A 71-year old Forres runner has just helped win a team gold medal for
Former Moray College business studies lecturer Anne Docherty didn’t take up running until the age of 59. But ten years later has completed 21 marathons and is one of the best runners of her age group in Britain.
She was recently part of a three-woman team who won the over-70s veterans’ title at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International in Glasgow.
Anne says: "I get so many people half my age telling me that they couldn’t possibly do what I do, but they’re actually completely wrong to say that.
"Most of them could. It’s just a question of having the willpower and the confidence to get fit. If you take it slowly at first and build things up gradually, you too could run a marathon."
Anne employs classic tortoise and hare tactics whenever she runs competitively.
She says: "The truth is I’m a bit of a plodder.
"I’m beginning to learn to speed up a little, but I still find it almost impossible to start a race quickly.
"Instead, I begin towards the back and gradually work my way through the field.
"Some runners fly past you during the first mile and you can hear that they’re already out of breath.
"You think ‘I’ll be seeing you again at some point’. And, sure enough, you pick them off later on in the race."
Anne goes running five days a week, often around Sanquhar Loch. Every Thursday she takes her pet dog Glen along with her, but otherwise she goes alone because the two-year-old collie is too fond of jumping in the water, and that slows her down.
At present Anne is taking it (relatively) easy, only doing between 25 and 30 miles each week. After Christmas, though, she’ll be in training for the London Marathon, which will boost the weekly distance to 40 miles. Anne will be aiming to beat her previous best time for the 26-mile marathon distance of 4hrs 12mins, set at the same race in 2015.
Affectionately known as ‘Granny Annie’ amongst the other members of the Forres Harriers club, Anne says: "I’ve always swam, but I absolutely hated running when I was at school.
"But as long as you have your health, it’s never too late to start something new. Just because you’ve retired it doesn’t mean that your life is over."
And what are Anne’s top tips for keeping fit and healthy?
"I take cod liver oil every day. I don’t really know if it does any good, but I feel well so I don’t want to stop now.
"Yoga is very good. I’m not going to any classes at the present moment, but I always make sure to do my stretching
"I’m absolutely certain that it’s something that keeps your body flexible."