hindered our training and delayed the date by some three weeks but we adjusted our plans and made fresh arrangements for the start of December. Family and friends were all involved and on the day set up aid stations at agreed locations which ensured we didn’t need to carry too much stuff with us. For the first part of the run everything went fabulous but unfortunately we weren’t aware that part of the route along the canal had been closed and we ended up having to detour another 3 miles after being given the wrong directions from the work men in the area that had already cost us a hour of daylight. 3 miles doesn’t really sound that much now but at the time it really did hit us mentally, alongside causing delay to our run and then being very aware we were holding people up at the aid stations we certainly went through a stage of feeling like we had let people down which was hard shake off. Or at least until we saw everyone, and they were so supportive and caring towards us!
You’ve been sharing your pics and stories in order to inspire others. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of going out running with their partner?
Don’t make your runs about pace or how far you want to go! Don’t compare to others and just enjoy the time together, explore a new location, take a left instead of a right, take pictures, stop and look around, laugh, smile and most of all enjoy! There are plenty of times to run fast and sometimes we do! Ashley will join me when I’m picking up my pace and sometimes, I’ll jump on the bike if he wants company on his quicker runs but when we run together, we just enjoy it!
Sometimes it can be daunting running with someone who is naturally faster than and you may try to speed up because of that, remember its easier for them to slow for you.
You’re based in the West Midlands. Are there any ‘hidden gems’ of running routes that you’re happy to share? What local events would you recommend to our readers?
We have several routes around Ellesmere, Chirk and Llangollen that we would consider “hidden gems”. Running along the canal network is beautiful in all seasons, a little more challenging underfoot in the winter months but beautiful for wildlife. We are also not to far from the Shropshire Hills and the Welsh border so are able to take in a little more elevation should we want to. If anyone is ever in the area and wants to reach out to us or take a look at our Strava you are very welcome to take a nosey! We happily share any of our routes.
As for events in the area, Shrewsbury 10K and Ellesmere 10K are a favourite for shorter distances, Chirk Castle also used to do a free 10K at the end of every month (National Trust getting people active initiative) .
Two of our favourite half’s are also not too far away from here in Conwy on the North Wales Coast, The Conwy Half Marathon normally run in November over the Great Orme and the North Wales Half Marathon which starts on the beach in Conwy and climbs over the mountains back down towards Conwy Castle and the Harbour.
What runs or locations are still on your bucket list?
Fortunately, we completed Paris Marathon in October of this year which was at the top of our “must run” list and we have Berlin Marathon next year which was number two! We do hope to get a few more organised Ultras under our belts, but we are very much if we see it and like it we will have a go! We do hope to complete the Marathon majors at some point, but we aren’t in a rush so to speak.
Got any races coming up soon that you’re looking forward to? Any goals for the rest of 2021 and 2022?
We have no more races this year, we have a 50km Ultra planned at the start of December but that’s it. Next Year we have Brighton Marathon in April, Berlin Marathon in September and a undecided Ultra hopefully that will slot in between 😊
Finally, how can our readers follow you on your next adventures?
If you would like to reach out to us or see more of what we do, you can find us on most social sites. Some are a little more advanced than others but here are the links:
✨Facebook Group: Apparently We Run 🏃🏻♀️🏃🏻♂️
Thanks, we’ll be sure to check them out!
That’s all for this blog post. We hope you enjoyed ‘meeting’ Ashley and Shelley – we certainly did! If you have any ideas for other people we should talk to, please let us know 👍