Beginners stories, Chapter 1
February 24, 2022
by Martin Lawrence
In January 2022 we started 10 beginner’s groups across the week, with weekday mornings, afternoons and evening and courses on Saturday and Sundays, we had over 200 runners starting the running journey with us
We asked our beginners who started in January 2022 for their stories of the journey to graduating at the Milton Keynes 5K parkrun in March 2022
Our next beginners will be starting after Easter 2022 for information click here
This is what they told us:
Laura joined our Friday afternoon group she said:
I started at Chrissie’s beginners group in January 2020. I hadn’t been doing any exercise and it was hard! I was always the one at the back but that didn’t matter as everyone was so supportive. I slowly improved and got up to 5k, then lockdown happened and graduation was cancelled. I continued running on my own for the following year and built up my distance – the furthest I got to was about 13k. It helped me immensely during lockdown- if I was getting a bit tetchy my husband would send me out for a run!
Then in February 2021 my husband died suddenly of a heart attack in front of me and our children. The mental impact of this was of course huge, but so was the physical. I tried to run but just couldn’t. I still needed to get out so I took to hiking round the countryside where I live. Then, in April 2021, I felt a lump in my breast and i was quickly diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and then radiotherapy- all finished just before Christmas. I now have to have hormonal treatment for the next 10 years to prevent recurrence which has plunged me into an early menopause.
So my mind and body have been through a lot. I have had to stay strong for our children. But I never forgot the lesson of the running I’d done- getting out and exercising makes so much difference, for me the mental health benefits are even more important than the physical ones. I continued hiking and attempting the odd run throughout my treatment – running was super hard though as I’d lost that aerobic fitness and my body was tired.
So I decided to join Chrissie’s beginners group again this January. She knew what I’d been through and has been very supportive. It hasn’t been as hard physically as it was the first time round – I’m no longer the one always at the back- but it’s been quite emotional for me getting back to running. It’s amazing to feel my body getting stronger again, and it’s a lovely group who cheer each other on. I have managed a slow non stop 5k already and am looking forward to finally completing a graduation parkrun!
Emma joined our Saturday morning group she said:
I am part of the group with Steve and Kerry (they are FABBBB!). Just wanted to share a little story…
I am literally started from the couch, with a request I could bring it with me!
Having enjoyed sport, I became very isolated during lockdown and, as most people did, put on a few extra pounds… having been made redundant too, my self confidence had taken a hit, and I just wanted to sit on the couch in the ‘Emma shaped dent’…
I learnt about Redway Runners through my partner who encouraged me to join, so I got off the couch and put my running shoes on and didn’t look back!
My self confidence grew, met some amazing people and felt part of a group which I hadn’t felt for a long time. The encouragement and praise we have received from Steve and Kerry and other members of the group has been phenomenal – made me want to get up and put my trainers on every week.
Now I am feeling part of a group, fitter and healthier. So thank you!
It is not only the beginners who get a lot from the courses, Kerry leads the Saturday morning course with Steve and said:
I started with the Redway Runners as a beginner in January 2017. Throughout the following few years, they supported me from graduate runner, through injury and all the way through to running both the London and the Milton Keynes marathons. 2019 saw me run 4 more marathons and then lockdown hit and I was “trapped at home” (at least thats what it felt like!) home schooling my children, working full time from home with minimal support and, quite frankly, slowly losing my mind!. Whilst my children’s health and mental wellbeing took precedence at this time, the club were always there with their friendship, support and encouragement. Coming out of lockdown, totally unfit and barely able to run a mile without stopping for breath, I was offered the chance to co-run lead a beginners group with my old run lead and mentor. I didn’t relish the idea of squeezing back into my running leggings (which aren’t mandatory just in case that puts you off!!) but I had the selfish thought that they could help me as much as I could help them and they’ve definitely proved me right.
To be able to run is a privilege, to run with a club that offers so much to so many is simply amazing but to take new runners from couch to wherever their new journeys may take them, is inspiring. I’m so proud of the silent battles they fought in order to get where they want to be”
Chris joined our Monday evening group he said:
I have spent a chunk of time since mid 2019 dealing with bowel cancer (which was diagnosed as stage 3 when is was 39) As part of my treatment I had radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a chunk of surgery and was left with a temporary stoma (bowel coming into a bag on the stomach) which was reversed in October 21. I joined the January 22 beginners group too get some running, fitness, confidence in exercising and some group sport back into my life.
I have loved the group, the people, the run leads, the camaraderie. It is great, I finally feel like I am getting my life and body back to the way that it should be and am delighted with my 9:41 on the timed mile last night. With more to come!!
Made even more special by bumping into one of the helpers in green who was one of the nurses who looked after me (Eleanor shields) on my first beginners run.