MICHELLE - My Club Experience

I joined the Couch to 5K running group offered by Ystrad Runners in April 2018, having not run since I was a child in school. To someone so unfit, with no experience of running, the thought of getting up to 5K was not only daunting, but felt impossible. So much so, that I actually made a bet with my friend who came along with me that I’d not complete the distance by the end of the course! The first week I was last but Hannah, one of the coaches, stayed with me the whole way back and was so encouraging, telling me that not every week would be the same and to keep at it. Every week, despite thinking I’d never achieve the set run time, I slowly managed to improve my running time, with all the coaches and already established group runners being supportive and friendly. Completing my first Park Run after just 12 weeks was an overwhelming feeling and I’ve never been so happy to lose a bet!

After Couch to 5K, Ystrad Runners offered everyone an opportunity to join the club and I knew, straight away, that I would be joining. The coaches and more experienced runners are always willing to offer advice to those of us who struggle, and no-one is ever left behind at the back which is so important. Everyone at the club is friendly which is so nice as someone new to the club. One of the things I like most is that no two weeks are the same, which keeps everyone motivated and interested. There is a focus on building strength, fitness, and endurance to help everyone become a better runner and everyone is encouraged to do their best but no-one is judged if they have a bad day either.

From someone who did virtually no exercise at all only a few months ago, I’m now regularly running 2-3 5Ks a week with the occasional Park Run at a weekend too. I’ll never be the best runner, or complete a marathon, but this isn’t what I’m here for. It’s not easy to run alone as it can get quite lonely, so I love the support that the club provides. Even if I’m running along by myself on club night, there’s still always someone around and I find that that motivates me so much.

In just a few short months I have found that running is actually something I enjoy and I’m so grateful to the club for that.