Meet the Leaders

Caroline Hastie

What made you join FM?

Weighing in at almost 22 stone I knew I needed to do something about it. I began running around the block (well if you could call it that!) so with eating healthy and joining a gym I managed to shed the weight (8 stone). I ran the Humber Bridge Half Marathon twice and the Hull Marathon. My intention was to prove that I could do it then NEVER run again. But all the way around the marathon course I heard an Army of pink and blue supporters cheering me on. It felt amazing and I wanted to be a part of that! So on a cold dark October evening I walked through the doors of Cottingham Pavillion and to this day I have never looked back. I was welcomed with open arms. in my first official week as a Fitmum I took part in the 5 in 5 challenge getting to experience the Fitmums on a larger scale and what an amazing organisation it truly is!

What was your original goal?

To learn more about becoming a better runner, to meet like minded people and be part of the Fitmums Army.

What else have you done?

This past year I have become a leader in running fitness, became a Visually impaired Guide Runner, ran the Humber half and the Hull Marathon (supported by the Fitmums race angels) done the Normanby Hall adventure race, which included climbing over all manner of obstacles and getting covered in mud. I also took part in a 6 hour endurance race @Ellie on the Humber’ dressed as Ursula from The Little Mermaid…and NO having 8 legs does not make you run any faster!!

I was also successful in becoming the Club Coordinator for the Cottingham branch which is something I am very proud and passionate about!

What are you planning for next year?

I’m not really one for competitive races so will just be doing the same as last year really. On the other hand I can always be persuaded to get involved in more.

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

Two words…Do It!!

We are a club like no other, with a fantastic support network we offer something for all abilities. We have walkers, runners (both pacey and steady) Cycle Squad, Coached sessions, Buggy sessions, mini challenges (5 in 5) epic challenges (Coast to coast/tour de Yorkshire) and even a yearlong challenge (365 challenge). There is simply something for everyone! 

Natalie Mercer

What made you join FM?

I’ve always been a bit of a cardio-phobe and had tried to get into running many times in the past, including doing C25K on a few occasions, but never really enjoyed it on my own so gave up easily. After having my first baby in December 2013 I attended the Buggy Burn sessions in Cottingham lead by Claire Lyon and had been tempted to try one of the running sessions but never took the plunge before my second pregnancy. I finally decided to give running another go and joined Fitmums in February 2016, 6 weeks after having my second baby. I was surprised how motivated I felt after only a few sessions and enjoyed the social aspect of the club, everyone was so friendly and chatting was the main thing that got me round at first, within a few weeks I’d fallen in love with running!

What was your original goal?

Originally I wanted to lose my baby weight, improve my (non-existent) fitness and have a little time to socialise with adults away from a play centre. I secretly hoped to possibly, at some point, be able to run 5K too. When I went on my first Fitmums run I only managed half a mile but after a few weeks I completed my first, very sloooow, ParkRun without walking and I was ecstatic.

What else have you done?

Since joining Fitmums I have run three 10K races, improving my time at each one, and completed my LIRF training in November 2016 allowing me to become a Fitmums Leader, both things I never thought I would be able to achieve. I have also lost all of my baby weight and a bit more, with a little help from Weight Watchers here and there, but running is the main factor that has kept the weight off.

What are you planning for next year?

This year I am looking forward to running the Hull 10K for the second time, I have also signed up for the Tough Mudder Half (5 miles plus 13 Mud Obstacles) and the Humber Half Marathon, which makes me a bit nervous! I will probably enter a few other events later in the year too, I can’t resist.

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

Don’t wait like I did, just jump in and give it a try, I have never enjoyed exercising so much in my life and it is a testament to the club that I have stuck with something for once! Fitmums has given me the impetus and structure I needed to keep pushing myself, even if I struggle to get my trainers on occasionally, I’m always glad I went out. Everyone is so friendly and supportive of each other, whether you think you can’t make it to the end of the street or you’re a seasoned runner, there is always someone to run with.

Clare Lyon

What made you join FM?

