Like friend & fellow international runner, Holly Page, Calder Valley Fell Runners newest recruit, Alison Walker, has hit the racing leader boards with quite a bang – progressing from relative unknown name to ultra record-breaker in under two years!
Malaysian-born Walker jumped straight in at the deep end, going from self-proclaimed ‘hobby jogger’ to competing in eye-watering 100+ miles races, taking a staggering six Malaysian records in her first 24-hour race. Like many athletes, 2020 was unusual for training & racing – & inov8 ambassador Walker kept herself busy, with a 108-mile ‘backyard’ ultra & becoming the first person to complete the ‘Smog Graham’ round – an endurance event where a runner has to ‘bag’ every peak across all 32 London boroughs (a staggering 302km with 302 kilometers/187 miles and 3211m/10534,78ft of climb) in only 54 hours & 33 minutes!Read More
Walker is a real inspiration to many who get into running as an adult or have made new year’s resolutions to get moving: At school in Singapore, she was far from sporty – a gifted choral singer, Walker was put into a programme for students needing to lose weight. It was only when she got to university in Wales, that she started to love jogging, & on moving to London for work that she started to run seriously- signing up for her first 100-mile race in her 30th year.
Walker has learnt plenty in the last couple of years; from the importance of getting her personal food or fuel intake right when running long distances, to the need for bigger running shoes for when feet swell up from running longer distances, especially in the heat. (She finished her Smog Graham round in her husband’s shoes – unable to get hers on anymore!) She credits a lot of her current form to her coach, Peter McHugh de Clare, who still runs every day aged 70 & has encouraged her to ‘take the pain’ & keep pushing herself in terms of mileage.
Now 33, Walker runs around 100 miles a week, mostly on trail & road. She particularly loves to run uphill & will have plenty of opportunities for this, having moved to Calderdale this December! She’s joined CVFR & is keen to learn more about running in our beautiful countryside, with her eye on working on her navigation skills & following in the footsteps of some of her new club mates, taking on some of the longer iconic & challenging endurance races.
No sooner had she arrived in the Valley, than Walker was lacing up her shoes & out onto the moors for her first real fell runs – twice in one day – including her first night fell run – joining her new club’s socially distanced Christmas run up to Stoodley Pike. On her first ‘foray onto the fells’, Walker concluded that she ‘definitely needs more practice’. She will certainly get that in the coming months & we look forward to following her various exploits – certainly one to watch in 2021…