A mum who is making a huge success of her new business in Kimberley has conquered the UK’s oldest and toughest ultra-run for the second year running.
When fitness fanatic Kerstine Herbert, who runs the KH Physiotherapy clinic on James Street, first took on the West Highland Way in Scotland in 2017, she didn’t know what had hit her.
The weather was horrendous, with 40mph winds, rain and near freezing temperatures, and it took her fully 30 hours, 27 minutes to complete the 95-mile race.
“But I went back for more punishment!” the 43-year-old joked. “And I bettered my time by three hours.
“I went into it feeling a bit stronger this year after adding strength and conditioning to my training, and of the 235 runners who took part, I finished 122nd.”
After raising £1,400 for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust last year, she didn’t run for charity this time round. But she was able to take in some of the stunning scenery as she traversed the Scottish Highlands, tackling 14,700 feet of ascent.
“Last year, it was the hardest thing I have ever done,” she said. “The weather sapped every last drop of strength and mental focus from me. But the mind and body are stronger than we give them credit for, and I soldiered on.”
Kerstine, who lives in Kimberley with her daughter, grew up in Scotland before moving this way as an 18-year-old. Her mum and dad, Bob and Chris, now live in Kinlochleven, one of the villages on the route of the West Highland Way, and they formed part of her support unit for the race, along with boyfriend, Steve.
It was just the latest challenge she has undertaken since taking up running about ten years ago. Earlier this year, she took part in the Tour Of Arran, also in Scotland, over 100K, and then she won her age group in the Hathersage Hurtle race over 20 miles in Derbyshire. Her next big run is the Robin Hood Half-Marathon in Nottingham in September.
“i like to challenge myself and inspire others,” she said. “I have a lot of followers on Facebook, and they like to watch what I do.
“I’m keen on promoting a healthy lifestyle, exercise and activity, and I particularly like ultra-runs because they are often held in scenic places and you get to meet lots of nice people.”
Kerstine’s fitness philosophy also persuaded her to change career paths at the start of last year whehn she opened her physiotherapy clinic.
After ten years as a firefighter with the Nottinghamshire Fire Service, she qualified as a sports injury and rehabilitation therapist and then trained as a physio at the University of Nottingham.
The Kimberley business is going well and she has attracted plenty of customers not only to her physiotherapy services but also to additional programmes such as running workshops, seated exercise groups and also a falls prevention class for elderly people, which has just launched at Greasley Sports Centre. She has also developed strong links with local GPs, groups and businesses.
“My goals for every patient are to provide them with a comfortable, welcoming environment and to give them the support, education and advice they need,” Kerstine added.
“As for running, if anyone is interested in taking it up or needs advice, they are welcome to pop into the clinic.”