Metro Aberdeen’s Ilona Kriauzaite hasn’t been short on novel ways of maintaining her motivation during the coronavirus lockdown period.
The Lithuanian runner previously lived in London where she was a member of Thames Hare and Hounds, the world’s oldest cross country running club.
And it was an idea floated by her clubmates in the south east which she picked up on and put into action over the past few months.
She said: “Thames Hare and Hounds suggested that members could maybe run around the postcode district they lived in as something different to do.
“So I did my own postcode in Aberdeen then decided it might be good to run all the Aberdeen postcode districts. As there were no races during lockdown, I thought it would give me something to focus on.
“I found out there were 11 postcode districts and my aim was to run round one every weekend. I was working Monday to Friday, so the weekend’s were the best time for me to do it.
“Every week I worked out my route on a map and planned what I was going to do.”
Kriauzaite successfully completed the challenge, covering a total of 305K which took her to sandy beaches of Aberdeen Bay, through the undulating forest trails around Countesswells and Hazlehead and along the coastal paths beyond Cove Bay.
She said: “Some of the runs were very beautiful, especially along the coast to the south of Cove and in the Countesswells area
“Some were much longer than others. I ran almost 20k on the beach to the north of the city, which was hard, but I enjoyed it.”
Each postcode offered a different test. The smallest, AB24 (Old Aberdeen, Seaton and Tillydrone), took 14k to cover, while the biggest, AB21 (Dyce, Newmachar and Clinterty) required 70k of running.
Kriauzaite split the AB21 trial into two separate runs, one of 47km, the other 23k.
Having put this project to bed, the Aberdeen University finance and accountancy graduate has now embarked on a new challenge.
She said: “I am now dedicating myself to running up the 20 peaks closest to Aberdeen before the winter sets in.
“I have no idea how many metres I’ll end up climbing, but it will be a lot.”
Kriauzaite has already notched more than 1800m of ascent as she has already been up Clachnaben, Bennachie and Lochnagar.
She said: “Lochnagar especially was very beautiful. I did it with another Metro runner, Lulu Lomoro, and we just took our time and enjoyed the run.”
Kriauzaite is hoping the current lockdown is eased before too much longer as she’d like to get the other mountains done before the weather changes.
Among the other hills she aims to conquer are Scolty, Mount Keen, Morven and Morrone.
Like all other runners, she also hopes normal races will return sooner rather than later.
She said: “I enjoy running 5k, 10k and half marathons. I also did a virtual mile during lockdown and improved my best time for 6:22 to 6:12, which I was pleased about.
“But after doing the postcode challenge, some of the Metro runners are trying to get me to do an ultra distance race, although I’m not sure.
“I would like to run in the London marathon at some point, maybe next year.”