Otley Granny On Course to Run the World!

Otley Granny On Course to Run the World!

Most people look forward to their summer break as a time for rest and relaxation. Tish Joyce, a businesswoman and granny from Otley has other ideas that don’t involve laying by a pool and soaking up the sun’s rays.

To celebrate her 50th year, Tish will complete the first stage of her incredible dream to ‘Run the World’. This year Tish will run Europe, her toughest challenge yet to complete a solo run across Europe completing a total of 2,000 kilometres across seven countries. On July 19 she will fly to Hanover and travel on to Bad Salzuflen. The following day will mark the start of ‘the most amazing run of her life’ which will take her six weeks to complete.

Not one to take it easy, Tish planned this new challenge after running the gruelling 250k Marathon Des Sables in the heat of the Sahara Desert last year, where temperatures can reach over 100 degrees. Renowned as being one of the most difficult footraces in the world, she finished in the top 20 percent of female runners and in the top third overall, competing against 1,250 others.

What makes her achievements even more remarkable is that Tish, who is Programme Director for a European Credit Management company, completed this ultra-marathon last April, just seven months after undergoing foot surgery at Spire Leeds Hospital.

Tish had a navicular stress fracture that required surgery – a very problematic injury for runners that literally stopped her in her tracks and caused her to fear that her running days might be over.

She was referred to Nick Harris, consultant foot and ankle surgeon and sports injury specialist at Spire Leeds Hospital.  Mr Harris said, “We immediately suspected a stress fracture with the history that she gave and the fact she is an ultra-marathon runner clocking up 60 miles a week, and the scans confirmed this was the case. Without treatment this type of fracture can end the career of a professional sportsperson or athlete.”

Surgery went ahead in September 2016. The procedure, which took one hour, involved passing two screws across the navicular (one of the tarsal bones in the ankle that sits on top of the heel bone) to compress and support the fracture.

Three months after surgery a CT scan showed the fracture had completely healed and Tish was able to resume her strict training regime.

Commenting on her surgery, Tish said, “I couldn’t have continued with my running without the skill and expertise of Nick Harris and his team. Spire is the best private hospital in the area and Mr Harris is a renowned sports injury specialist. His advice and insistence on my strict recovery regime made it possible. I cannot thank him and his team enough for this fantastic result.

The experience of the stress fracture taught Tish to respect her body more, to train properly as well as making sure she gets the right nutrition. “There was a period when I thought I’d never run again, and after almost five months of being unable to run. Having the surgery enabled me to get back to running and makes me thankful every day. It’s made me realise anything is possible. It’s given me the confidence to plan this new challenge.”

Tish, who took up running just before her 40th birthday when she decided it was time to give up smoking and alcohol, lose weight and get fit, says her training now involves a more holistic approach focused on breathing, yoga and physical and mental training as well as physical health. She runs five to six times a week with extended 3 to 4-hour back-to-back sessions at weekends.

Trish’s unique route will include varied terrain – roads, cycle paths, coastal trails, beaches, capital cities and forests. She will run six days a week, staying at camp sites or hostels overnight and booking into a hotel for a weekly rest day. She will stay in touch with her family via a satellite communicator and navigator – a 50th birthday present to herself, which will also enable her to call for help in case of any emergencies or injuries on route.

Having learnt to travel light from experience, she will pack only the bare essentials to last her for one week – a cut-down toothbrush, toothpaste, multi-tasking coconut oil, medical supplies, key nutrients and essential running gear. Once a week she will mail ahead a package of supplies for the following week.

Tish’s efforts will support her chosen charities, Women’s Aid, and Calm, and raise awareness about domestic violence and male suicide– both of which are causes close to her heart through personal experience. Her sponsors are: Yorkshire Runner Otley, Ron Hill and Altra.

She said, “There’s nothing like a 2000k run to focus the mind. This is without doubt the most challenging task I’ve ever set for myself. I feel excited, scared and giddy all at the same time. My dream has become a reality and I’m confident that I will make it happen.”

To read an interview with Tish on her epic Marathon Des Sables adventure: