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Member of the Month - Lyra OK

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PowerJen asks: Wel dun. When you first started Cambridge parkrun did you ever imagine it would grow so mahoosive?

Lyra OK says: Thaaaannnks! I wasn't sure what to expect. I figured that with the location of the event and with such a good running community, it would probably attract a fair few people. Once we started to see similar numbers to the Frostbite League races that was odd, because those events always felt sizable when I took part. What's most impressive to me is the sense of community and friendship that's grown with the event.
Hills of Death (HOD) asks: Well done Lyra your bright, gorgeous and very fast, why don't you do more racing I'm sure you'd clear up the local prize pot.

Lyra OK says: Gosh, thank you, you are too kind. Hmm, I'm a bit funny about when I race - I like to feel fit and well-prepared. This has probably become more apparent the faster I've become. I put a fair bit of pressure on myself and that's a mindset which is only pleasant and sustainable for a certain length of time. That said, I love the way racing makes me feel and thoroughly enjoy it the moment I start running. Winning is grand when it happens, but it's about personal achievement rather than beating people - I'd sooner come last with a 19:59 5k than first with 20:00.
Last of the Time Lords asks: Yay, richly deserved Lyra! Describe your perfect run.

Lyra OK says: Thank you, King of Running. Tricky one to answer, because runs can be perfect for different reasons. I love running alone, so that's company sorted! Early mornings are best - when the day is brand new and there's no finer thing than watching the sun rise. No music, just birdsong. Have to be along my favourite route (see response to Nightjar's question!) and I'd have to be feeling fit and fast. Then I'd come back and want to do it all again.
runningmumof3boys asks: well done x 1) who is that in your profile photo?
2) have you always ran i mean since school? or is it something you took up years later ?


Lyra OK says: Why, thanks! So, 1.) It’s German actress Franka Potente in Run Lola Run. I love her red hair and the film contains many gratuitous running scenes, albeit combined with bovver boots and German techno. One day, when I might be bothered to maintain it, I’ll dye my hair that colour. 2.) Yes, I ran a fair bit as a kid, but as a means of getting from A to B. When at secondary school we started dipping our toes into ‘proper running’ I had enough base fitness to gain a reputation for being good at things which involved running and jumping. However, my one appearance in the cross country team didn’t exactly set the world alight. I sped off like a hare, felt exhausted after 200m and walk/ran the rest. Thoroughly hated the whole experience. In hindsight, if we had been taught how to pace ourselves, it might have been better. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I made the decision to become a runner; I decided I’d try to run about a mile. Did it, slowly, and had never felt happier! Within a few weeks, I’d got myself running up to about 8 miles and the rest is history.
GimmeMedals asks: Congratulations. Well deserved. What would your perfect day look like?

Lyra OK says: Thanks so much! Oooh, tricky question. It’d start with a run, of course. Say, 6 – 10 miles in early morning sunshine. I’m happiest exploring the outdoors, so there’d be hours spent walking among trees, along beaches, through heathland. Maybe I’d horse ride – I miss doing that and take enormous pleasure in the company of animals. I’d go out for dinner somewhere nice with my whole family, because I love their company. I’d play cricket on the beach with them and have good conversation. You know, memory making stuff? Oh, and there’d be copious amounts of espresso coffee and maybe a nice glass of red. Merlot, please.
Drell asks: Well done. When are you actually going to start running *at* Cambridge parkrun, instead of just running it? And what do you reckon you could achieve at 5k?

Lyra OK says: Thanks, Drell! As it happens, I’m hoping to run at Cambridge this weekend. As I’m fairly unfit, it’ll be a social bimble with a friend. Once I’m back to fitness, I’ll be running it more regularly. I realise I’m biased, but the support on the course is second to none and the atmosphere is great. Hmm, I’ve no idea what I could achieve over 5k and wouldn’t like to limit what I think possible. It depends on my commitment, consistency and my willingness to push myself.
abdou asks: Well done Lyra! Do you reckon you're faster than Lola yet?

Lyra OK says: Cheers, Abdou! Haha! Judging by Lola’s running, she’s pretty quick over a mile or so – even in those boots. Still, she hits the fags pretty hard, so I reckon I could have her over 5k or further. Perhaps.
RuthB2 asks: what's the best piece of advice you've been given about running? and yey, most well deserved.

