Three years ago, Glynis Buchan set herself a target of running at least 5k every day throughout January.
Having achieved that goal, the enthusiastic Ellon runner decided to keep going and today marks the 1,156th day in a row she has kept that streak alive.
Over that period, the 45-year-old has completed more than 11,000k in runs varying in distance from 5k to 58k and has no plans to call a halt any time soon.
Buchan said: “It all started in 2018. I signed up for Red January, a mental health campaign which encourages people to be active every day for the first month of the year.
“I was at the start of my training for the Edinburgh Marathon and felt this would be a good way of getting going by enticing me to go out more often than I was used to. I thought it would be a tough challenge.
“When I got to the end, I realised I’d run for 32 days in a row as I’d also been for a run on Hogmanay. So, I then wondered if I could get to 50 days and, once I did that, I aimed for 100 days.
“And it all snowballed from there as I ticked off various landmarks. When I hit 500 days, I felt no pressure to keep going, but at the same time there was never a reason to stop.
“I admit there have been some evenings when I’ve gone to bed absolutely broken from a hard run and thought I wouldn’t want to go out the next day.
“But, when morning comes around, I’ve always felt better and I’ve wanted to run again, even if it’s just to give the legs a bit of a shakeout.
“I am fortunate that neither illness or injuries have forced me to miss any days.”
Buchan was a cross country runner in her school days, but drifted away from the sport in her mid-teens only to return 10 years ago after the birth of her second son.
She said: “I started jogging around the living room in between feeding my baby. But then I eventually got out running round the block.
“A friend joined me and we did a one-mile loop, but I had to walk a few times.
“Gradually I built it up and, in 2011, I did my first 5k at Balmoral. A month later, I completed the Baker Hughes 10k and by then I had caught the running bug.
“I did the Inverness Half-Marathon the following March and the Loch Ness Marathon six months later.”
Buchan has since progressed to run numerous marathons and ultra-distance races including the Dee 33, the Bennachie 50k and the Speyside Way 58k.
Her best marathon came in 2019 when she set a personal best 3hr 50min 59secs at Manchester.
She said: “That was probably the most memorable run during my streak. I went with two friends and our agreement was that we’d stick to our own race plans.
“At 16 miles, we were all close together, but then I lost sight of the others and thought I wouldn’t meet them again until after the race.
“But with about 200m to go, I saw them ahead of me and somehow I managed to find an amazing sprint to catch them and we all finished together. That was a special moment.”
Glynis says running challenge has been good for mental health during lockdown
Buchan acknowledges that maintaining the streak of unbroken daily runs helped get her through the long months of lockdown.
She said: “I’ve been working from home and doing home schooling, so getting out for a run every day was so important from a mental health point of view. I think it has been vital for a lot of people.”
Buchan, who founded the Ellon Jogscotland group almost six years ago, has missed taking part in so many races over the past 11 months, but has optimistically signed up for a few in the months ahead.
She said: “I’ve entered the Dava Way 50k in April, although I’m not sure if that will go ahead.
“I also have the Brighton Marathon in September. It was originally to have been held last April, but was postponed until September then cancelled until this year.”
In the meantime, she is looking forward to what might potentially be the longest run of her streak so far.
She said: “Next month I’m doing a virtual run called Dawn to Dusk. The challenge is to see how far you can run in 12 hours.
“I’m doing it on a three or four-mile loop around Ellon.
“A friend is also doing it, but as we can’t run together, one of us will run clockwise round the loop, the other anti-clockwise, so at least we’ll see each other every so often.”
Buchan has no intention of ending her unbroken record of daily runs, but knows she’s got quite a bit to go to match the world record running streak held by legendary British distance runner Ron Hill.
The three-time Olympian ran every day for 52 years and 39 days between 1964 and 2017. That’s an amazing 19,032 days – and it only came to an end because of ill health.
Buchan said: “That’s an amazing record, but I believe someone is closing in on it and may even overhaul it at some point this year.
“There’s quite a community on social media of people who are taking part in running streaks and some of the achievements are incredible.”