#WhyIRun – The January kick start that was needed

In our latest #WhyIRun story, we hear from Stephne as she takes us through her journey from contemplating the 0-5k programme to becoming parkrun Event Director and LiRF Qualified:

"Work, emails, meetings, emails, to do lists, meetings, planning, actions, home, sleep, repeat. Day after day after day.  Monday to Friday was just an ongoing mixture of emails, meetings, actions and to do lists. I love my job and everything that I do, but it is relentless, long days which roll one into the other. Exercise? Nope, no time. Gym? Yep joined, didn’t go however – no time.

Something had to change. Who could change it? Me, only me. I had to MAKE time. In May 2016 I had had a health scare and was in hospital for a week following a severe asthma attack. I didn’t know I had asthma, I couldn’t walk from one side of the bed to the other. I needed to make a positive change. It took me until January 2017 to ‘find the time’ and feeling brave I posted on a social media page (run mummy run) to see if anyone had tried the couch to 5k app and had any success. I’d met Emma Marshall at school PTA meetings and she messaged me straight away saying she'd be willing to help me. Emma was a run leader for Run Wales and had a 0-5k group starting.  

Goal one – I am not really sure what it was, to run 30seconds? 1minute be fit – anything more than I was doing then. Maybe it was to run/walk 5k, to be able to complete a 5k. It didn’t matter to me if it is was a run/walk, I just wanted to get to the finish line. I had to train for it, the nights were dark, wet and cold, and if I missed a week I felt like I was starting again. I was always at the back, but I would say – at the back is where it is at. The encouragement was fabulous and week on week I could see my improvement. It may have been small but it was there and I could see it and felt proud. From there I have gone on to complete 10ks and half marathons.

Running is my ‘me time’. I switch off from the busy working day, it’s my release time. I can clear my head. I can aim for something and only I can control it. I chat and make friends, take runfies (selfies), visit new places.

It’s been a whirlwind eighteen months, I am now Run Director for Maesteg Parkrun. I am at parkrun on a Saturday morning and love everything about it. The fact that it is for everyone, you can run, walk or jog. I have been drawn in by the whole ethos. I love chatting to everyone as they arrive, all with different goals and backgrounds it’s such a lovely atmosphere – I wish I had found it years ago. 

I have also completed my Leader in Running Fitness (LiRF) qualification. As a result of this, Emma, myself and some friends have created our own new social running group.  We want to help others.  We want be in a community where we can help people run, jog, walk, get active, meet others, be social, chat and run, and have a good time. It was all a dream, we talked about it,  what it could be like, how it could help people… and now in September 2018 it is real.  It is awesome. #JustRunPenybont has started. We had 50 people come and join us on our first evening!  We just want to help others and long may it continue. Running has literally changed my life."

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