James' journey to Jog Leader
Posted: Wed, 26 Sep 2018 10:39
'I never thought I'd be able to run'
I started running 12 months ago. I've been on a weight loss journey for the last few years and never thought I'd be a runner. I started, like many people, running on my own. Running groups, I thought, were for 'proper' runners and certainly weren't the sorts of places that people like me, i.e. slower, would be welcomed.
I didn't really have a clue what I was doing. I started using the Couch to 5K app a while before, but was trying to lose weight at the time. I found it moved on a bit fast for those trying to lose weight too. I actually started jogging in wellies whilst walking the dog - what a sight I must have been! I was so low on confidence - only being able to run for 30 seconds or so at a time - that I could pretend I was just out walking the dog if I saw anyone else coming the other way!
Taking the leap to join a group
In December 2017 – with only a handful of Park Runs under my belt - I plucked up the courage to send an email to Ian Travers, Leader of Jog Crich. After a brief email exchange he assured me not everyone was super-fast and I would be very welcome to join the group. When I went to my first meeting I was delighted at the warm welcome I received and was instantly made to feel part of the group. All abilities were catered for and I really started to enjoy the group runs.
In early 2018 I decided I wanted to do more than one run a week, so I returned to the Jog Derbyshire web site and looked what else was on offer. From there I discovered All About Jogging (AAJ) in Heanor. I made contact with AAJ's Leader, the effervescent Daniel Coleman (if you've met him you'll know what I mean!) and attended my first AAJ group run in February 2018.
Since then, and with the encouragement of the awesome membership of both groups, I've progressed even more. The Derby 10k in April 2018 was my first ever race of any description and I loved it. That inspired me to do more and more and I completed my first half marathon in August 2018. I've entered more races as I've been completely bitten by the running bug!
My journey to co-leader and leader
Jog Derbyshire has been a big part of my running journey over the last 12months. I've found the two groups I've been part of to be incredibly supportive. They contain some incredible runners, but more importantly incredible people. There are people who run 10k races in under 45 minutes, but they are genuinely pleased for someone who runs 80 minutes. I quickly learnt Jog Derbyshire groups genuinely cater for runners of all abilities and nobody is left out.
I felt initially co-leaders had to be the better runners, but now know that's not the case. I felt my experience could be used to help others get into running and get themselves healthier and more active.
I trained as a co-leader and passed my Leadership in Running Fitness qualification a few weeks ago. That enabled me to take the lead on AAJ's Couch to 5k program which started in September 2018.
Prior to our first session, I had visions of myself stood in a drafty car park with two or three others who wanted to try the program. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when 68 turned up to our first meeting! I was amazed at the numbers we attracted, but it just shows there is a demand for beginners' programs such as this. It will also hopefully provide a conveyor belt of new members who will progress from the Couch to 5k program on to AAJ's other evening runs, meaning the group becomes even more active. I'm very proud to be able to lead this program and hope I can inspire others in some small way while sticking to our club motto 'Run with Fun'.
What's up next?
In 2019 I'm planning on running my first marathon and am completing a number of challenges to raise money for the British Lung Foundation, in memory of my father who suffered with lung disease and passed away in December 2016. Any donations, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/illsleyjames
Find out more
You can find your nearest Jog Derbyshire group here