"You are capable of so much more than you realise."
I'm Marie-Louise, 24, by day, I am a procurement manager in England, Oxfordshire. I have been running since Autumn 2015, and have never looked back since! Running is where I find both my confidence and my escape from the stress of everyday life. It clears my head when I have had a difficult day, but it also teaches me never to give up, and that whatever I think my boundaries are now - there will always be a way to go beyond them!
//// Why did you start running - what was your motivation?
When I first moved to London to start my first "proper" job after being a student, it was a big change for me, and I struggled to cope. I turned to running to help me deal with suddenly being in a big city with an office job, and it has never let me down.
//// Do you remember your first race? How was your feeling when you finished?
My first race was a 5km race around Richmond Park in London. There was a 10km racing at the same time, and I just remember as soon as I finished saying, "I want to be able to run that next time"! I was so elated and hungry to challenge myself again - it was a fabulous high that is so unique.
//// What is the one run you'll never forget, and why?
Last April, I raced duathlon for Great Britain in my age group at the European Championships in Spain. I was so nervous because I had never raced at such a high level, and really I didn't feel like I deserved to be there! The conditions were challenging, but I was used to the hills and wind from England, so I just focused on giving my absolute best no matter what. When I finished, people were telling me I had won bronze for my category. I truly couldn't believe it, and told them the times must have been wrong! However, they weren't- it turned out that many people had been phased by the difficult conditions and had not given their best performances as a result. In that moment I realised that we are all capable of so much more than we think - we just need to have the confidence to challenge ourselves and be determined to compete even when conditions are tough.
//// Why are you a 361° ambassador? What motivates you to go beyond expectations?
I love being a 361° ambassador, because at 361° the emphasis is on achieving your own goals, and beating your own expectations. It isn't about comparing yourself to others. This is something I have learned in my journey as a runner, and it is really true that the most satisfaction comes from going beyond your own expectations to achieve things you yourself thought you were not able to achieve. I am motivated to go beyond expectations because I so passionately want to show other people that they can do it too! I hope it inspires others to take action and have the self belief to push their own boundaries.