Lyra OK says: Aww, thanks! That’s a difficult one to answer, because I’ve been lucky enough to receive so much help and support. Perhaps the best piece of advice I’ve been given is to always look to the positives. Even if you’ve had a bad run, be grateful for what you’ve learned from it.
Jock Itch asks: Yay ! Very pleased you have won this :) Can you really walk on water as the famous photo suggests ? and who is your ideal dinner date, dead or alive ?

Lyra OK says: Jockie, Jockie, Jockie! Oi! Oi! Oi! Thanks, buddy. No, and if I were a miracle worker, I would rather turn water to wine than go walking about on the stuff. Oooh, that's a good question... Mark Twain, because Huck Finn was my childhood hero and I do love a good storyteller. I expect Mr Twain would be enormously entertaining company.
mushroom asks: Congratulations on being MOTM. It looks a bit flat where you are, how do you train for hills - do you run up stairs..?!

Lyra OK says: Gee, thanks! Yeah, the fen’s not the best for hill training. Magog Down is about a ten mile drive and has some challenging ascents. Believe it or not, my running club (Ely) do a great hill session. Ely itself is on something of a lump and they do a three mile loop which takes in six climbs and six descents per lap, we generally run it twice in a session. It’d be nothing to some hardened hill runners, but we do have to learn to contend with the wind as it blows off the fen. And that’s quite something. It’s the only place in the world where it blows you from all directions at once.
richmac asks: Well done on MOTM. given the success, growth & your involvement of parkrun can we start describing it as a movement?

Lyra OK says: Thanks very much! My involvement with parkrun is a very small part of the huge and wonderful parkrun phenomenon. If anything, my involvement has decreased somewhat, because other people have stepped up to help. Drell and HellsBells are absolutely crucial to the continued success. PowerJen’s recently started co-ordinating all volunteers, which makes a big difference. BlueWombat and Fenland Runner helped start the event. DeaJay and BrianJ help out an insane amount. The whole thing is a great example of what people can do when they work together. Yeah, you could describe it as a movement. There’s quite a lot of movement involved; last Saturday we accumulated a total of 1,825 km of running movement at Cambridge.
26 miles asks: What is your favourite race ever...apart from Cambridge Park run?

Lyra OK says: I've loved different races for different reasons. If I had to chose one, it would be running stage 3 of Round Norfolk Relay in 2010. It's a tough course, with parts of it going across beaches and sand dunes, but a really beautiful stage. Had put in a recce the week before which served me well when I came to run. I ran strongly that day and put in a good race, feeling confident and fit. I was pleased with how I'd managed to push myself despite being alone for the entire stretch. First senior lady and second lady overall was a pretty good place to finish too.
Nightjar asks: Congrats Lyra. Some of you running blogs have been really evocative. What's your favorite running memory or route?

Lyra OK says: How kind of you, glad you enjoyed the random outpourings. So many good running memories. It’s very difficult to pick a favourite one, but it is probably the run I mentioned in 3 August’s blog. My favourite route goes through a pine forest, then out through fields, along the rolling cliffs by the sea, past some lonely coastguard cottages, over shingle and into the village of Weybourne. From there, you can head uphill and up onto the heath and back into the pinewoods. It’s around 9 miles, it's playfully hilly and exciting because it's so varied. Best run I had there was kind of spooky, because the sea mist had rolled in and the coastguard cottages looked very eerie as I edged closer to them. They're destined for the waves and have a rather haunted look about them already. If you've read any M.R. James stories you'll know precisely the kind of thing. As I ran up into the village, the mist cleared, the sun beat down and was suddenly very different. In fact, I'll make the route public and share it. Then you can see what I'm banging on about if you're so inclined.
BlueWombat asks: pizza or pie?

Lyra OK says: Pizza! I'm really not fond of pie.
BrianJ asks: Congratulations Lyra. Are you going to race further than 10 miles sometime?!

Lyra OK says: Certainly one day, but I have no plans to do that at the moment. Time’s quite limited, so fitting in sufficient long training runs can be tough. I’d like to become much quicker over distances up to 10k before I properly attempt anything further. A while ago, I thought hard about what I personally would see as a bigger achievement: getting round, say, a marathon or achieving what I feel to be a good 5k time. For me, it’s the latter. I’m quite tempted to give distances like 1,500 and 3,000m a bash when I’m fit and ready. Bizarrely, I’d love to attempt steeplechase too. The track is a daunting prospect, but it’s good to do things which scare you.
RichHL asks: Congratulations on MOTM. You only got it because you're awesome. ;-) Is there something or someone which inspires you to run? Other than parkrun, that is. Also, does the Scary Man on the Bike still scare you?