I joined Fitmums in 2010 as a new years resolution, I am a fitness instructor and wanted to get into running as a hobby for myself, as I got into it and officially joined I ended up finding out I was pregnant with my 2nd child. I continued running for a few months and then started again 3 months after my son was born.

What was your original goal?

To improve my cardiovascular fitness

What else have you done?

I became a buggyburn leader and ran a group of mums/babies walking session, which meant I could take Zack with me and get my own exercise, (Zack has since retired). I also ran my 1st 10k a year after having zack, became a run leader and assistant coach. This year 2015 I completed a 232 mile bike ride to oxford for charity with Fitmums cycle squad and did my first triathlon on my birthday which I loved and did the cycle humber bridge sportive, my next challenges this year are to do “total warrior” and walkington 10k.

I have also just taken over as Cottingham club co-ordinator.

What are you planning for next year?

I would like to complete another triathlon and hope to improve my time, another cycle ride and keep up my running and helping the running of the club to stay successful.

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

Fitmums and Friends is fab club that really does support everyone and offers a lot to the community. We are very passionate about keeping fit and staying health, it is also a great club for social events and has a junior section for children too.

Fiona Griffths

What made you join Fitmums & Friends?  

I joined as one of the originals! meeting on Sams drive, just to get out of the Bath Time Routine once a week!

What was your original goal?   

To get fitter and meet people, and to be able to talk and run at the same time.

What else have you done?

Trained to be a Leader, an Assistant Coach and now a Coach. And Sung with the Choir

What are you planning for the year ahead?

I have particularly enjoyed the Total Warrior event recently, and am hoping to do more of these running/obstacle events in the future

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

Just come along, you’ll get so much more out of it than just getting fitter.  

Melanie Boughen

What made you join FM?

I was already running -although not far or fast - when Fitmums came along. As you may be aware there were 5 people who met one night on Sam's drive way, I was one of those 5. I have been involved with Fitmums from the very start, I trained to be a run leader in 2010 and I am a committee member for Cottingham, as well as a Session Coordinator of the Monday morning sessions at Blue Kangaroo & the Friday night sessions.

What else have you done?

Since attending that very first run, I have achieved more then I could ever have imagined. My P.E teacher would be shocked !! I used to walk the cross country runs at school !! I have completed numerous 10k's, Hornsea 1/3 Marathon, 2 Half Marathons

(Benidorm & Bridlington) & this year I completed the Manchester Marathon. I was very please to have gained a huge PB at the Beverley 10k this year -knocking 6min 19 secs off my previous time. Roll on next year for another chunk to be taken off.

What are you planning for next year?

I have entered the London Marathon for next year, fingers crossed I gain a place - if I don't, I hope to do Manchester again. I'm looking forward to knocking off more minutes from my current PB's and increasing the list of races I enter.

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

What would I say to someone who doesn't know wether to give us a try .......

Why not ?? What's the harm in trying something different ? Just come along and see if we're the club for you. We as a club have such a lot to offer,from our Walking group to Buggy Burn & Running sections we cater for all. We'll see you on your first session and you will wonder, why didn't I get there sooner !! 

Jan Nolan 

What made you join FM?

I was brought membership to Fitmums as part of a Christmas present in 2013 and what a great present it turned out to be! 

What was your original goal?

My goal was to get a better level of fitness, be able to walk faster, meet new people and feel a part of a walking/running group. Fitmums has lived up to all these expectations and more besides.

What else have you done?

In the Spring of 2014 I successfully completed a UK Athletics Leaders in Running & Fitness course to become a Walk Leader. I now share the responsibility of Leading the Cottingham Fitness walking group on Wednesday evening with Amanda. I also joined the Fitmums Choir which has been great for team building, socialising, raising money for charity and hopefully becoming slightly more melodic in the process. I was recently elected Chair of Cottingham Fitmums.

What are you planning for next year?

For this September I have organised relay teams of walkers/runners who will take part in the Hull Marathon. For next year, who knows we may do something similar in other events. 

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

Just do it! Everyone is made to feel so welcome, there is a great team atmosphere, excellent opportunities for continuous learning and development, lots of expertise & support in the Club. Fitmums promotes Best Practice as demonstrated by the many local, regional and national awards its Founder Sam Barlow and Fitmums have won.   

