Since starting my running journey in April 2018 I've had countless people telling me how inspiring I am and that they wish they could run. My answer has always been the same "If I can do it, then anyone can!"
Kara tells us her story and how she got from couch to run-leader, and why she is now inspiring others to take part -
I'm not a natural-born runner and NEVER thought I'd be able to run 5k, but here I am, 16 months after embarking on the Couch to 5k programme, a mere 7 weeks away from my 4th half marathon! Me, a half marathoner! I can barely believe it myself.
A few months ago, after yet another person told me they wished they could run I decided that it wasn't enough to tell them that they can do, I wanted to be able to show them. To be able to help them experience the positive impact that running has had on my life for themselves.
I mentioned to my friend Hannah and asked her how I could become a run leader. She told me to leave it with her. True to her word she arranged for me to attend a Leadership in Running Fitness course (LiRF).
I thoroughly enjoyed the course and met some lovely people who all had some valuable knowledge to impart. I knew for sure that it was something I wanted to do.
"I enjoy being able to confidently encourage the group to keep going, to be able to share my own experiences and for them to be able to see that running is for everyone and it can be enjoyable."
Since gaining my run leader qualification I've led a group, and have recently taken a few friends out to start their very own Couch to 5k journey together. I love the look of dread on their faces when I tell them the plan for each week and then the sense of achievement they get when they realise that they do more than they thought possible. I enjoy being able to confidently encourage the group to keep going, to be able to share my own experiences and for them to be able to see that running is for everyone and it can be enjoyable. I love excited chatter at the end of each run, the sense of achievement and the way that everybody feels a part of something together.
As a run leader, I feel it's important that the runners know that I started out exactly as they are. Worried about not being able to do it, doubting my own ability and never daring to dream that I could actually run 5k, let alone a half marathon. Running has truly changed my life (both physically and mentally) and I am so happy that I'm able to help people begin (or continue) on their own journeys, however far they choose to go.