Jo Murphy was just a teenager when her life changed forever.
But when tragedy struck, she made a choice that led her down a positive path.
Read about how running gave her something to focus on in dark times.
When I say running changed my life, I truly mean that.
I was 16 years old when my mum died and it knocked me for six.
Running was the one consistent I had in my life and allowed me a focus that I otherwise wouldn’t have had.
Using running to find peace
Entering my 20s, joining the Police and a running club both gave me a purpose and structure that I had been lacking.
It opened up new friends and challenges to me.
I did my first half marathon around 2010 and set a goal to do a marathon in 2012.
Times weren’t a focus but with all the training, I was getting good and most of all enjoying what I was doing.
I began fundraising in memory of my mum and have been able to find peace with losing her.
I realised that I wasn’t the only one suffering heartache and raised money for local smaller charities which helped friends of mine in times of darkness.
Aiming for more
I wanted more, there’s something appealing to me about pushing myself to my absolute limit and I feel lucky to be able to do this when others can’t.
I looked to Ultra Marathons.
I stepped up to 33 miles in 2015 after completing several marathons and found myself with a podium gold.
This progressed to 55 mile races, the West Highland Way 95 mile race and then onto 24 hour races.
It was the latter that I saw as the ultimate test of mental and physical endurance. These races are lapped races and are about running as far as you can in the time.
Stepping it up
Edinburgh 24 on the 13th July was to be my second event of this kind.
I wanted to beat my previous best distance of 123.2 miles.
With the goal set, the training ramped up.
I run 6 days a week, usually around 50 to 70 miles a week with a mixture of road, trails and hills.
It’s important to me to maintain a balance with work, personal life and running so getting up for 4am runs is often required!
E24 was a loop of just over 3 miles around Holyrood Park with a hilly profile.
I ran 123.7 miles to achieve my goal and placed 1st female and was joint mileage with the winning male.
I was able to share this with friends and family who came along to support me throughout the day and night. Without these people, this wouldn’t be possible.
I love that running brings people from all walks of life together and I’d encourage anyone thinking about doing it to go for it.