Guest Blog with Ex Commonwealth Marathon Runner Julia Armstrong

Julia @ London Marathon 1986

Julia on the beach in Africa

I met Julia via her Twitter Page and immediately felt we had a lot in common and a bond. We shared many conversations about not only running but life in general. I find Julia a calming influence who is wise way beyond her years and having read her book I can see why 😉

We ran the 49th of my 50 marathons together along the Spanish coastline and it is a day I will never forget. A top athlete and a great person to be around.


I hope you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

Name – Julia Armstrong

Age – 51

Brief Bio –

I started running the moment I could walk and dreamed of running for England when I was young. I achieved my first England vest when I was 19 and then competed at a high level through my 20’s and into my early 30’s, being selected for other internationals and gaining success at the marathon, winning the Dublin Marathon in 1985 and achieving a PB of 2.36.31 in the 1986 London Marathon, where I finished 7th woman and 3rd British woman.

I am now competing well in the over 50 category, often winning my age group and still placing high in the open races.

What attracted you to running?

I have loved to run since I was a little girl. It was what i wanted to ‘do’ and be’ – ‘a runner’ It is my main creative expression, my soul expression really and feels like it is what I came to the planet to do, so that I could learn about myself and guide others to learn about themselves

You ran in the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, was that your career high?

It was my career low really, as I dropped out at 20 miles and so had to face very publicly my greatest disappointment, but it ultimately was the greatest learning and the point where I had to really look at myself and learn, so in a spiritual and personal development  way it could be described as a career high!

What do you think pro athletes have the others do not? It is mainly discipline or something else?

They come in with a gift – and then it is how they develop it. The commitment to develop the gift and how it is developed is as important as the gift itself, and of course the desire and passion to fuel the expression is important, as well as the obvious need to be happy to do the hours and hours of practice needed to excel.

Do you think that we are built to run or to genes and biomechanics make a difference?

I think we are born to run, it is how we survived in the past and so it is ‘brain stem’ basic survival, old brain stuff at the core. It is only modern day living, incorrect movement patterns and sitting in the wrong position and inactivity, accidents, emotional trauma all contribute to the body getting out of alignment

Any heroes sporting or non-sporting?

Mother Theresa

What is your favourite distance to run? Has this changed over the years?

Do you mean to race? My favourite race distance was always 10 miles, one of my completely ‘in the zone’ races was the Woking 10 miles which I won in 55.10 in 1986, I can still remember the feeling of that race today – it still would be my favourite distance, but not many about!

You now do a weekly podcast and write a column for Running Free Magazine, tell us about that?

I love interviewing people about their life. I have two podcast series, one is called ‘The Bare truth’, which tends to be about relationships, mind body spirit connection, really it is people expressing themselves and talking about their passions and their work.

The other is called ‘Running to learn’ and is me talking to runners about their own individual running journey.

I write a column for Running Free, which looks at running as a ‘meditation on the move’ and I am their roving race reporter ‘racing the world’!

What other kinds of work do you do?

I am a therapist, a healer, a teacher – working with people, often at really difficult times in their lives, when they are experiencing big challenges without the skills to manage them – or know how to move forward or heal. I work with them to find ways to live as they want and to heal the pain and wounds at the core level.

We ran together on my 49th Marathon and seemed to gel perfectly, do you prefer to train alone or with a partner?

I like both, either to run alone or to run with one other, but it is important to me that the energy flows well between us, which it did with you and me!

Best running memory?

Difficult to pick out one – I have so many and have had such a rich and varied running career – trying to think, but can’t single one out!

What’s next for you Julia?

I am going to continue going away as The Running Free Roving Race reporter and that is giving my running life direction , adventure and new experiences! it is also keeping me running shorter races, half marathons and 10ks which I am liking as I now have a mission to see how fast I can run both those distances next year!

You can check out the links in this article to find out more about Julia’s work and exploits in running past and present.

About Mark Cooper

My name is Mark Cooper, I am an ultra runner, motivational speaker, expedition consultant and public relations rookie. I help people achieve greatness in their lives. For bookings or more information you can email
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3 Responses to Guest Blog with Ex Commonwealth Marathon Runner Julia Armstrong

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