Meet the Leaders

Helen Morris 

What made you join FM?

I joined Fitmums as I had started running with my dog and wanted some human company on my runs. I saw the advert in the local newspaper and not only could I run with others, but my daughter was going to be looked after as I did it.

What was your original goal?

I started running as a 40th birthday present to myself and ran the Hull 10k 4 days before my big birthday. I was hooked!

What else have you done?

Since then, I've run several 10ks and a 1/3 marathon. I've also completed a charity challenge of running 250 miles in 125 days.

What are you planning for next year?

I'm toying with entering the Hull marathon in 2015 and know, with Fitmums, I stand a chance of completing this.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

I would encourage anyone to join Fitmums. Even if they feel they are not able to run to the end of the street. With the encouragement of everyone, they'll soon be running their own marathon.

Lesa Bradley

What made you join FM?

I joined fitmums because I wanted to lose weight after having my son Joshua and to get fit. Everyone was so friendly, encouraging and supportive it just spared me on. I really started to enjoy running as I progressed and got better at it and started to see the benefits as I lost weight and felt much better about myself, as well as having lots more energy.

What was your original goal?

My original goal was to lose weight, get fit and meet some new people.

What else have you done?

Since I joined Fitmums I have got the running bug. I did my first 10k in Beverley in 2011, then again in 2012 aswell as the Walkington 10k. In June 2013 I was asked to be a run leader, I did the course in July and I haven't looked back. I lead at both Tuesday and Thursday sessions and I love to see people improve on their runs every week, as a leader it really makes me feel like I am making a difference when you see people progress. I have improved with my running aswell as I need to pace myself with others and its given me confidence to speak up in a group. In 2014 I did the Ferriby 10 mile and then the Humber half marathon in July.

What are you planning for next year?

I have big plans for next year as me and my husband Ben are running the London Marathon together in April. I still can't believe in a space of 3 years I have gone from running my first mile to aspiring to run my first marathon, while planning to raise thousands of pounds for Sue Ryder charity. None of this would of happened if I hadn't of plucked the courage to go to Fitmums.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

Go For It!! We are a beginners running club who encourages, supports and will help you to reach your goals and also some new friends too!!!

Maryanne Frank

What made you join FM?

I joined Fitmums as my friend had joined and persuaded me to give it a go. I was one of those people who said "I can't run"....how wrong I was!

What was your original goal?

My original goal when I joined Fitmums was to run a mile! 

What else have you done?

That was in 2010 and I've had another baby since then and kept running after a short break. It helped me get out of the house with a baby. The Monday morning group at Blue Kangaroo has been a god send! Lovely to have the childcare available if you can't get out at night. I love being a run leader and helping others, as I know how hard it is to come somewhere new, and give it a go.

What are you planning for next year?

My plans for next year are to keep running and maybe enter a 10k (not done any races before) let's see how it goes!

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

I want to keep encouraging others to give Fitmums a go, we're a really friendly group, who look after each other xxx

Carole Green

What made you join FM?

I joined Fitmums when my dog traded in her trainers for slippers - she got too old to run with me anymore and I needed company to run with.

What was your original goal?

My original goal was to become more sociable (be able to talk whilst running!), run a bit further and a bit faster - within 4 months I ran my first 10k on new years day!

What else have you done?

I have since become a run leader and have improved my distance and pace tremendously and my ability to talk when running

What are you planning for next year?

Next year I am doing coaching assistant training in February and hoping to complete the Hull to Oxford bike ride in May.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

I would tell anyone thinking about joining Fitmums that it's a great way to enjoy running, make new friends and burn some calories so you can enjoy wine and chocolate more often without feeling guilty!

Mike Barlow 

What made you join FM?

I had no choice, my wife set it up!

What was your original goal?

To get out for a few runs

What else have you done?

I became the first ever trained run leader for Fitmums & Friends and then went on to become a fully trained Athletics Coach, I also got the first Fitmums club place for the London Marathon. 

What are you planning for next year?

