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Arna Marshall-Read

Arna lives in Taunton with her two teenage daughters. And whilst she juggles family life with her role as a Healthcare Assistant at Musgrove Hospital, she is never seen to be sat around too long. From running to walking, paddle boarding to rounders, Arna loves to get outside to boost her mind and body.

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Tell us about yourself

Can you tell us a little more about why you love running and how you first got into it?

In November 2020, I was diagnosed as Type 1 diabetic (on insulin), which has been hard to get used to, especially during Covid. I had been what I thought was a Type 2 diabetic for three years prior but my diagnosis was incorrect! My initial diagnosis prompted me to get out and move more. This is how I got into running and am now a proud member of the Taunton Running Club. I enjoy running about 5k but have done a few 10k runs too. My route often takes me along the Taunton canal or around Longrun Meadow. I haven’t been able to run much over the last year due to a foot injury, but as it heals and social distancing measures ease, I look forward to soon returning to our regular Tuesday night running club. It’s free, and there’s small groups that run at your pace and nobody gets left behind.

Where are your favourite places to go outside in Somerset?

I’ve always loved walking, even more so during lockdown. I have walked a lot on the Quantocks, Cothelstone Hill or up to Wills Neck from Lydeard Hill. As well as the Blackdown Hills, Castle Neroche to Otterhead Lakes, and just generally around the town and villages with friends.

I adore coastal walking too, Seatown, a small coastal village less than a mile from Chideock, is a favourite of mine. I recently walked the first part of the South West Coastal Path, from Minehead to Porlock, with a bunch of my rounders team friends.

Are there any other outdoor activities you enjoy doing in Somerset?

I have an inflatable kayak and paddle board and regularly take them on the River Tone, through the town or Taunton canal. I have a few friends with boards or boats so usually find somebody to join me, I’m not that great at it but really enjoy it! I also am a member of the TASCC (Taunton Adventurous Sports and Canoe Club), it’s great because as a member, you can turn up on a Friday night and use the kayaking and paddle board equipment for two hours for only £7. They are very welcoming and it’s great fun, not to mention how lovely it is paddling up the river listening to the birds – you get to see bits of Taunton others may not see!

I play rounders (very badly!) with the Batty Birds, an all-female team. I’ve played with them for a number of years since turning up one day after hearing about it from a school mum. It’s quite daunting turning up to things like that alone but have always found people very welcoming and helpful and you soon get talking.

I also love cycling, but just smaller distances up to 12ish miles, and just cycle around the country lanes with my daughters or friends.

I’m not one for sitting around too long and always think it’s so good to boost your mood just to get out and have a laugh and a chat, as well as the obvious health benefits for myself with the diabetes.