Debbie Gronow 

What made you join FM?

I joined Fitmums as I has heard through a friend it was a very supportive running group that embraced everyone's level of fitness , I had attempted running before , but would give in a little too quick and got bored on my own.

What was your original goal?

The first goal I set myself, was quite simply at first to run a mile without stopping.

What else have you done?

I have also done lots of 10k races (now without stopping) , made some great friends, had adventures in the Lake District, sang in the Fitmums choir, supported the Fitmums cycle squad to Oxford and proudly became a run leader.

What are you planning for next year?

My plans for next year are to continue with all the fun activities both fitness orientated and social, continue to be a run leader hopefully participate in the cycle squad and enjoy at Fitmums trip to Portugal!

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

I would tell someone thinking of joining not to hesitate, it truly is one of the nicest clubs to be a part of. Everyone is so supportive of each

other, regardless of their ability. You can meet new people, have fun, boost your self-esteem and of course get fit along the way!

Clare Rex

What made you join FM?

Firstly, to give a little background, I’m 42 and I live in Cottingham. I’m a working mum – which can be a juggle in itself and after having my son almost eight years ago, I did what we all tend to do every now and then, and put myself at the tail end of a very long queue of priorities. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I was booked in for a discectomy to relieve pain in my lower spine that I finally acknowledged that it might well be weight related... I had somehow ballooned to a size 22 weighing in at 17 stone. I couldn’t even run for 

a bus, never mind a mile! Anyway, I googled the procedure (like you do), read about the risks and immediately cancelled the surgery because the implications frightened the living daylights out of me. Instead, I joined Slimming World and thankfully regained control of my eating habits. A sensible healthy diet saw me lose six stone over the next 18 months – and I managed to strengthen my core with exercises which helped manage the problem with my back, but I was still incredibly unfit. 

I used to see one of the other mums from my son’s school intermittently bouncing around in a bright pink top and she suggested (many times!) that I should come along and give Fitmums a try. Although I didn’t really know her very well at the time, Nic’s persistence eventually paid off and about a year later, I finally poked a quizzical head around the door one Wednesday evening. 

What was your original goal?

I suppose I wanted to be fitter and stronger so I could kick a football about with my son without collapsing in a heap. And of course, being able to slip into the occasional slinky dress inside of being prised into it is always a bonus! Over the years, I’d tried gyms, swimming and running – but every time I’d be all over it for a few weeks and then my interest would wane. Running on my own was just hopeless; first sign of a stitch or breathlessness and I’d pull up and walk - and every time that happened, it further reinforced my belief that running simply wasn’t for me. My first night at Fitmums turned all that on its head. Everyone was so friendly and genuinely welcoming – and the support on that first run was amazing. Somehow they kept me going and I finished my first mile with a massive grin on my face. Not only had I managed not to throw up, I honestly couldn’t wait to go back.

What else have you done?

That was about 18 months ago and since joining as a member (despite vowing that I’d never be good enough to run in an official event) I’m immensely proud to say that I’ve taken part in lots of 10k races and a good few half marathons and 10 milers – in all weathers! Last summer I took part in Tough Mudder, a tough 10 mile multi-terrain obstacle race and I also ran Lyke Wake as part of a relay team with Fitmums. I’d predicted that I’d probably do between 6 and 10 miles – but fuelled by cake, laughter, support and inspiration, I somehow clocked up over 20 during the course of the day. I was elated – and I can honestly say it was one of the most enjoyable and inspiring days I’ve ever known. Last weekend saw fourteen of us bravely giving it our best at Total Warrior – which was just simply brilliant. Of course it’s not just running that we do - I’ve sung with the choir, partied in the park, cycled from Hull to Oxford, shaked my booty in the Lord Major’s Parade and danced in the Freedom Festival. The last 18 months have been a blast! 

I’ve met some truly amazing (and wonderfully crazy!) people and quite by accident, I’ve made friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Being a run leader is my way of giving something back and as well as being great fun, it’s always lovely to welcome a new face. My favourite run will always be that first mile with a new runner who just wants to give it a go – and I know how it can feel to walk through that door for the first time.