Lyra OK says: Thanks so much, as are you awesome. My friends inspire me to run. I'm fortunate enough to know so many successful and hardworking athletes that whenever my motivation wanes, there is always someone who reminds me of why I love to run. Watching parkrun is always a real buzz too.

Hmm, The Scary Man on the Bike. One on one coaching was fabulous and I adore Coach B, but the approach simply didn’t work for me. If I didn’t PB, I’d feel terrible because Coach B had spent time with me and I’d not delivered what I felt he’d hoped for. I simply didn’t enjoy it and would dread the sessions. And what’s the sense in that? I run for the love of running. I’ve no regrets about trying it and it’s taught me that I like to work independently – which isn’t really a surprise if I'm totally honest.
Ultra Kanga Kazzaaaaah!! asks: No question - just wanted to say a big congrats to a lovely Fetchie x

Lyra OK says: Really sweet of you! Hope you're well and happy. x
Rents asks: Congratulations Lyra :)
Tell me something about yourself that will surprise us?


Lyra OK says: I have a wonderful, mad grandmother. Exploits in her younger years include burying a twin tub washing machine, washing a carpet in snow (took weeks to dry and went all curly at the edges), painting her house with white paint mixed with varying amounts of food colouring... The list goes on. In more recent years, she's earned quite a reputation as a feisty old lady. In her seventies, there was contretemps with an illegally parked builder. I'm afraid she resorted to violence and floored him. Imagine explaining that to friends - knocked out by a pensioner. Yeah. She's quite something.
Tick Tock Tim asks: is there any exercise or part of running that you dont enjoy?

Lyra OK says: I'm not mad keen on swimming in public swimming pools - people soup, isn't it? Quite like swimming in the local river though. As for running, tempo sessions are challenging. Intervals aren't so bad, because they are over a bit more quickly, but a tempo run is more of ask. I tend to get over this by doing them with my club, the lead pack goes rushing off and I hold on as best I can!
DeaJay2 asks: Congratulations to an extremely deserving MOTM. Why 'Lyra OK'?

Lyra OK says: Thanks, very much! In my early teens, I'd go out and run down the road into the fen at night. Then I'd stand and look up at all the stars, because I was kind of into astronomy. I'd trace out the Summer Triangle and then just gawp at it for a while in that slack-jawed teenage way. The brightest star in the asterism is called Vega, which is also in the constellation of Lyra. I like the word and it reminds me of formative running adventures, it seemed apt when thinking of a user name. Nothing to do with the Pullman books. The OK bit comes from the surname of a brilliant young woman who persuaded and inspired me to run again in my twenties. Sadly, she passed away in 2004, so I keep that part in grateful memory and thanks.
Bru-Bru asks: Congrats on being MoM. Probably I am the only person in the world who does not know but - PS20? What is PS20? Why is it all about PS20?

Lyra OK says: Thanks! PS20 is Project Sub 20. Last year, I made the mistake of thinking, "Oh, I'll see if I can run under 20 for 5k. And under 42 for 10k. Prolly do a half as well. And a marathon. Ooooh, and as much cross country as possible!" I ended up not doing any of them and figured I'd be much more specific in my targets, so sub 20 5k it is.
DrBob asks: Congratulations on winning this, and on your overall awesomeness. Are you most proud of a) being awesome b) setting up parkrun and inspiring a million people to take up running of erm c) getting really good at running?

Delighted you won!


Lyra OK says: Aww, cheers Bob! Definitely parkrun. I've some way to go with my own running and regard my own potential as still fairly undiscovered - simply because I've not worked hard enough! But Cambridge parkrun has been such a big success and that makes me very proud. Hearing stories about how people have lost weight, quit smoking, made friends, done great things they never dreamed they'd do... well, makes me quite emotional, buddy. For an hour a week, we turn Milton Country Park into a crazy celebration of running, friendship and positivity. I stand around and think, "Good, innit?"
Sazzleflip asks: If you could give one piece of advice, on any subject, what would it be?

Lyra OK says: Never look down the spout of a kettle to see if it's boiling. It's like being thumped in the eye by a volcano. I found this out to my detriment.
JJ Flash asks: You so deserve this :) Last year you gave a me lesson in karmic comeuppance. Do you believe in karma and how does it affect your running?

