herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

‘Mam is always encouraging, never pushy’

Betty Hand and her daughter Martina are gearing up for this June's Flora Women's Mini-Marathon (www.florawomensminimarathon.com). Martina, who is the only girl in her family with three older brothers, has run in 15 mini-marathons while her mum Betty is a veteran with all 27 races under her belt. We caught up with the mum and daughter duo.

Martina

"One of my earliest memories of my mam is her cycling her bike everywhere when she was going to do community care. She's always been active and we were an active family too, going for walks every weekend.

"Mam started training for the mini-marathons when she was in her 40s. I remember she told me about the first night of 'meet and train' in the local area; 100 people turned up, including one man. Mam would have gone through a lot over the years with family members being sick and she's always been very caring. She has this inner strength and is good-natured.

"She was always an encouraging mother rather than being pushy -- I used to sing in a choir and my mam used to tell me I was good and that gave me a lot of confidence. One of her favourite sayings is, 'There's an open road there to take'. We spend a lot of time in Connemara and about four years ago, my mam suggested that we climb Croagh Patrick. It really was a test to get up there but it was great when both of us got to the top. I'm about half her age but she has twice my energy!"

Betty

"Martina is very outgoing and good-natured. If anyone is in trouble, she'll help them out.

"I had three boys before Martina and I thought I was going to have another boy so it was a nice surprise to have a girl. She always kept them in line when they were younger and she's still the one to remind her brothers about someone's birthday or anniversary. She was always fairly good going to school, though the teacher used to say she was a bit of a dreamer. We went through the usual teenage things but if we ever had a row, she was very good at thinking it through and saying sorry afterwards.

"Our relationship has become more mature and Martina can talk to me about things now, woman to woman. We run together in the mini-marathon every year and really enjoy the day. There are actually a few mothers and daughters who do the race -- my friend Helen runs with her three daughters."

Next week: TV reporter Cassie Stokes and her mum Deirdre

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