What are you planning for next year?

I’m looking forward to taing part in ‘Gruesome Twosome’ half marathon with my friend Sarah later this year – oh and of course there’s the small matter of the Hull marathon in September, which I’ve decided to try my hand (or rather my legs!!) at. I’m HUGELY daunted ... watch this space!

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

If you’re thinking of joining Fitmums, I would say stop thinking about it and just do it! It took me a year to push myself through that door and I wish I’d done it sooner - why wait!? You’re guaranteed a warm welcome and you’ve nothing to lose. Whether you want to lose weight and get in shape, make new friends or just grab an hour or two away from the kids – give it a go!!!

Andy Pay

What made you join FM?

I joined because I needed advice on running and people to run with.

What was your original goal?

My original goal was the Hull 10k, which I achieved and went on to do lots more. 

What else have you done?

I’ve done two marathons York and London, some half marathons and lots of 10k’s. 

What are your plans for next year?

I currently help as an assistant coach for FM Juniors and will be training to be a Athletics Coach. 

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

Fitmums is firstly a running club but if you want they do a whole lot more.

Sarah Pay

What made you join FM?

I joined because I wanted to get fitter, loose weight and meet people 

What was your original goal?

My original goal was to be able to run a few miles comfortably with perhaps a view to do a 10k. 

What else have you done?

I have done many 10k’sand also ran the great North run and gruesome twosome half marathons last year. I also lost 4 stone in weight. I have had to concentrate on other things over the last 6 months and have lost the fitness that I had. 

What are your plans for next year?

My goals now are to build back up to 10k distance, Fitmums has been life changing for us. 

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

The support provided is immense for every ability and we wouldn’t have achieved all that we had without Fitmums. In addition to improved health and fitness we have made such great friends and for the first time, I enjoy exercise.

Hayley Jones

What made you join FM?

I Joined buggyburn after having my youngest daughter and then decided to join the running group! A scary thought after gaining 4 stone when pregnant!

What was your original goal?

To lose weight, improve fitness and be able to run!!

What have you done since?

I lost weight, progressed with my running, made friends, did 10ks and most importantly became a run leader to help people in the same situation and give back to the club what they gave to me! I also help at the junior section as my oldest daughter is a member. This year I also won Cottingham Fitmums leader of the year!! A big surprise!! 

What are your plans for next year?

To improve my 10K time!

What would you tell someone who was thinking of joining Fitmums?

What would I say to someone thinking of joining - Everyone is nervous walking through the doors but once youve done it you will wonder what you were ever worried about!! Its a great club and everyone is really encouraging and friendly it could truly change your life! 

Helen Collins

What made you join FM?

 I was encouraged to come along to Fitmums by another run leader and I have never looked back. Before joining I was full of self doubt - I felt I was too slow, too fat and that running and being in a running club was not for me. For my first session I wore joggy bottoms and fashion trainers - I had no kit - why would anyone where Lycra?!! It was the support of both the run leader and fellow runners that I managed to gently plod around 1 mile. The feeling of achieving this was amazing. There were high 5's and a round of applause. I ached for days after but told everyone with pride what I had managed to do. 

What was your original goal?

My original goal was to run a mile and I achieved this in my first session. The goal was then to stick to running - soon I became a regular attender at the club - pounding the pavements in proper running trainers and Lycra. 

What else have you done?

Wow where do I start ........10ks half marathons, assistant coach for fmjs, Lyke wake where I ran 29 miles on one day, choir, total warrior and a marathon!!!! To name but a few.

What are your plans for next year?

No plans for the next year ......yet!!!

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

I would explain to others about the positive impact running has had on my life. I have lost weight, I can run and most importantly I have the energy to run around after my two energetic boys. My running has been mentioned in show and tell at school as well as featured in stories and mentioned in maths!!! My boys regularly attend fmj's and have been inspired to compete in funruns. My husband has been motivated to run too!!! I have made some fantastic friends, talked through highs and lows in life, put the world to rights and laughed loads!!!!!!! If I can run then anyone can .....just try it.

Neil Thompson.

What made you join FM?