Lyra OK says: You're too kind. On a basic level, I certainly believe that we make our own luck and that if you want great results, then you need to work for them. In terms of running, I've noticed at parkrun that the people who determinedly persist at achieving a goal will get there and often manage to outperform those who've perhaps had more natural talent, but less drive. To call this karmic might be overstating things. And if the incident you're referring to is when I overtook you at Thunder Run, then I think you'd run somewhat further than I had! Interestingly, two days later, I fell during my recovery run and needed nine stitches in my right knee. Do you think we may be caught in a weird karma spiral?
Naomi P asks: Big congrats :-) So, training or racing? Running shorts or running tights? Road or trail? Flat or hills? Running on your own or in a group? Post-race pint or post-race cuppa?

Lyra OK says: Thanks muchly, lovely! (a) Gah! Training or racing? But both are splendid at the right time... Both! No, neither. Just running. Yes, running for the sake of it. (b) Shorts, definitely. I love inflicting my Tippex white legs on unsuspecting members of the public. Even in winter. (c) Trail. Easy one, that! (d) Running on my own, definitely. (e) After a morning run, I'll have strong, black coffee. I'll take the post-race pint other times.
Ted asks: Congratulations :o). Who is the biggest kid in your house?

Lyra OK says: Haha! Difficult to say. Uffish, Lyra Junior and I all have a pretty similar sense of humour. Probably Lyra Junior - she's quite good at practical jokes and goes out of her way to make people laugh.
Uffish asks: Hey only me, you really deserve to be MOTM not just for everything cambridge parkrun related, but for just being you. My question is simple why do you run?

Lyra OK says: Why, thanks! It seems the most normal and natural thing to do with one's body. Perhaps we've become too used to other methods of getting around, but I find it marvelous to look at something far away and think, "I'm going to get there using just my legs and it won't take long." The novelty never wears off. Running gives so much; the sense of achievement after a good race, the feeling of well-being, the license to go splashing through puddles when you're a grown-up... Be ludicrous not to run, wouldn't it?
Hoaxster asks: Have you considered an ultra?

Lyra OK says: Yeah. Till I saw you in the last lap of Kent 50. I've given it no further thought.
Siouxsie asks: Huge congrats. About time too. You recently described your perfect running moment. What would the soundtrack to accompany that include?

Lyra OK says: Oooh, cool question. I'm not sure that my perfect run would have a soundtrack, because I get too caught up grinning about everything to think of it. However, here's some of my running related stuff and nonsense: Aphex Twin's 'Ptolemy' for running along when all's happy and good. Similarly, Belle and Sebastian's 'There's Too Much Love' and Nick Drake's 'Bryter Layter'. Then George Formby's 'Swimming with the Women' is amusing on a tough run. The world weary Marlene Dietrich's 'Lili Marlene' (auf Deutsch) is good on a slow, snowy run where you have to keep your head down a keep plodding on. Always listen to Paulo Nutini's '10/10' ahead of a race - it's happy, upbeat and fab. If I could only have one song in my head to run to, it would be 'Baby Hannah' by an obscure band called 'Afro National' (check it out! It's on YouTube - starts slow, but livens up so give it time). The band's from Sierra Leone and my dad worked there for some years back in the 1970s. He brought back a cassette of their music and I've adored it all my life. The very worst song I've ever found stuck in my head on a run is the theme tune to 'Terry and June'. I got it stuck on repeat once. I wanted to beat my head against a tree until it went away.
Sharkie asks: Congratulations, you worthy winner you. Kiss kiss whinny neigh. If you were a full time athlete or indeed sportsperson in general, which event or sport would you choose to train for and excel at? Tell the truth cos anything's allowed and you are also allowed to keep your solitary fenland runs as part of the package....

Lyra OK says: Why, thanks! And even bigger thanks for all the kind words you've sent my way over the last few months. Woah, now that's a tough question, because I don't feel I've explored running nearly enough. Cross country by far my favourite thing to do, so if I had chose one running event I guess it'd be that. I love physical interaction with the wild world, and there's no greater feeling than giving yourself up to gravity on a long descent through a pine wood. Especially when the weather's foul and you're out among the elements in a vest and shorts. Thanks for the neighing and whinnying - I do love my horse riding, but don't do it nearly enough. As a kid, it was inconceivable that I could be horseless as an adult, but you know? Life. It'll happen - I'll get a nice, friendly quarter horse and we'll have fun and laughs.
Maclennane asks: Hello! Well done, and how exciting. Do you bemoan the lack of undulation in your fennish running routes?

