I was school champion at avoiding sports, hate, hate, hated them.
In my 20s the only sport I excellent at was dancing round my handbag..and that was generally with a Marlboro Red in one hand and a glass of something
in the other. Break into a sweat? Forget it.
Gym fever took over and so I would dress up in all the gear, in those days leg warmers and footloose tights a la "Fame", and do reps on each Nautilus machine interspersed with a few drags on a fag.
And then, I hit 40, and I found my new addiction, running. I had given up smoking and a boyfriend dragged me out for a run. I went along kicking and screaming, it had zero appeal. I fell in love..not with him, but with the running, the freedom, the runners high...that totally captivating addictive endorphin release, but most of all with feeling sooo good. It became my "me" time. And it still is.
Have trainers will travel was my motto as I was working as a stewardess on private jets so got the chance to run in all sorts of magnificent and less magnificent places. Through the desert in Syria, through Central park in New York, along the Champs Elysees and the banks of the Seine in Paris...
I am super selfish about it. I run alone. It's the first thing I do every day bar none, it's also my early evening treat. In the summer months I even aqua jog in the afternoons, a great lo-impact way to run.
I have taken part in lots of long races, marathons, ultra marathons, races in extreme environments- deserts, mountains, jungles, my fav was a non stop 333km race across the Sahara desert in Mauritania. It took me nearly five days but it was such a wonderful adventure and I adored the endless dunes, the starry skies at night and the sense of achievement when I crossed the finish line. These days I live in the South of France so I can run in the hills near where I live, or in the dramatic Gorges of Verdon, or people watch as I run along the coastline.
I swapped the glamour of private jets, five star hotels, stretch limos and pandering to the whims of the rich and famous to do something I adore, and have never regretted it.
I now organize a wild, crazy race in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil, the UVU Jungle Marathon (www. junglemarathon.com ) I am so lucky that I get to combine my passion with my working life.
And of course with a whole new passion comes a whole new wardrobe of running specific gear! Just because I am working up a sweat doesn't mean to say I cannot look and feel good.
I mean who wouldn't want to have an excuse to wear a pair of these on your feet? My latest running footwear.
Follow Shirley Thompson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@jungle_maratho