By chance I saw the run4life courses advertised on Facebook and to this day, I am not sure what possessed me to sign up…! I have never imagined myself to be a runner and have had several failed attempts and committing to various exercise fads. As a busy mum of two young boys, I have always been able to find a reason NOT to exercise, and not the other way around. When I saw the poster I thought it looked like a gentle way to begin running, and although I wanted to join the course, I didn’t see myself actually finishing it.
When I turned up to the first session I was amazed by how many women were there, of varying ages, sizes and fitness levels, but we all had one thing in common – we wanted to give it a go! I started doing the Walk to Jog course and found myself enjoying it each week and wondering if I could push myself further. I then started the Zero to 35 course and honestly, I haven’t looked back. Every week I looked forward to the group session and met a group of inspiring, positive and interesting women who I now consider to be my friends. We met up during the week for our homework sessions and even started a WhatsApp group to arrange evening and weekend runs. I was pleasantly surprised by the social element that it brought and loved having weekly catch ups with the group.
As the weeks went by, I couldn’t believe that I was still going and found myself feeling pretty thrilled at the end of every session. I discovered I was a slow runner, and often would find myself at the back of the pack. With encouragement from the run leaders, I realised that this was nothing to be worried about and soon started recognising how much progress I had made and feeling proud of myself. The rest of the group would cheer me on and I felt so supported and encouraged.
The day of our graduation run turned out to be quite emotional – I was so nervous and not sure what to expect and wondered if I could actually run 5k. We all met as a group at the ParkRun and ran at our various paces. I will never forget the feeling when we met at the end, all so elated that we had done it. There were tears and a lot of hugging!
Since then, I have ran a 5k glow run with friends I made on the course and I am currently doing the Zero to 35 course again! I love the structure of it and the group spirit really helps me to stay committed. I have also been so moved by the programme that I am doing the run leaders course, so that I can encourage other women to give running a try.