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Flaming Lady of Hay 2023- 2024

Born: Derby, 1962

Lives: Hay-on-Wye has been home since 1990

Known as: The Hay Runner

Special Skills: Running, ceramics and motivating and 

bringing people together.

Jo Lord Flaming Lady - credit Billie Charity-8_edited.jpg

Jo wanted to be a PE teacher when she was at school but ended up falling in love with pottery. She studied Ceramics at Cardiff Art College and never left Wales. A workshop at the craft centre brought her to Hay-on-Wye in 1990 and she felt a powerful pull to stay.

A repetitive strain injury from potting led Jo to open a shop in the town, but after Foot and Mouth devastated Hay she found herself looking for a new direction. This came after a heavy night out when she and her friend Annie spontaneously signed up for the London Marathon. A decision that turned out to be a pivotal moment.


Jo and Annie trained every morning together before work, running side by side with their dogs sorting each other's lives out as they ran . They went on to run three London Marathons together and threw themselves into fundraising for them - which was as hard as the training! They organised Hays social calendar to raise money and were happy to discover that Hay could party extremely well!

By 2004 Jo had helped set up Hay Hot Footers Running Club, which is still going strong.  Running was now totally embedded in her life. It was at this point that Jo and Annie took on their biggest challenge - running The Marathon Des Sables in 2010 and the whole town got involved with their fundraising activities.


Shortly after this, while Jo was working at the Globe in Hay, she suddenly had the opportunity to do a ‘Leader in Running Fitness Course' for women. This was a game changer; her hobby was on the cusp of becoming her work and passion.

She left the Globe to become Duty Manager at Gwernyfed Sports Centre and while there qualified as a Personal Trainer and Spinning® Instructor. She also started up Hay’s Women’s Walk to Run Courses. 350 individual women have completed the course so far and learned that within a supportive group of people anything can be achieved.

In 2014 Jo created The Hay Runner, a service that offers a wealth of fitness training. She bought her own spin bikes and hired the Sports Centre before finding a permanent home in Talgarth to work from. The Covid pandemic hit and closed down Jo’s live classes, but she adapted quickly, hiring out her bikes and reached out to the global Spinning® community and did free online classes through Spinning® UK and Ireland. It was an amazing opportunity to connect locally and globally across Europe, America and Australia. She discovered a group of people who’s common ground was being passionate about what they did and in finding their tribe. For this Jo was honoured to become Spinning® Instructor of the year in 2023.

Jo is now back doing live classes and personal training and keeping women of all ages moving and building strength amongst each other. As Jo always says:  ‘Together we are strong’.


Jo Lord Flaming Lady - credit Billie Charity-5.jpg

What does this award mean to you?

'I am still a bit shocked. We get on and do stuff without always realising the impact it has on others. I was always very shy and nervous, always feeling slightly the odd one out. I really feel now I really belong. The Hay Runner is a sum of its parts, the participants are the important ones. I've just facilitated what they could always do, but didn't realise they could. '

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