How Running Changed my Life and my Career
Running has changed my life for the better. Not just physically and mentally but also career wise too.
I'm a 40 year old married mum of 3 and I was the girl at school who hated PE and couldn't stand running. I had a note from my mum every lesson because that's how much I hated it.
Fast forward to adulthood and oh I know I'll start jogging lol…
I have done running for fitness on and off for 8 years, but in January 2018 and weighing 16 stone, not in a good place and yo yo dieting enough was enough. I'm also a hairdresser so as you can imagine just putting anything in at lunchtime to keep you going, wasn't very good for the diet either.
I decided to join a gym start healthy eating and start running again. Just gym visits, classes and running on a treadmill for minute intervals to start, then gained the confidence to take it outside. By the September I got down to my target weight of 9 stone and was now running a 5k non stop. I signed myself up for my first 10k by the October (bit off more than I can chew) and a few virtual runs too.
By the November I was regularly taking part in Hadleigh parkrun and running round Thornden county park. By January 2019 I built up the confidence to join a running club ( which I did really love ) plus along came all those races and medals (21 races last year). Plus I found a lovely online running group called Badass mother runners.
By March I was booked on the run leaders course with England athletics and also starting my gym instructor course with YMCA. I found through my weight loss journey I really wanted to help and show people that running and fitness is amazing and everyone can do it. It was probably at that moment also I realised that maybe I wasn't happy in my hairdressing career. I’d been in hairdressing since I was 14, I'm now 40. That’s a very long time and I haven't done anything else.
EVERYONE HAS THAT MOMENT WHERE YOU THINK IF YOU SAID TO THE OLD OVER WEIGHT AND UNHAPPY ME BACK IN JANUARY 2018 I WAS GOING TO BE TAKING PART IN THE VITALITY 10,000 UP LONDON A YEAR LATER, I PROBABLY WOULD OF SWORE.
Sadly though I did end up getting my first proper injury in the June from over doing it with races, a pulled hip flexor put me back and out for 13 weeks. But in this time of injury I started my own couch25k training group for family and close friends over my local park and for the next few weeks I helped them to get ready to take on their first parkrun. I even got them certificates and medals for completing it and lets just say a wet Saturday morning in July over at Basildon parkrun, all 12 of them smashed it and made me very proud.
IT WAS THEN THAT I DECIDED I REALLY LIKED HELPING PEOPLE.
They asked to continue on with their training and I also got asked by a load of mums from the school to do another group in the September. So I was now running Friday nights with the June group and Tuesday and Thursday mornings plus Wednesday night with my new groups. I think by the time the September group passed the parkrun, The Run Fit Club was born.
I now had my own running group with members and more people wanting to join. Sadly I had to step down from my running Club as it was a conflict of interest plus I didn't have time to run with them anymore.
So The Run Fit Club became a official runtogether group with England athletics and then it was constituted and a committee put together.
I was then finding other people to send on the run leaders course and also added a walking group with walk leaders and becoming an official walking for health walking group and becoming a cascade trainer to train walk leaders and also adding a junior running Club for 12 years and up.
LET'S JUST SAY I DIDN'T GO TO SET UP A CLUB, THE CLUB FOUND ME AND I'M ON THIS JOURNEY OF LEARNING. IT'S JUST GROWING AND GROWING AND TAKING ON NEW STEPS AND EVOLVING ALL THE TIME. ITS VERY EXCITING!!!
But the business side of permits, risk assessments and liability insurance and bank accounts, its very overwhelming. But I'm getting there.
While all this amazing stuff with The Run Fit Club is happening I then went and got a ballot place in the 2020 London marathon (first time entering) I entered like everyone else thinking I want get in…Yeah let's say I was bloody shocked!!! Imagine telling the overweight 2018 oh now your doing a marathon in 2020 lol. Also by this point I hadn't done a half marathon yet lol.
So in 2020 I did finally complete my first half marathon (Vitality Big Half Marathon) in march and I was training hard for the marathon and also LLHM too. Plus running near enough every day even twice a day for The Run Fit Club (yep that was getting bigger and bigger)
THEN BAM… COVID 19!!!!
So all races gone, group running and walking stopped and marathon training stopped. But things are looking up I'm back leading again with small groups (5 runners and 1 leader). I've completed many races virtually and I've restarted the marathon training (you never know October 4th might happen).
So let's just the last 2 and a bit years has been a whirlwind, but they have changed my life for the better. I'm healthier and fitter for my 3 children and husband. I've changed careers and now have my own running and walking club that's open to everyone. Plus going to add outdoors fitness classes (next year now) and I'm doing things I never imagined I'd do and that's all to do with running.