Love, what does it mean?

For me it is many things. Relationships, family, friends, but the passions that have engulfed me are almost as powerful as the obvious ones.

For me, the love of the great outdoors is overwhelming. The changing seasons, the lush green moss, bare trees with optimistic sun shining, promising . The patterned frost lining a wooded pathway. Spring buds and summer bloom. Fells with ancient rocks inviting me to the top.

Combine this with my love of running and I’m in heaven. Me and running: it’s a long-standing relationship that started as my hormones were raging and sending confusing signals to a 13-year-old. Trying to run away from myself at this age was therapeutic. Running gave me a fantastic feeling.

Teenage Ann, wearing a suspiciously Calder Valley vest

I realised I was quite good at this so I ran marathons and other challenges. I joined a running club after my children were born and I still got the buzz after each club run or race.

However, I needed the fells.

When I run in nature I feel alive, grounded, happy. Gliding through woodland and lolloping up hillsides gives me the euphoric feeling that only fell runners will understand.

But as the years are progressing I am starting to injure more easily and illnesses take longer to shift. Fell runners have a tendency to ignore these irritations , me included, but at a price . Being laid off is no fun, in fact it is depressing and isolating , especially if a lot of your friends are in the same game .

I am ageing and finding that getting back from time off is difficult. I want to bounce back and pick up where I left off but in reality I am not the nineteen-year-old who bounced out of bed and ran like the wind. On reaching the big 60 I was determined not to let it define me but my body tells me otherwise.

An older runner feels invisible, slow , in pain , not all the time but a lot of it . Time ticks on but the fell runner in me wants to slow the clock.

Ann Brydson