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Helen Clitheroe: An Aging Runner’s Inspiration

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Mar. 24, 2011

Helen Clitheroe won gold at the age of 37. Photo: The Telegraph

At the age of 37, she finally won gold.

Fourteen years is a long time to keep trying and falling short at a goal. Most people would give up well before then and try something else.

But not Britain’s 37-year-old Helen Clitheroe. She had dreamed about winning a gold medal in her long career and at the 3,000m European Indoor Championships in Paris earlier this month that dream finally came true.

Perfore her win in Paris, Clitheroe hadn’t won an international title (a bronze medal) since the Commonwealth Games nine years ago.

The British underdog is now setting her sights on the 2012 Olympics.

“When you get into your thirties, the question you keep getting asked is: ‘When are you stopping?’ You don’t get asked about what’s next,” she said. “And then you see friends from the sport retiring around you. But I didn’t want to finish. Even during the down times, my husband, Neil, and my coach would say: ‘Are you sure you want to stop because once you finish, that will be it. You won’t be able to go back’.”

For More: The Telegraph

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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