The achievements of a Staveley woman, linked to our marathon, have been recognised by Joss Naylor MBE. Anne Bland was presented with a Windermere Marathon Special Achievement Award’ by event patron and fell running legend last weekend (Sunday 20 May).

Anne Bland crossing the finishing line of the Windermere Marathon in a record time of 2hrs, 58mins and 2secs

Anne ran the course in 1984 in 2:58:02, aged 42-years-old, to win the women’s race that year.

The award also acknowledges Anne’s support of the event as a member of the family business, Pete Bland Sports. Their Kendal shop, regarded as one of the UK’s leading independent specialist running stores, has provided prizes and support for the last 12 years. Anne’s husband Pete Bland also helped us resurrect the Windermere Marathon as a fundraiser for our work with children and young adults in 2007.   

Anne started running in her late 30s inspired by a friend whom she went fell walking with and juggled it with looking after her family, working as a nurse and then helping her husband set up their business. Anne puts her success down to training hard, over 60miles a week at one point, under the supervision of a coach. With other female runners, Anne also campaigned for women to be able to run the same fell races as men.

Our Head of Fundraising, Scott Umpleby said:

“Joss Naylor was delighted to present a trophy to Anne in front of hundreds of runners and spectators as last weekend’s event. Anne works with her husband Pete and son Matt at Pete Bland Sports and they have supported the ASICS Windermere Marathon since the event started in 2007. What many of our runners didn't know is that Anne was an elite marathon runner herself and won the earlier version of the event in 1984 and 1986. Her 1984 time of 2:58:02 is nine minutes faster than the record set at Brathay by Johanna Fletcher in 2009, a time of 3:07:02. She is incredibly modest about her achievements which we think are inspirational.”

Other notable performances for Anne was winning the Elite Mixed Team Class, with her husband Pete, in the 1978 Karrimor Mountain Marathon. She also became the first woman to complete the Elite class in the Karrimor. In her 40’s Anne began running road marathons, at least 13 in sub three hours with a best time of 2:50 in the 1981 London Marathon. She also competed in the World Masters Marathon in San Diego, California in 1984 winning a silver medal.

Although retired from the business, which is in the hands of her son Matt, the 75-year-old is still involved in running the mobile shop at events around the country.