When Alyson Winn decided to get fit, there was just no stopping her. This weekend she takes on her first 30-mile trail run, raising money for Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith children’s hospices.

A determined grandmother is taking on her first ever ultra-marathon, testing herself on an incredible 30 miles of mid Wales’ trails. It’s a challenge that she never could have dreamt of doing when she first took up running just seven years ago.

Alyson Winn, from Froncysyllte, near Chirk, is all set for ‘The HOWUM 30’ (the Pegasus Heart of Wales Ultra Marathon) on 4th May. The tenacious 66-year-old is running for Hope House & Tŷ Gobaith children’s hospices, a charity that has previously supported family friends.

Alyson is a dedicated fundraiser who has supported Hope House events including the Llangollen Canal Walk and Dark Runs, which she’s enjoyed taking part in with grandsons Curtis, Leighton and Liam.

She says: “It’s such a fantastic charity which supports local families caring for a child with a life-threatening condition or whose child has died. I have friends whose families have been helped and supported so much at such a difficult time.”

Alison says she first started running in a bid to be more healthy.

“I took up running before my 60th birthday. Sadly, some of my close friends had recently died and I became very aware that I was unfit, overweight and a smoker. The only exercise I did was walking the dog,” she admits

“I decided to do something about it, so I gave up smoking, joined a slimming club, then I signed up for ‘Couch to 5k’. My family thought it was funny and didn’t believe me at first.

“But I loved it. I took part in 5ks, then 10ks. It escalated quickly and I made new running friends. It was really sociable.”

Alyson’s runs gradually became longer until this year she’s signed up for an ultra marathon.

“Now that I’m doing 30 miles, people aren’t so keen to join me on my longer runs. Though running buddy and long-term Hope House supporter Sharon Cowley has joined me on some of my training runs.

“I also enjoy training on my own, at my own pace, taking in the scenery and listening to nature.

The Heart of Wales Ultra Marathon is hilly 30-mile route starting and finishing in Llanidloes including sections of the Sarn, Glyndwr’s Way, Severn Way and the Wye Valley Way around the Clywedog Reservoir and up to the source of the River Severn before returning to Llanidloes.

Alyson has recently retired from careers as a nurse, and then a fundraiser. This has given her more spare time to train. She says she’s lucky to live near some beautiful canal walks and countryside and has enjoyed training. She’s been clocking up some long weekend runs as well as shorter mid-week runs, swims and gym sessions.

The secret to long trail runs is to be prepared, she says.

“I like lots of little snacks and water. Jam butties are good! I’ll also be taking spare clothes in case it’s wet, and sun cream in case it’s hot.”

Alyson has booked herself a Bed and Breakfast for the weekend and is looking forward to pizza and a bath after she’s made the finish line.

“I’m in a slimming club so I’m not really meant to have pizza, but I think I’ll deserve it after that.”

She has suffered a training set back last week with a chest infection, but is now back on track and not letting anything hold her back.

“I’m very ploddy. It’s about completing the route in one piece, not about winning any races,” she says.

“This event has no cut off so there’s no pressure to complete in a certain time. This suits me as it’s more inclusive, and it’s ok if I choose to walk up some of the hills.”

Alyson is looking to finish in under 10 hours if possible, and hopes to raise more than £300.

“I like a challenge but I’m not obsessed with being fast or being on a podium. It’s about the personal challenge.

“When I first started running, I signed up for every local run going. My grandson was impressed with all my medals. I remember him saying: “You must be really good to have all those medals, granny. He was a bit disappointed to hear they were just for taking part.

“I’m happy to run at my own pace, and keep on plodding. I’ve already signed up for my second ultra-marathon in September. I love running with friends or on my own, and am extra motivated by the kind people who are sponsoring me, too. Thank you!”

Sponsor Alyson at


Alyson Winn.