I joined Fitmums in April 2017 after starting the 'Couch to 5k' program on my own, but I was struggling on my own and wanted to run with other people. My original goal was just to be able to hold a conversation and run at the same time.
Since joining Fitmums & Friends, I have gone on to complete several 10ks, 10 miles, half marathons and The London Marathon in 2019 for Children with Cancer. I have also taken part in some trail runs, adventure races, colour runs, bubble runs, inflatable obstacle courses and Tough Mudder. I like to give anything a go!
Since moving to Market Weighton in 2019, I have become a keen walker and enjoy exploring the Yorkshire Wolds. In 2020, my husband and I climbed Pen Y Ghent twice and also Whernside; we are also planning to climb Scafell Pike this year.
We are a very active family with three sons and five dogs and can often be seen about walking or running with our dogs.
For anyone thinking of joining Fitmums & Friends, I’d say 'go for it'. It’s such an incredibly friendly and supportive group. I have made many friends since joining the club and it has changed my life. I achieved things I'd never thought possible and it’s all down to Fitmums.
I joined Fitmums as my wife, Jessica, had been a member of Fitmums & Friends for around a year and was making changes to her fitness quickly and was heading towards her goal of running the London marathon. I was a little apprehensive at first as I thought the group was for women/mums only and thought they'd all be super fit and fast runners, but when I went with my wife I was put at ease and very much welcomed. I met some wonderful people who you could tell enjoyed what they delivered as leaders and also all that took part. I’m glad I did decide to be part of Fitmums & Friends - it has pushed me into a better place both physically and mentally.
What are my goals now?
Now I’ve become a run leader and with past qualifications as a fitness instructor, I hope to improve on the opportunities that will open up in the months ahead and improve on my own fitness challenges and maybe one day I too will do marathon. For now, I’ve managed to to do a number of 10k races and the Great North Run half marathon, which I’m happy to say I’ll be part of with my wife this year in 2021 for the big 40th event. If I can do it, who is not a born runner, then I know people joining now and with support from Fitmums & Friends, the sky’s the limit. Joining is an easy decision, with no pushy pressure to impress fellow runners to work around your own goals and ability, but with constant support. So do it, you won’t regret it, it’s as simple as that. I have not once regretted it and it was one of my better decisions I made.
Having tried to get fit by running on my own, and never managing to keep it up, I decided to join Fitmums to see if running with others would give me the motivation to keep going! And it has!! That was about 10 years ago, and I have been involved in the Fitmums & Friends family ever since, in some way or other! My kids have also been part of the Juniors and 10 to Teens sections of the club and taken part in all sorts of events including National Cross Country and Area Athletics competitions. Being part of Fitmums has also encouraged me to enter events and tackle my nerves doing this (I still don’t think of myself as a runner)! I have managed to complete a lot more than I ever thought I would, including several 10k events, Race for Life, Hull-timate challenge, and even the Great North Run (four times!). I also enjoy the strength and conditioning sessions run by the coaches (boot camps) and have found a whole new way of exercising that I never thought I could do, let alone like! I have even been a member of the Fitmums & Friends choir (I can’t sing either!). I am trying to now give a little bit back to the organisation and help at two clubs as a Liaison Lead, giving them support in the running of their club.
What Fitmums has given me, and my family is support, encouragement, the confidence to just try things, and a great collection of event medals and t-shirts! But most importantly, Fitmums has given us some wonderful friends!
In the next year, I am aiming to just try more! In the diary so far, I have a 15-mile event, 10-mile event, three 10k events, and just the small goal of the Virtual London Marathon to tackle!!
I would tell anyone thinking about joining Fitmums & Friends to stop thinking and just go for it! As the club says, 'everyone fits' at Fitmums, and you really will find something worthwhile!
I joined Fitmums in 2018, in order to improve my physical fitness and become more socially active, after recovering from a serious mental health breakdown. And what a journey it has been since then.
Fitmums & Friends is like a family and I’ve made some great friendships, even with members that I’ve not even met face-to-face. The support, advice and encouragement I have received has been amazing, especially as I have a diagnosed serious mental health condition.
2020 proved very challenging, as I love the social aspect of group running and had never been able to run solo. I was recovering from both a long term injury and a mental health crisis and had just started club running again...and then came the first lockdown, where we could only exercise on our own. This meant I either had to learn to solo run or probably end up back in crisis.
I decided to aim to ‘run to feel’ rather than set myself mileages that I might fail. My first ever solo run saw me complete a 10k, which was totally unexpected, and I was buzzing. That was the start I needed. By the end of 2020, I had run 2,020 miles, my first marathon - followed by a further four - and completed lots of challenges, including running 105km for Hull and East Yorkshire Mind over three days/runs.
For 2021, I am undertaking a personal challenge - the5212challenge - and raising funds for the Mike Barlow Memorial Fund at Fitmums & Friends. My aim is to run one half marathon a week and one marathon a month, and although it is tough, I am on track. I have just completed the Hardmoors 30, which was a 34-mile trail run around Whitby and have a two-day 62 mile trail run in June to look forward to. I’ve come a long way since struggling to run a mile back in 2018.
Fitmums has played a major role in my mental health recovery and in getting me to where I am now physically. As such, I wanted to give something back and I became a Mental Health Champion in 2018, a Run Leader in 2019 and I’ve just qualified as an Assistant Coach. None of this would have been possible without the love and support of both the leadership and members of this amazing organisation.
Anything is possible when you put your mind to it and running reminds me that even in my weakest moments...I am strong.