After a year surviving major surgery for a rare tumour I want to finally have a year to focus on my running and would be happy to do a 10K – i’m just happy to be running!

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

It changes your life in more ways than you could ever imagine

Shereen Morgan 

What made you join FM?

I joined Fitmums as I Ioved running. I was never going to be the fastest and my favourite saying was always 'I'm a Carthorse not a racehorse'. Loved the idea of the shepherding as no-one feels inferior been at the back as the front runners get the work out they need and the happy to plod runners are happy doing their own pace at the back and everyone is happy.

What was your original goal?

My aim was to become a leader and support others to reach their own goals, whilst getting fitter myself. 

What else have you done?

I have gone on to run a number of 10k's, half marathons and did the Edinburgh Marathon in 2013 which I never thought possible. I am also a volunteer in the Fitmums PND support team and I have become an assistant coach too! 

What are you planning for next year?

All been well I've entered the London snow run in February and also Bath half marathon in March all depending on how I go after having an operation a few months ago. 

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

I would tell anyone wanting to join Fitmums that it will be one of the best things they will ever do, not only are you supported in your running before you know it you will be making life long friends and achieving goals that you never thought possible. X

Hannah Stillings 

What made you join FM?

I joined Fitmums after participating in the buggy burn sessions. I wanted to get back into running after time off pre and post pregnancy. 

What was your original goal?

To run again, get fit, loose baby weight and meet new friends. 

What else have you done?

Run 10k's, become a run leader and now I'm the Beverley Coordinator! 

What are you planning for next year? 

Hull Marathon and a few 10k's and other distances along the way. I have also been challenged to complete my first triathlon. 

My biggest plan for next year is to continue to grow our wonderful club in Beverley and expand our fabulous run leader team. 

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

Think of starting running, returning to running or even in need of running buddies. Beverley Fitmums is the club for you! A friendly club to meet new friends, get fit and loose weight. 

You don't have to be a mum or be fit!

Gemma Atkinson

What made you join FM?

A friend told me all about Fitmums and it sounded very positive. I had wanted to join a club, but was overweight and slow and didn't want to start if I was going to be left at the back, its not very motivational. Fitmums has the sheparding system so this never happens, I was hooked from my first attempt at running.

What was your original goal?

In July 2013 when I started my original goal was to run a mile without stopping with my main goal to complete the Hull 10k in June 2014.

What else have you done?

Where to start, I have become a leader, completed my first 10k out with all the Fitmums in January 2014 plodding around Cottingham, did the Hornsea 1/3 Marathon, Hull 10k, been a butterfly in the Freedom Festival parade, and just done 10 miles a few weekends ago!!! All this in 2014, it's been a crazy and fantastic year.

What are you planning for next year?

My plans for 2015 include a 210 mile charity bike ride from Hull to Oxford with Fitmums from each club, Total Warrior with a gang of us from Beverley, possibly Hull 10k (got to try and beat my time) and maybe part of a relay team in the Hull Marathon. But due to what happened this year, I reckon a whole lot more which I don't even know about yet.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

If you are like I was and try and make every excuse in the book why you can't do it, I can assure you you can, will, and Fitmums will help you every step of the way. I joined a running club, and never thought it would change my life so much.

Judi Cole

What made you join FM?

I needed a way to de-stress whilst I was doing my degree and one of the women at work persuaded me to try Cottingham Fitmums. That was four years ago, and I'm still running!

What was your original goal?

I didn’t have a goal originally, I just wanted to see if I could run a couple of miles - well I did that on the first night, thanks to Sam's encouragement, and I've been running ever since!

What else have you done?

Numerous 10ks, Mansfield Cross Country Relays, a butterfly in the Freedom Festival and part of the Fitmums Choir.

What are you planning for next year?

The THOR 210 mile charity bike ride form Hull to Oxford, a half marathon in March and the Hull marathon in September, and probably a few more 10ks too!

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM: Give it a go, we are a friendly bunch and support everyone who attends with lots of encouragement - you never know, you might like it!

Ruthie Richards

What made you join FM?

