Blog Tour: The Café in Fir Tree Park - Guest Post by Katey Lovell

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Katey Lovell's new book, The Café in Fir Tree Park. It was published this past week and to celebrate, Katey stops by today to talk about her running experience:

Keep on Running
by Katey Lovell

I’m not a natural athlete. I never have been. I’m reasonably well co-ordinated, and over the years I’ve had dance lessons, so it’s not that I’m totally unfit. I’ve just never been able to run.

Running is something that Lacey, one of the characters in The Café in Fir Tree Park, struggles with too. She’s desperate to succeed at her first half marathon, because not only have people generously sponsored her, but she’s also running the race in memory of her beloved auntie Marilyn. 

Writing the scenes where Lacey’s training (and turning more and more beetroot-like with every step) brought back a lot of memories of my own. A few years back, I decided to raise money for charities that were close to my heart by taking part in charity runs. The 5k was a challenge (because my previous running experience had been limited to jogging for the bus) but armed with the C25K app and my pig-headedness, I managed to jog my way around the course, albeit slowly.

The first 10k I entered was always going to be a walk/run effort, and I knew my time wasn’t going to challenge any Olympians, but I was delighted to be raising funds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who had looked after my son Zachary when he was a poorly newborn. It was a sunny September day and the spectators cheering on from the sidelines kept me going. The medal for completing the race was worn with sheer pride and I foolishly thought I was up to the challenge of a half marathon.

HOW WRONG I WAS. I’ve actually completed two half marathons for charity, although to say I ran them would be an outright lie. My blister-covered feet walked as speedily as they could for the majority of them, and I ran (jogged) as much as I could manage. I was seventh from last in one of them, second from last in the other. But 13.1 miles is a long way, and as I said, I am not a natural athlete!

The total moment of madness came when I registered for the Shine walk in London – an overnight walking marathon raising money for Cancer Research. I trained for months, getting up early on weekends to pound the Sheffield streets to try and get my muscles, and my poor feet, prepared. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever put my body through, and I’ve had a 9lb 6oz back-to-back baby with only paracetamol and codeine as pain relief. I cried my way past Buckingham Palace. I sobbed past Big Ben. I was pretty much delirious by the time I reached the O2, 26.2 miles (and ten pain-filled hours) later. 

But I did it. I did it, every time. That’s what I wanted to tell Lacey as I was writing the scenes where her jelly-legs could barely carry her, that I did it, and she could too. Because being pig-headed can go a long way. 26.2 miles, to be precise.

What an inspiring post Katey! And huge congratulations on your achievements. 

About the book:

Title: The Café in Fir Tree Park
Author: Katey Lovell
Published: May 26th 2017 by HarperImpulse

Blurb: ‘A delightful heart-warming read…made me want to visit the cafe right now, meet everyone and share Maggie’s delicious cakes’ Phillipa Ashley, author of the bestselling Summer at the Cornish Cafe.

Maggie’s café is at the very heart of Fir Tree Park. Business is booming, her lemon drizzle is the stuff of legend, her children are happy and life is good. But she hasn’t had it easy. When her husband Clint was sent to prison, she had to raise Josh and Kelly alone. But Clint can’t hurt them now, and there’s no denying that Paolo, the Italian football coach she spies every weekend out on the green, is more than easy on the eye.

It may be summer outside, but a new arrival in Fir Tree Park sends an icy chill through the café…

‘Warm-hearted and utterly lovely’ Sunday Times bestseller Miranda Dickinson

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