I have always been health conscious and have swum and practised yoga and pilates for many years, but I had never fancied running. I remember my unsuccessful attempts some years ago which left me out of breath after just a few meters. It was two runners and work colleagues who suggested I give running another try when I said that having just moved to a new area, I wanted to find some activity which would help me meet new people.
As I was browsing the internet, I came across an announcement advertising a new running group in my area. After giving it some thought, I decided I would give it a go and that’s how I met Barry Wiseman, the founder of Harold Wood Running Club (HWRC), on a dark and wet winter night on 6th January 2015. He suggested that we would start a training plan which would enable me to run 5K after 9 weeks. I had a little chuckle to myself (me, running 5K?), but started on the ‘Couch to 5K’ nonetheless. It was hard and I struggled to run just a few minutes, but through Barry’s motivation and support, I persevered and after 9 weeks, I was able to run my first ever 5K. That felt great and fired up and with Barry’s encouragements, I registered for the Newham 10K finishing in the Olympic Park in July 2015. I felt very emotional arriving in the stadium to the anthem of ‘Chariots of Fire’. Since then I completed some more 5Ks, 10Ks and my first half-marathon in June 2016.
I must admit that I like the bling that I get after a race and I have a few lovely medals hanging on the wall. I am looking forward to my next one, apparently handed by none other than Henry VIII, when I complete my next half-marathon in Hampton Court in March. On the note of rewards, I was amazed and delighted when the club awarded me the trophy of ‘Most Consistent Runner’ for 2016. I must say that I often look at it with incredulity and, although it’s not always been plain sailing, running is definitely mind over matter and with support and encouragements, anyone can achieve their running goal. In HWRC I have found an incredibly supportive environment as well as meeting some lovely people with whom I have shared amazing experiences.