New Year’s, New Group, New Beginnings

Everybody has a New Year’s resolution and according to a recent poll by BUPA, to exercise more and lose weight were the top two most common resolutions.

I’m no different, if I was honest, my own would be to eat better (well to lay off the cakes at least) and to exercise more. Since doing the Cardiff Half in October, I had been a bit lazy, don’t get me wrong I was still running but I wasn’t putting half the effort into it. I decided that January would be a new beginning, I would not only make more of an effort to get out running but I would also help others do the same.

I knew a few people who wanted to start running but weren’t confident to go it alone so I decided to start a beginners running group in Pencoed. I wanted it to be for complete newbies or those that hadn’t run for a while and wanted to get back into it. And so ‘Straight off the Couch’ began.

I set up a Facebook page and invited a few people who I thought would be interested. Our first run was on the 1st of January, six ladies turned up that day, we did a gentle walk a minute, run a minute around Pencoed for about 20 minutes, the ladies really enjoyed their first session and said they would be back and would bring a friend – and gosh they weren’t kidding, by our third session on the 4th of January 20 ladies turned up!!!

Amazingly it’s been the same every week, more and more ladies keep coming and we have over 100 members on our Facebook page. We do three sessions a week, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Some nights we’ve had as many as 32 ladies turn up. We now have to split the group into 3 groups due to the different levels the ladies are at, but they are all doing awesomely. Our faster group are flying!! And as some of my ladies would say “The back is where it’s at!” where our complete newbies are giving it their best and are determined to never to give up.

Now as talented as I am, I cannot be in two places at once, I needed to get some helpers in to do the sessions with me due to the numbers. Luckily the Pencoed Panthers were able to help and it’s been brilliant for the 0-5k group to run with the Panthers, it’s really helped with their confidence and it’s been good for them to hear how others have started and come along over time. A few of our ladies have already signed up for the St David’s Day 5k Run and I’ve even heard a whisper or two about the Cardiff Half in October.

The proverb says ‘From small beginnings come great things’ and I’m hoping ‘Straight off the Couch’ will be just that for others, the start of a wonderful journey and fingers crossed those New Year’s resolutions will last and I will see lots of my ladies cross many a finish lines to come.

Find out more about Emma Marshall and the group 'Straight of the Couch' by visiting their Facebook page

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