From Couch to 5km and Beyond
Celebrating our member's and their personal stories is the best way to get to know your fellows better. This month Jan, based in Yorkshire invites us to read her inspirational and moving journey from why she started running to where she is now. Let her story be your guiding light to start an unforgettable experience, meeting like minded people and finding your fitness along the way.
Jan at the finish line of her first 5km in Richmond Park, December 2022.
Why I run at 62
Last year I happened to see two major running events, one in London and the other later in the year in Lisbon. Both times I was struck by how much the participants seemed to be enjoying themselves, and how exhilarated they appeared even though they were surely exhausted by the end. And by how people of all genders, shapes and sizes, including women like me, were taking part. I admit to feeling a little envious and wishing that I could have been able to do something like that. Then it hit me: of course I could have a go. They were just normal folk challenging themselves to do their best.
So I decided to start running. The first time I put on my trainers I set off and had to stop for breath within five minutes! I persisted, however, and went for a run two or three times a week for a few weeks. Then I spoke to Mary from Trails and Fitness who gave me three crucial pieces of advice to help me improve and avoid injury: to follow a couch to 5K programme; to invest in a good pair of running shoes; and to set myself a target event. Very soon I had a training plan from Mary, I’d visited a specialist running shop and been fitted with super comfy running shoes, and I’d put my name down for a 5K event taking place in eight weeks’ time just before Christmas. I have to say that this advice was absolutely spot on. The minute I pressed send to confirm my entry to the 5K my attitude to running became focused and purposeful. It was as if I had just put on a new pair of glasses and could suddenly see everything clearly.
How I trained
Over the next few weeks my fitness gradually improved. I could see how the different sessions combined to increase my endurance and speed. Eventually the day of the event arrived. I was so excited to actually be taking part in something that only a few months ago I thought had passed me by. The day was bitterly cold and the trail course was spattered with snow and ice, but everyone was up for the challenge. As soon as we started I became totally absorbed in the run. At the time a very close friend was undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer so I was also running to raise funds for cancer research. I felt like every step I ran could also be helping her in her own battle. I counted down the kilometre markers and then suddenly, it seemed, I had passed the finish line, had a medal round my neck, and my family around me congratulating me.
So now I am a runner. I have completed further challenges with Mary’s advice and training plans, and have more dreams for the future. My friend is in remission, I feel fitter than I have for many years, and I see a different outline when I look in the mirror. I have learnt that there is no secret password to running, it is there for anyone. The single most significant step you can make it to say “Yes, I’m going to give it a try.”
A message from coach Mary
Jan has improved 10 fold since she started her running and fitness journey last year, and I couldn't be more proud of her achievements. She has gone from strength the strength in a short space, which proves you are NEVER too late to start something new. Her first 5km time was 36 minutes, then just 8 weeks later she smashed her PB by 4 minutes, to get a 32 minutes; I can't wait to see how her journey will unfold, one thing is for certain, this is just the beginning!
If you have been inspired by Jan's story don't hesitate to start your own adventure. You can become a member today by clicking the button below and meeting more like-minded, inspiring people and start your own journey.
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