Blog

Welcome to In Her Nature

History of Women's Running
In Her Nature is a blog about women and running. Specifically, it is about women and trail-running across beautiful landscapes. The blog is related to research I’m doing for my book In Her Nature, which will be published by Chatto & Windus in 2022, and which will explore myriad examples of women’s interactions with the natural world, from the eighteenth century to the present day. But this blog will also be a more informal record of my thoughts and experiences as a female long-distance trail-runner.  Women are increasingly visible and present and impressive at running events from 5Ks to ultras, at elite and amateur levels. 43% of UK parkrunners are female. In the 1990s, women represented only around 5% of participants in ultras, but today we’re up to around 20-25%. Some…
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Who Runs the World?

Uncategorized
Female runners have long fought for the recognition and status of male ones. Rachel Hewitt asks why a woman pulling on a pair of trainers is still such a defiant act. "At around 5pm on October 28th 2018, the day the clocks went back in Britain, I pulled on my running shoes and left the house..." Read more at the Economist's 1843 Magazine 
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London Marathon 2019: The Second Half

Rachel's Runs, Road Runs
Looking at my splits now, it seems that I managed to hold onto what my watch calculated as a 5:31 average after the London Marathon’s half-way point for another 9km, up to around 30km into the marathon. But I remember very little about those 6 miles between the 13 and 20-mile markers. Looking at the route map now, I was running through Wapping, Limehouse and Milwall, but I couldn’t tell you the first thing about it, other than I became conscious of feeling disembodied, in a faintly unwell rather than ecstatic way. I think I started counting my steps – at first up to 100, but then in less complicated chunks of 10 – to try to ground myself back in my body. And then, at Canary Wharf, around the…
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London Marathon 2019: The First Half

Rachel's Runs, Road Runs
My lack of preparation – physical and psychological – for the London Marathon extended to the logistics of actually getting to Blackheath. The day before race day, I was supposed to be talking at a conference in London to celebrate Mary Wollstonecraft’s 260th birthday. But I got stuck on a broken-down train between Cambridge and Stansted Airport, and missed my event. To avoid a similar mishap on marathon day, P offered to drive me down to Redbridge tube station, where I could pick up the tube to London Bridge (via Stratford), and then the train to Blackheath. But I cut it pretty fine, forgetting that the marathon start was still a 15-minute walk from Blackheath station, and I spent the tube journey anxiously checking my watch and wondering whether, if…
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London Marathon 2019: the Run Up

London Marathon 2019: the Run Up

Rachel's Runs, Road Runs
Back in May 2018, I’d started feeling like a road marathon was something I “ought” to do. I’d experienced the elation of my first trail marathon (the Hardmoors Osmotherley race) back in October 2017, and I was signed up for the remaining five marathons of the Hardmoors 26.2 Series races in 2018. I was getting used to seven or eight hours spent on my feet, and getting to know my body better: my needs and preferences for food and drink, and the shifts in my emotional state over lengthy, hilly runs.  But although my stamina and self-knowledge were improving, my speed wasn’t. If anything, I was getting slower. So I wondered if a road marathon was what was necessary to focus me on speed for a bit; to boost my…
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