News & Media

Louise Henderson: Blog 1

By Louise Henderson

16 March 2016

Hi, I'm Louise, 42 years old, married and have two grown-up kids. I was born and brought up in Edinburgh and in 2014 I applied for a job in the Western Isles with my hubby Rick (my support crew and photographer). We moved to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, which is about 30 miles across the minch from the North west coast of Scotland.

It was a complete change of lifestyle, but being a runner it was a chance to explore 800 square miles of hills, trails, moor and beaches.

I work for Police Service of Scotland and enjoy living and working in the Western Isles. The weather can be difficult at times - the winds are so strong that runs are often abandoned for something indoors. It's not been too bad this year and I've been out in 35mph gusts. It's character building!

I am a member of Stornoway running club (SRAC) and train with a fantastic group on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays (when shifts allow).

I have enjoyed athletics since I was about eight and started out with Edinburgh Athletics Club training on an ash track. In those days, two laps of the track were my limit unless it was cross-country. I've always liked a muddy puddle!

I was delighted to get my "You're In" magazine. I couldn't believe that it really was third time lucky.

Training officially began on 31 December when I went out for the club’s Flett Trek Run. This is an annual event for only the hardy! It began with a drive to Harris in the dark where myself and two other girls were dropped off just as the sun was starting to rise. It was stunning. We set off over the hills along very boggy tracks. We knew a group of ten lads were setting off shortly after us, and we were determined to get halfway before they caught up with us.

I lost a shoe along the path in a puddle that was deeper than expected! I never miss a muddy puddle and had ran straight through it.

I managed to squelch it back on but both feet were soaked. We made it halfway before the boys caught us at the bottom of the Postman’s Walk hill climb (888ft)

After about seven miles we came to the shore. What else would you do on a cold morning in December?  We went for a dip in the icy cold water! I had been carrying my swim suit and a towel but didn't think I'd actually be brave enough to go in - it was very fresh!

It was another two miles of running back to the Bothy where a hot shower, a log fire, a large plate of stew and cup of mulled wine were waiting. Luckily I only had one black toenail to show for it. I've taken to painting them purple, so that no one ever notices.

A lot of my long runs have been on my own. Doing shift work can be very unsociable! My hubby has enjoyed being support crew, especially when I have asked him to drive me out 15 miles into the moor to drop me off.

Nothing but moor and a single track road with passing places, the wind farms give me some perspective as to how far I have run.

I was dropped off at one of the lighthouses ten miles from home last week. It was a bit blustery when I jumped in the car, but I had seen it worse. At least it was dry.

When I got out of the car at the lighthouse the wind was gusting at 35 mph. I watched hubby drive off and he was soon out of my view. The first mile was downhill but you wouldn't have known it by my time - it was so windy! The next few miles were undulating  and right into a headwind. I got to the braighe and luckily hubby was waiting at the seven-mile mark.

There was no way I could have crossed - I'd probably have been swimming again if I had tried. There was white froth whipped up from the sea whirling around. I jumped in the car and turned the heating on full blast. I was so cold, I felt like I had been given a facial!

So far the training has been going well. I've logged 169 miles and averaging three to four runs a week.