Rochdale Harriers and A.C.

Meet our members: Caroline Fortnum

28th February 2021

Our very first featured member of RHAC is Caroline Fortnum!


First thoughts on coming to RHAC training and then joining the club?

I first joined Harriers many moons ago, I was about 24 (so around 1998 – yikes!). I remember asking an old PE teacher if she knew of any running clubs and she suggested RHAC. I rocked up one cold evening wearing trackie bots and a hoodie! Needless to say I quickly invested in some proper running clothes! I do remember being made to feel very welcome at the club from the off, it was quite different then, the men and women trained separately, but there was always a good turnout.

I had a couple of breaks from being a club member and a regular runner (when I had my 3 kids and then a few years later when I was studying at work) but I kept coming back to the club and running has been a part of my life for over 20 years.

Favourite race?

I can’t really name a favourite race….. but there’s a few I’ve liked enough to run several times; Stockport 10 – lots of club runners, but plenty unattached. Road, trail, hills and mud – not a PB course but a great one! EHM English Half Marathon (no longer going) – was my first ever HM back in 2013 and I enjoyed it so much I kept going back!

 caroline fortnum

Favourite training location and session?

I love speedwork sessions with the club. It’s the kind of training that, if running alone, I know I wouldn’t do, but the camaraderie (and groans!) of tackling a tough speed session with your club mates is brilliant. Hill reps have got to be the favourite but in terms of the afterglow of finishing a hard (dreaded) session, that’s got to go to Mile Strides!

Favourite events?

Rochdale 10K. I’ve raced it many times but the last few years I’ve helped out, either marshalling or giving out socks at the finish line! Love the event. Always loads from RHAC but also from the local clubs; so many club vests it’s great to see, and fantastic to pay something back and cheer other runners on 😊

Favourite kind of running?

90% of my running is on the road, mainly because I have no sense of direction to go off-road alone! But I love trail running (just to be clear – trail, not fell!!) Away from traffic and asphalt is always a plus. I just need to sort my internal navigation out 😉

caroline fortnum caroline fortnum

Best thing about RHAC?

The club has made big steps recently in trying to appeal to all runners. While it’s always great to see the speed demons representing the club winning podium places, those of us on the wrong side of 40 do like to push ourselves (sometimes 😉) and set new goals and targets. Running with, and for, RHAC makes those goals feel more achievable. It’s great to know you’ve got your club mates behind you, supporting you, whether in person or virtually.

And of course the other great thing about RHAC is that our 80 year old President still comes down to the club every week. He is a legend, and rightly treated so!

caroline fortnum

Goals for this year and longer-term?

I lost my mojo at the end of 2019 but being furloughed and in a lockdown in early 2020 helped me find it again! I’ve actually really enjoyed running for the sake of it, with no races there are no training plans or targets to hit so I’m running purely for enjoyment, and loving it!

My Saturdays have always been taken over by kids football but as soon as I start to get them back I want to do XC again (I may live to regret that!)

I’m not sure I’ll do another marathon (never say never) but I’m looking forward to tackling more HM’s when life gets back to normal. And who knows, maybe even get back to my sub-2hr glory days..?!! 😉

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