"I was so nervous - thought I'd be left behind, wouldn't be able to run etc."
I started to notice ParkRuns but didn’t feel anywhere near fit enough to join in. Then, in April 2016, I came across Active Newcastle’s This Girl Can running groups and thought this would be an ideal way to start running.
I almost didn’t go to the first session as I was so nervous – thought I’d be left behind, wouldn’t be able to run etc. I plucked up the courage to go and couldn’t have met a more supportive, lovely group of ladies. No one ever gets left behind and the encouragement and inclusion is amazing. I may have been in a horizontal position on my sofa for the rest of the evening after my first session but I soon got stronger! We regularly do running events together and always support each other no matter what. I’m now really happy to be able to count these ladies amongst my really good friends, both within and outside of running.
In May, I completed my first Marathon, which was a Fell Marathon in the Brecon Beacons. It was awesome and helped me celebrate my 2 year runniversary. I have completed four half marathons now and these, along with the Marathon, wouldn’t have even been on my radar without This Girl Can and the social support.
Running has massively improved my confidence and self-esteem in both running and other areas of my life.
I have recently plucked up the courage to join a great affiliated running club, Claremont Road Runners. This is a great step on my running journey and one which I wouldn’t have even considered without the foundation that This Girl Can gave me.
This Girl Can has also given me the opportunity and drive to try new things that I would never have tried before, like climbing. I probably wouldn’t have given climbing the time of day before because I’m scared of heights. It’s been great to meet even more incredible ladies, learn a new skill, be challenged and have fun.
I have now been trained up as a Run Group Leader, which I enjoy so much. It’s great to be involved, feel appreciated, and be able to give something back to This Girl Can when it has given me so much. I am now a big fan of ParkRun so, with the help of Active Newcastle and This Girl Can, have set up a parkrun touring group, This Girl Parkruns North East. We now have over 600 women in our group and the idea is that we visit a new NE Parkrun about once a month and can support each other on the Facebook group – it’s a great, supportive group and the ladies are so inspiring.
I would recommend running to anybody and everybody! There is that thing that once you’re a runner, you think everyone will love it as much as you! It’s a massive endorphin booster, keeps you fit and gives you a real sense of achievement. The running community is so supportive and inclusive – when you meet another fellow runner, it’s just like an old friend even if you have never met before! Its great! I would say just give it a go. Don’t worry about how far you can go or how fast. The most important thing is that you enjoy it and have fun!
If you’ve been inspired by Emma’s story, find out how to get started with running.