I wanted an exercise that was fun, cheap and, most importantly, outside in the fresh air!

What was your original goal?

Had been entered (without actually agreeing to!) into a 10K so had this in my mind.

What else have you done?

I've done a few 10Ks and charity runs, and this year my husband Justin (Cottingham Fitmums) and I walked the Coast to Coast from St. Bees to Robin Hoods Bay and the James Herriott Way in the Yorkshire Dales. Oh, and in 2013 we had a joint Stag and Hen Run Night the evening before our wedding organised by Fitmums and Friends founder, Sam Barlow! Last year, after one of Sam's 'crazy ideas', I conducted the newly-formed Fitmums Choir and we staged a brilliant concert showcasing lots of hidden musical talent amongst so many of our runners, walkers and social members.

What are you planning for next year?

As we're expecting a baby in February, next year will be about recovery and gently bringing my fitness level back up. As I was running prior to pregnancy, I've been able to continue running (snail-like, and not as far!) throughout my pregnancy up to now, so I'm hoping my body will cope relatively well with labour and the birth, and hopefully I'll be back to running before too longer afterwards! After the birth, until I feel able to run I'm planning to still attend the Tuesday morning sessions at the Leisure Centre for the post-run coffee, tea-cake and natter, just maybe not the run until I feel ready. And I'm definitely looking forward to attending Buggy Burn in Cottingham and East Hull! I've done it a few times without a buggy, I'm just worried that it's going to be MUCH harder with a buggy!!

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

I would encourage anyone who is interested in one or any combination of the following to join Fitmums and Friends: making friends; having fun; getting fitter; running or walking in a group; singing in a choir... Fitmums really is for everyone!

Vicky Moore

What made you join FM?

I joined to keep fit after having to give up horse riding.

What was your original goal?

My goal was to run 6 miles.

What else have you done?

I've done the 7 mile major series. I have also become a voluntary leader for Cottingham and Beverley Fitmums, I am a PND support worker, and helped set up Fitmums Juniors which makes me feel very proud.

What are you planning for next year?

Next year I want to do total warrior.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

Its a really fun and easy way to keep fit and I've made some really good friends. The social side is great...I won rear of the year this year at Fitmums Awards night... so I would also say running gives you a shapely bum ...honest!

Sam Barlow

What made you join FM?

I seemed to have invented it!

What was your original goal?

To make some friends. That worked! I’ve made the best friends that have helped me through the hardest bits of my life.

What else have you done? 

I became a run leader, assistant coach and I am now training to be a full athletics coach. I have had too many ideas and I am strongly encouraged not to have any more but they just keep on bursting out of me!

What are you planning for next year?

I hope to qualify in May 2015 as an Athletics Coach (fingers crossed). I am SO excited about starting our new Ten to Teens athletics session in January. I am also excited about launching a new scheme to support people who need a Fitmums helping hand to get active. I am hoping to make it to the start line of THOR (cycling 210 miles from Hull to Oxford) and I can’t wait for the Fitmums Choir to start again in January. I think I’d also better do a bit of running – starting with Ferriby 10. Quiet year ahead then!

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

Don’t think anymore..just go and try it – you will get the best welcome and support to achieve whatever you want.

Hazel Mc Hugh

What made you join FM?

I joined Fit mums to help my mental health and self-esteem at a time when life was hard for me.

What was your original goal?

My original goal was to run a few miles get some fresh air and to improve my mental and physical health.

What else have you done?

Within 16 months of joining Fitmums just running a mile I had completed the Hull Marathon in 2012. (See unflattering photo of me). Running had become a real therapy for me and a way of challenging myself that I had never imagined; as I had hated sports at school. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something amazing if I put my mind to it. I have also run the Humber Bridge Half and am volunteering as a marshal at the Hull Marathon this year.

What are you planning for next year?

To continue what I am doing, run leading at Beverley and Cottingham; supporting runners as they start on their own running journey. I especially like supporting those new to running.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining FM?

Just do it! It has helped me in so many ways, I have made loads of new friends and I get a great feeling from being part of something so special.