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ALL WOMEN, ALL WALKS OF LIFE, ALL NATIONALITIES

... stories, adventures and all things related to life in Singapore and Southeast Asia by AWA members

Training with a Purpose: Laura Binns runs for Mind Charity for the London Marathon

Kilometres of Friendship and Fun (AWA Running Group), by Keri Matwick

As much as our AWA Running Group loves to run, we all admit to times when running requires “finding confidence and clarity of purpose,” the theme of this magazine’s issue. Laura Binns, a long-time member of the AWA since 2017, has a strong sense of purpose this spring. Laura, along with another AWA running group member Bernie Tretta, are training for the TCS London Marathon 2024


For her first marathon, Laura decided to participate as a charity ballot and support a bigger cause, Mind. Bernie also will be running for a charity, MS-UK, in honor of her mother who struggled with multiple sclerosis for years. 


Adult woman holding racing medal in front of 2023 Great Eastern Women's Run poster
Laura Binns holds her half marathon medal at the 2023 Great Eastern Women's Run

How long have you been a member of the AWA?

I joined AWA back in 2017 when we first moved to Singapore. We moved for just the two years so of course we’re still here in 2024! Someone had told me they had a great running group so I was sold!


When did you start running?

I started running about 10 years ago when I was living in London. I worked in an office surrounded by a lot of runners. Three of my colleagues ran the London Marathon the year I joined. We all turned out to support and I was completely inspired. At that stage I had no goals of running a marathon - all the training seemed like a horrendous commitment - but it sewed a seed and encouraged me to start. 


I’d never really enjoyed exercise but running soon became something I couldn’t imagine not doing. Living in central London at the time was perfect, with every run surrounded by incredible landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.


For my first race, I skipped a few stages and went straight for a half marathon, preferring the longer plods to any pressure to be fast. That first race fell during a heatwave and was tough! Thankfully a friend ran it with me and he did an excellent job of pacing the start and then just cheerleading to just get me round. 


How do you stay focused on your training?

I train better and enjoy running more whenever I have a race in the diary. I find it helpful to have a goal as well as a countdown when it comes time doing the runs you don’t feel like doing. 

Over the past few months I’ve started using a running training app that’s really helped add a bit more structure to my training. After staying at a fairly steady level for years, it’s been really motivating to have a bit more variety to my training and see a little improvement. 


Tell us about the charity you’re running for. 

I’m running in aid of Mind, the UK mental health charity. Mind fights to make mental health an everyday priority across England and Wales. They work to tackle injustices in healthcare, in work and in law that can make life harder for those with mental health problems.


With health services in the UK under so much strain, I feel it’s more important than ever to fight for mental health services to be prioritised and to ensure that the right support is more readily available so that nobody has to struggle alone.


A happy side effect of running over the years has been the positive impact on my mental health. Having struggled with periods of anxiety since childhood, I’ve found running to be such a powerful stress reliever and mood booster. It also leaves you feeling more confident that you can do hard things. So it seems the perfect fit to be running the London Marathon in aid of Mind.


You regularly run races in Singapore. What is a typical pre-race night? 

A big bowl of pasta followed by a very early night as the races usually start aggressively early to avoid the heat! 


And then, how do you celebrate? What is a typical post-race meal? 

More carbs! A big breakfast followed up by Roast beef and Yorkshire puddings with a celebratory glass of wine is ideal! 


And how do you envision celebrating after London?

I’ve become so used to running races on my own or with a few other AWA ladies. There’s never any fuss. We go out, get it done, head home. 


London will be strange as my family and friends might turn up to watch! Terrifying. I’ve also got some great friends running too including a couple of ladies I’ve met through AWA. I’m thinking a big pub Sunday lunch would be perfect. 


Thanks, Laura! 


We are totally inspired and want to support you and Bernie. 




 


Keri is a linguist and teaches writing at Nanyang Technological University. When she’s not running with the AWA Running Group, Keri carries out research on food, language, and culture. To see her publications, go to kerimatwick.com 



Interested in having fun while running? Yes, it is possible! Join us Tuesdays at the Botanic Gardens. Then, explore new routes and see Singapore in a new light on Thursday and Saturday mornings.



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AWA members are women who come from many countries and life experiences but they all have one thing in common — they have chosen to live in Singapore. Some members are new to Singapore,  while some have been here a long time or have returned to Singapore after time away. Our magazine - written and curated by AWA members - focuses on a diverse range of topics including wellness and family, travel tips, cultural events and information, and other helpful tips around navigating and experiencing life in Singapore to it's fullest. 

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