Jo Pavey: This Mum Runs book review

this mum runs book

About a year ago, I bought This Mum Runs by Jo Pavey and finally got round to reading it last October. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jo a couple of times and she is a truly nice individual, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into her book. After all, we have a lot in common, right?

  • We’re both mums
  • We both run
  • We’re both from the south west
  • We’ve both run marathons
  • And, errrrrrrrr…now I’m stuck.

The book starts in 2014, recapping her 10,000m race at the National Championships, a trial for the European Championships to be held that summer. Jo shares a lovely anecdote about the club vest she ran it for that race, a story which will make many mothers nod their heads, yes, we’ve been there too where we have just done things on auto-pilot, not realising that it’s the wrong thing. In some cases, it’s walking home instead of a meeting, it’s driving to the childminder instead of the supermarket and in Jo’s case, it was packing the wrong running vest. Luckily she found an (amusing) solution and won the race.


this mum runs book


From here, we go back in time where Jo details her sheer love of running. We run through her teen years with her running club, her battles with injury, her years training as a physio, which briefly led me to wonder if Jo the student assisting my physio at City Hospital, Truro in the nineties could have been THE Jo, her marriage and the birth of her children. Jo recounts her experiences in a down to earth, wry fashion, like she’s talking to an old friend over coffee.

Despite Jo’s long running career, it’s fair to say that she didn’t really hit the headlines until 2014 at age 40, when she won the gold medal in the European Championships, just months after having her second child. A career peppered with fourth and fifth place finishes, I remember watching her running in the 2014 Commonwealth Games as she finished in third place to take the bronze medal in the 5000m. A 5 month old Rose sitting on my lap, I couldn’t believe that this “old” runner had taken the bronze medal, just months after having a baby herself. I was barely limping around parkrun; she was winning medals in championships. I remember my husband and I cheering her along, thinking she was run out of the medals and then all of a sudden, she was there again.


From there, Jo went on to take her glorious gold medal at the European Championships, a month before her 41st birthday and the first of her running career, taking us to the end of her book. It’s an easy read, an honest biography of an impressive running career. Family is important to Jo and this shines through the book, inspiring fellow running mums to run because they love it.

Never think it’s too late. Do what you do because you love it and be a mum that runs.

This Mum Runs is currently available from Amazon for £6.64. Give this book a read if you’re a running mum, especially if you’ve recently signed up for an event and are wondering how to fit it in. This book will give you the inspiration you need.

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