Meet distance runner Hannah Irwin who will share her journey throughout 2019 on Fast Running.

Hannah Irwin’s running highlights include making a return to the sport after learning she suffered from anaemia. On her comeback in 2017, she ran a big personal best, which helped remind her that she still had a bright future in distance running.

Over the next 12 months, the 20 year-old aims to break 35 minutes for 10k, and also hopes that sharing the ups and downs of her journey will help fellow runners.


Name: Hannah Irwin
Age (Jan 2019): 20
Hometown: Cambridge
Club: Guildford and Godalming
Main discipline: 10k
Other disciplines: Cross country
Full-time athlete/work/studying: Student, English with Creative Writing

Goals or targets for 2019

1) To continue to be a strong athlete and stay injury free for the whole of 2019.
2) To break 35 minutes for 10k and achieve 34:30 by the end of the year.
3) To break 17 minutes for 5k by the end of the year.
4) To motivate and inspire fellow runners by sharing the ups and downs throughout the year.

Running highlights

1) Returning back to the sport in 2017 after learning I was severely anaemic and running a 5:30 minute PB over 10k. It reminded me I still had it in me.
2) Ending 2017, ranked second under-20 in the UK over 10k on the road.
3) Enduring 10 months of injury and staying as motivated, if not more than I was before.

Personal bests

10k: 35:05
5K: 17:24

Interesting or fun facts

I write poetry in my spare time.

I have a major fear of heights. I got to the first floor of the Eiffel Tower and cried the whole way, so had to come down.

I run because…

I run for the sheer enjoyment it brings me and because of my determination to improve and succeed within the sport.

I was inspired to start running by my school teacher in year 3. She was so passionate about the sport you couldn’t help but want to discover why she loved it so much.

She sadly passed away from Motor Neurone disease, but if she had not inspired me so early on, I wouldn’t be running today. I now realise fully why she loved it so much!

Favourite training session

5/6 x 5 minutes with 2 minutes recovery.

I love doing this session on the grass as you can really dig deep and not have to worry about the impact too much.

Least favourite training session

Summer speed sessions, so something like 18-20 x 200m off 70 seconds. I prefer to keep running for a long time!

Favourite pre-race food

Almond butter bagel and a small bowl of bran flake clusters.

Favourite post-race food

Definitely steak.

Favourite runner or runners

Eilish McColgan, because she truly shows that you have to do what works best for you. Not every runner is physically built to withstand running a 100 or more miles a week.

Also, Paula Radcliffe, because you couldn’t be a distance runner if she didn’t inspire you.

Brands or organisations that support me


Hannah Irwin features in the ‘Fast 10: class of 2019’ and over the course of the year will share her running journey. You can follow Hannah on Instagram, while further information about the ‘class of 2019’ can be found here.

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