Lyra OK says: Thanks, Mac! I do get hill envy. Particularly when I've been visiting the lovely Heidi and Ian M, because the runs they treat you to in Derbyshire are truly spectacular. I think more hillwork would probably make me a more successful runner. I'm pretty good at going down them, but getting up a hill is still a weakness which needs work. Hills themselves freak me out a little. I've a slight mistrust of keeping all that soil where the sky should be, it's got to fall down some day. The fen's got a charm of its own, the skyscapes can be awe-inspiring. Other landscapes can leave you feeling strangely claustrophobic by comparison; if I can't see for ten miles in all directions, I worry who's around the corner.
Magbag asks: Huge Congratulations Lyra !

Is there any other sport you would like to have a go at but have never got round to trying ?


Lyra OK says: Thanks so much! Oh, yes - scuba diving. Purely because I would love to explore the water. I recently watched a video on YouTube of a diver exploring a wreck off the Norfolk coast. I frequent the area, but had no idea the wreck was there. All seemed so quiet and calm beneath the waves, the wreck was teaming with aquatic life. It was all quite fascinating. So, yes, I need to try that. Then I watched a woman called Tanya Streeter (world free-diving champion) swimming with whales and that was equally enchanting. Tanya looked so at home in the water - like a mermaid, the way she moved with such grace and skill. Wouldn't it be wonderful to swim like that?
Northern Exile asks: I notice that you haven't really raced any distances above 10 miles. Do you plan to step up to bigger distances in the future?

Lyra OK says: Yes, one day, but not until the mood takes me and I make time for longer training runs. For now, it's all about going under 20 minutes for 5k. Once I've done that, I'll feel I've earned my stripes. Perhaps.

Previous Winners

2018
December Jigs
November K5 Gus
October Fellrunning
September LindsD
August Helegant
July Dvorak
June run free
May Sigh
April katypie
March Ness
February DocMoye
January Fenland Flier
2017
December Valyrian Plastic
November westmoors
October Windsor Wool
September Joopsy
August Hills of Death (HOD)
July GlennR
June LazyDaisy
May James74
April Doctor K
March Flatlander
February Night-owl
January .B.
2016
December jono.
November Corrah
October The Scribbler
September Big Al Widepants
August Gromit
July HellsBells
June Roobarb
May Nelly
April postieboy
March AntClark
February clare1976
January Duchess
2015
December ChrisHB
November Race Jase
October fetcheveryone
September Columba
August Carpathius
July Autumnleaves
June Tizer
May KinkyS
April kwala
March McGoohan
February Canute
January D2
2014
December Fleecy
November Sharkie
October runningmumof3boys
September swittle
August Irontubs
July MikeR.
June KinkyS
May RevBarbaraG
April Marigold
March becca7
February max71
January ogee
2013
December Argie
November neems
October Avon
September curly45
August Liliaicha
July CC2 Speedy Goth
June Bintmcskint
May Foxy
April flanker
March The Terminator
February Johnny Blaze
January Mother Duck
2012
December Toks
November _andy
October Paul the Builder
September Nellers
August Northern Exile
July Fenland Runner
June runnerbean
May Ultra Kanga Kazzaaaaah!!
April GimmeMedals
March Lyra OK
February Elsie Too
January Smout
2011
December richmac
November hellen
October LouLou
September Sunbed Athlete
August Nywanda
July Phoenix Lesley
June Dave A
May ogee
April BigChiefRunningBore
March Mrs Jigs
February Chromey
January John66
2010
December Loca
November Gymfreak
October Happy G(rrr)
September Foxy Davy
August GregP
July Binks
June Tiggia
May Lisrun
April Anna Finn
March Santababy
February Hendo
January Homer
2009
December Puddington
November NaomiP
October McNewbie
September Loon Dod
August B.B.
July Pestomum
June Controversial
May Boab
April Velociraptor
March Zoom
February eL Bee!
January Trin
2008
December mad4purple
November RuthB2
October No.8™
September Cavey
August KinkyS
July JenJ
June Forest Faerie
May Shades
April mic
March Stumpy2
February Oldbiddy
January Old Mum
2007
December IanM
November SarahL
October Girlie
September Jock Itch
August Plodding Hippo
July Buzzard's Sis
June cabletow
May Rach E
April micknphil

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