Our Founder – Cat Woods

The inspiration for 12in12 was during my 2016 challenge where Cat Woods, our founder, completed 12 marathons in 12 months, having never run a marathon before. Below you can read through Cat’s epic challenge, one marathon at a time. Cat’s hope is that she can inspire and encourage others to follow in her footsteps, as many have done before her, only this time giving you a sense of recognition for your achievement by signing up to your very own 12in12 challenge.

A photo posted by Cat Woods (@catwoods) on

Marathon #1 – 17th January 2016 – Jeskyns Challenge

Wow the first one done. It was definitely not flat so it was certainly a challenge, with plenty of lessons learnt along the way. I went off too quick with my 2nd fastest 1/2 marathon time! But with some walking and peanuts I made it round.

Marathon #2 – Heartbreaker Marathon

Following parkrun and a 12 mile cycle on the Saturday I was prepped and raring to go. Mentally I knew to start steady and walk up the hills, and that’s just what I did. My other little toe suffered this time at one point forcing me to the ground to investigate. 10 more to go!

Marathon #3 – Spring Ranscombe Challenge

It was a toughie! 3,000 ft of climbing, so 1,000 more than the Heartbreaker! There I was thinking I’d done the toughest for the year. Only got to do the same route 2 more times this year! Eeek! Hey ho. One more ticked off the list 🙂

Marathon #4 – St George’s Day Marathon

It was a windy one on a flat course, 6 laps and a marathon PB to boot!

Marathon #5 – Bewl Water Marathon

This was a different story. Undulating throughout with little humps, bumps and hilly. Oh and the half marathoner’s finishing as I headed out for my second and final lap!

Marathon #6 – Viking Coastal Marathon

A super early start as we were under a 7am. The conditions was perfect for the 4 laps course. I kept to to a steady pace, albeit a little too hasty. The course was perfect, nice and flat out and back. Not too windy, or warm, and no rain. All in all a great run, which saw another marathon PB.

Marathon #7 – Summer Ranscombe Challenge

No major training ahead of this, no real distance running. I knew the course and had my strategy – walk the climbs, and walk the 5th lap as a recovery! And use what’s left in the tank for the 6th and final lap. Simples! (Who’d’ve thought it!). For this one I had the pleasure of running with my cousin Helen. We kept to a nice steady pace. It was great to have company for the full distance. With the superb weather and views the miles ticked by. There was even enough in the tank for a sprint finish!

Marathon #8 – Punk Run

Wow it was a hot one! Super super hot, with not a lot of respite with limited tree cover for an ever so small section. I had company from my cousins, Helen and Gillian, plus Giles and a few other familiar Orpington Road Runners and parkrunners. This makes out and back sections far more enjoyable as everyone encourages each other on. I particularly look forward to seeing where others are in their run, it keeps the mind occupied like you wouldn’t believe. The heat took its toll as I tried to re-hydrate at the end of each lap, each lap got harder but completed nonetheless!

Marathon #9 – Beer-a-thon

The week prior had been stressful, lack of sleep and another scorching week all meant I’d not had a great prep week in the build up. So much so it was the last thing on my mind. This wasn’t helped by discovering we were not doing the familiar 6 lap with the out and back to the mausoleum. By excluding this meant 7 laps. The standard Ranscombe strategy was out the window. By the end of lap 4 I was seriously lagging but with time on my side I could’ve walked the final 3! I survived, and pulled out a Ranscombe PB by 23 mins! Winner!

Marathon #10 – Winnie the Pooh Wander

Once again I’d not done a lot of long training runs, plus my back / neck was becoming a concern. A pre-run recce gave me confidence, until I discovered several differences on the day which was a mini-mental challenge; going back up the fast down hill on the 1st loop, and going in the opposite direction for the 2nd loop – eeek! Great company on the day once again to see the miles tick by for this hilly course. Accompanied by my cousins – super efforts! All this aside I was super chuffed with my time by pushing it for the final lap

Marathon #11 – Saxon Shore Marathon

The 6 week break disappeared in no time! What with work stresses and other pressures I’d not had time to think about a marathon which in a sense is a good thing as there was limited time to panic. I set out a little faster than normal, one day I’ll learn, but in essence that stood me good stead for what I achieved on this run. I was still struggling to slow my pace,10.30 minute miles was going to knacker me. Come the 5th lap I was in a better place as I crossed the line I yelled “I’ve pd’d, wahoo” coming in at 4 hours 53 minutes!

Marathon #12 – The Usual Suspects

Wow it had finally arrived.Getting to bed at 2pm with a 6.30am start is not advisable for a 9am marathon start. I had so many familiar faces of support for the final marathon this year, wedding in Cornwall the day before. Ian for the first 3 laps, Dave King, Dave Sheppard, Laura, Michael, Rachel, Dee, Kat plus many more. It was hilly than I expected but super calm conditions – phew! Mum and dad arrived for the last 2 laps at which point I was getting tired. There were tears as I finished! I’d done it 12 marathons in 12 months!

A photo posted by Cat Woods (@catwoods) on

A photo posted by Cat Woods (@catwoods) on