Think you can't run? Think again!
Starting a new exercise is never easy and when that exercise is running many of us would say it's even harder. For so many the last time we ran for exercise was at school, it wasn't fun and sometimes those awful memories stay with us.
Here 4 amazing ladies from our These Girls Can Run groups share their inspiring journeys and explain why you shouldn't be afraid to give running another try and how we can help you take those first steps.
With groups all over the North East These Girls Can Run don't care if you're the slowest or if you have to run/walk. Our Run Group Leaders and ladies who run with us have all had their own journey to running so they understand exactly how you may be feeling when you come along for the first time. We'll hold your hand every step of the way.
Read these stories, be inspired and we promise once you start you'll never look back.
"I stumbled through Facebook and found These Girls Can Run. I had heard about them before but never felt brave enough to join. I struggled with my anxiety and wondered whether I would be welcome or liked but I took the plunge and posted in the group to find out more. The replies overwhelmed me, the positivity and energy was like nothing I had seen before.
On the night of my first run, the cold rain was pelting against my window as I looked out and wondered if I was brave enough to go. My anxiety was getting the better of me. Meeting new people and taking up something I had never thought I would be able to do was a massive step for me. I braved it though and it was the best choice I ever made. My first run was fantastic. I wasn’t the fastest nor the best but I did it, and with the support of the group I still had a smile on my face at the end of the session. All of the girls were so supportive and encouraging and it made it so much easier to keep going when I felt I couldn’t.
Today, I feel like every time I go I achieve so much. The group is the most welcoming group I have ever joined in my life. When I am having a bad week I look forward to going running now not only for my own mental health but also to be part of a group that has inspired me more than they know. My life has changed for the better."
“In January I opened an email telling me I had a place in the world’s most popular half marathon! I started to panic straight away thinking I would never be able to run 13.1 miles but never the less I began my running journey alone! For the first few months I had to force myself to go out when the weather was rubbish and I started to regret my decision to apply for the run. I downloaded different apps but soon started to beat myself up about it and decided I would never be able to do it as I could hardly run to the top of the street.
When I noticed a group a friend was part of on Facebook I looked for my local These Girls Can Run group. I received a warm welcome on my first run and although I was nervous attending on my own the girls were so supportive and friendly I was overwhelmed! On my first run with the group I did more distance than I ever could have imagined and it was purely because the other girls kept me going.
Since joining the group I have participated in two 6 mile runs and in May I took part in my first ever official 10K event. I can’t thank the group enough for their support and encouragement!”
"I have tried to run on and off but I have stop started mainly due to negative voices in my head telling me I am too unfit, too fat, too old (59)! Being part of a running group means you always have that support and someone reminding you you can do this. No one is judging you. No one expects you to run 5k sub 30 which incidentally I had no idea what that meant at the time. I still struggle but with the support of the other women in the group, the friends I have made and with patient run group leaders I am still there run/walking. The other thing I learnt was the phrase CHUN (a chat and a run) and I think that is one of the most beneficial things about running as part of a group, the positive effect on your mental health and well-being. Despite slow progress and still often telling myself I can’t. These Girls are always there telling you you can!!"
"I had a bad motorbike accident when I was a teenager which left me with a badly disfigured right ankle, a shortened achilles and poor blood supply. I was advised that running would be off the agenda. I'm a firm believer there is nothing I can't do, I just do it differently, but running has been a challenge. On New Years Eve one of my friends, Nicola, suggested that we should all join our local running group These Girls Can Run to get fitter and spend a bit more time together. I’d actually been part of the Facebook group for a year but I just lurked, too scared to actually go for fear of being rubbish and last. In January this year on a freezing winter night, and with a mind full of 'I'm going to hate this' 'I’m going to be last' and “I'll just go the once” I was warmly greeted by the leader, did a warm up, ran further than I ever had, chatted the whole way, and surprisingly- absolutely loved it!!! So I kept going.... and going.... and going.
What a fabulous bunch of woman, there aren't many places you can go these days that welcome with open arms all shapes sizes and abilities both physically and mentally.
No judgement, no one is last - ever. If anyone is too scared to go, I just say, take a big deep breath, be brave, and go.... I LOVE it!! It’s been fantastic headspace in a busy life, and I've made some really inspiring new friends. I feel like I belong, I feel fit and strong, I've lost a stone in weight, and it's true, this girl can run..... you just have to take the first step”
Article by Kim Scott
Photo by Mark Robinson