I joined because Mary finally managed to convince me to join a club called Fitmums! 

What was your original goal?

My original goal was to support Mary and to improve my fitness/lose weight. 

What else have you done?

When I first joined Fitmums running 4 miles was a daunting prospect. I still remember being out on a run one night and Sam saying 'why don't you try a five!' Since then I have completed numerous marathons and other races as well as doing a coaching and leaders course through the club!

What are your plans for next year?

Next year I have various races in the pipeline as well as an October marathon (possibly abroad) to celebrate my 40th birthday. 

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

If you are thinking about joining, just do it, you won't look back!

Lindi Day

What made you join FM?

I’d seen the ‘Pink Ladies” around the village and read bits about Fitmums in the local papers, but took a while to pluck up the courage to go. I finally got my nerve up after talking to a Fitmum at an open day held at the Pavillion one weekend. I went the following Wednesday and I’ve never looked back.

What was your original goal?

To run a couple of miles a couple of times a week, maybe get a little bit fitter and hopefully make a couple of friends

What have you done since?

I seem to have become a running junkie. After being persuaded by Fiona that I should try to run a 10k that first summer I got the racing bug. Since then I’ve run 10k, 10 mile, half marathon and full marathon distances. I’m also joint Social Secretary with Helen, we try to make sure that there’s more to Fitmums that ‘just’ running. I organize the annual Lyke Wake relay with coach Neil, where we run across the North York Moors as a team, we now do this in memory of Colin Watson a member who originally suggested this challenge. I’m also an Assistant Coach, involved with delivering the FMJ’s sessions. I’ve no idea what I did with my time before I joined Fitmums to be totally honest!

What are your plans for next year?

The biggest thing in my running year is the fact I qualified for the 2016 London Marathon with a Good for Age time, thanks to an amazing training plan and support from our coaching team, especially coach Neil. My main goal is to continue enjoying my running. 

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

Do it! But be prepared for things you hadn’t expected to happen – giant butterfly in Freedom Festival springs to mind! You will meet some fantastic people and do things that surprise you more often than you’d think possible. You’ll also get fitter and go for some great runs into the bargain.

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

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

Lisa Chaytor

What made you join FM?

I am 43 years old, I am a grandma and I work full time. I have been doing yoga and Pilates for a few years which I really enjoy, and joined a gym in October 2014 with my partner to loose weight and get fit, doing weights and the usual cardio work but I have never run....not even for a bus! Then in February 2015 my niece passed away very shortly after being born in Leeds Children's Hospital. I pledged then to run the Hull 10k in June 2015 in her name for the hospital. 

At that time I could only run for 2 minutes on the treadmill which nearly killed me but I slowly progressed to about 15 minutes although it was very easy to talk myself out of running and walk instead. A colleague at work told me she was in a running group called Fitmums & Friends and that I should join. So I googled it and after a while I thought I would give it a try. I was afraid to go on my own so I dragged my partner and daughter along at the end of February and to be honest I have never looked back. Within a few months I had progressed from the 1 mile group where I started, to completing my first 6 mile run with F&Fs in May. I was absolutely ecstatic! The feeling of support from the group was overwhelming.

What was your original goal?

Originally, my goal was to just complete the Hull 10k, loose some weight and improve my fitness. 

What else have you done? 

Since joining the group, I have completed the Hull 10k in June 2015 and the Hull Colour Run in September. In October I successfully completed the Leader in Running Fitness course to be a run leader for Cottingham. Also in October I will be taking part in the Charity rounders game, followed by running 4 miles a day in the 5 a day challenge, and I will be completing the Ellie On The Humber (HOTH) endurance race on Halloween, in fancy dress. I have also made some great new friends and gained a social life!

What are you planning for next year?

I haven't really thought too much about next year yet, but at some point I would like to do the Cotswold 4 day challenge and maybe Total Warrior or something like that. I also want to improve my running speed and distance, so watch this space!

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

Don't just think about it..Do it! You'll meet lots of friendly, supportive people just like you. They will support you and encourage you and keep you going. Best of all, you'll have fun while getting fit. See you there....What are you waiting for?

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.