Over the last 12 months, more than 350 women have got into running through seven new beginners’ running groups launched as part of Active Women, Liverpool.
Following the launch in April last year, the first groups built up their fitness gradually. They progressed from alternating minute runs with minute walks and culminated in 28 ladies running their first Race for Life 5K in July 2013 to raise money for Cancer Research and celebrate how far they’d come!
Many of these ladies, who started off as complete beginners, are now training for 10Ks and half marathons, and some are even group leaders themselves, volunteering each week to take a running group out and about around Liverpool. Despite this progress, the groups still welcome beginners each week and now average 75 to 100 runners each week!
Group Leader Michelle Hughes said: “Having not been much of a runner myself, when the run leaders course became available, I thought it would be a great way to improve my own fitness, plus ensuring I always had someone else to run with! The groups have been amazing in attracting women of all different shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels as we ensure our advertising is targeting absolute beginners right up to the more experienced.”
Here’s what some of the group members had to say:
Caroline: “I was looking for a running club that I could go to where there was no pressure on me to beat targets or run as fast as the person in front of me. I had never been a runner before so when I saw Active Women done a beginners running club I thought I would give it a go. I started in April 2013 after giving birth to my daughter and soon after I completed the 5K Race for Life. I would never have been able to do this without Active Women.”
Karen: “I've always said 'I don't do running', and for years I stuck to that, without even trying. Also, due to untreated sleep apnoea, which meant I stopped breathing 18 times an hour through the night, I didn't have the energy anyway. I finally went to the doctor and got my apnoea under control, and my next priority was to get fitter and lose weight. I have two beautiful girls, aged six and four, and I knew I owed it to them to be fit and healthy to be able to play and keep up with them. I've tried the gym before and it's not for me. A friend told me about the Yummy Mummy's group on Facebook, and through the lovely Liz I found out about Active Women. I decided to give the running group a go. I've had a couple of hiccups along the way, but have had nothing but support and encouragement from Alex, the run leader, and all the other lovely ladies in the group. The relationships that I've established keep me coming back, and if I miss a week I miss the company as much as the running! I love the fact that we run outdoors, in the fresh air, in almost any weather. It's as good for my mental health as for my physical fitness. By combining running with more sensible eating I've lost 10kg, my clothes are getting too big and I've never felt better. And if anyone had told me, even a year ago, that I'd be spending my 45th birthday running 10K around Sefton Park, I would've told them they were crazy, but I'm all signed up and can't wait!”
Kathleen: “I got involved to get fit, get in shape and do something just for me. Joining a gym wasn’t an option for me due to cost so being able to just put on my trainers and go out the front door and go over to my local park was ideal. Starting the Wednesday night running club back in April 2013 enabled me to start running but start it with a group of other people like me; it gave me motivation as I was running within a group which makes me feel more comfortable and pushes you. From never running before, I have now completed a few 5Ks, a 10K and will hopefully complete a half marathon this year!”