SUNDERLAND Harrier Ingrid Hope takes to the roads before the crack of dawn to ensure she gets her daily training session in before the start of her hectic working day.
The Tunstall mother-of-two is undefeated on the North East roads as a veteran since April 2009 and her remarkable record has been attained despite her busy lifestyle.
As well as working four days a week as an administration assistant at Sunderland Civic Centre, the 51-year-old also works part-time as a fitness instructor.
“I’m normally out training before 6am and train for just under an hour,’’ she said.
“I find this is the best time for me, as in the evening I have my fitness lessons at the Puma Tennis Centre and the Aquatic Centre.’’
Ingrid has up to 12 sessions each week, with classes in weights, circuits and spinning, among others. This, no doubt, helps her with her overall fitness as she hits the North East roads to take on her rivals.
She was introduced to the sport in 2005 and encouraged to join the Harriers, making her debut in 2005 in the Blyth Valley 10k.
She got off to a great start, winning the over-40 title in 42.06. Since then she has continued to make a name for herself, having never been outside the first three in open road races as she moved up through the veteran categories.
After tasting defeat as a 45-year-old in the Middlesbrough and Darlington 10k in 2008, to Sue Dolan and Fiona Shelton respectively, Ingrid then began her superb winning sequence, opening her account as an over-50 in the South Shields Sand Dancer 10k in April 2009.
Although she much prefers the roads to cross-country, her rare foray over the country at North Shields in March last year in the North East Veterans’ Championships gained her an emphatic first place.
Her last race victory came in the Blyth Sands race in early December, but since then she has been on the injured list.
“I’ve had a bit of an Achilles tendon injury which forced me to miss the Saltwell 10k a couple of weeks ago, but I should be fit to defend my North East Cross-Country Veterans’ title at Jarrow in March,’’ she added.
Ingrid’s personal bests on the roads are 20.18 for 5k and 39.59 for 10k. Her 10k time ranked her 16th in the UK for an over-50 in 2010.
“I just love training and racing and I intend to keep going for as long as I can,’’ said Ingrid.
H The Sunderland Strollers who were lucky in the club draw for entries to the London Marathon were Paul Dunlop, Chris Duke and Ritchie Gerry.
H Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers stage their Old Monks multi-terrain six-mile race at Hart Village on Sunday at 11am.