SocialEYES runner, Claire Potter, completed her first 10k race last month with the support of a Fitmums & Friends team of coaches, leaders and guides. We are so proud of her! Fitmums & Friends SocialEYES sessions, organised with Sight Support Hull and East Yorkshire, give visually-impaired people the opportunity to be active in a supportive group.
Claire Potter first came along to a Fitmums & Friends SocialEYES session in Hull’s East Park wanting to walk to get some exercise. This soon became intervals of running between walking. When the sessions moved to Costello Stadium, the new location gave Claire the confidence and a safe environment in which to run with a guide. She began to build up both her confidence and her stamina such that she'd start to ask “How far have I run today?”. Then the next week she’d ask herself “Can I go further than last week?”. With the help of Fitmums & Friends volunteers, she was soon running for the full session!
Claire’s next step was to go along to her local parkrun, accompanied by a Fitmums & Friends guide. parkrun gave her the opportunity to run twice a week, the experience of running within a crowd of people, and the targets of improving her 5k time and ticking off parkrun milestones. Claire is now well known at Peter Pan parkrun, and receives much support from the parkrun community there every Saturday morning.
In April 2022, Claire took part in the RNIB’s Double Dash virtual 5k fun run, supported by Fitmums & Friends guide runners and raised close to £500 for the charity.
Claire then set herself the challenge of completing a 10k. To step up to the longer distance, Claire needed to do some additional training. At Costello, Claire would complete around 7k on the track; at parkrun, she and her guide would continue running after completing 5k to get to 7k, then to 8k, and to the confidence that 10k was possible. On occasion, Claire’s guide Paul would bring a friend to parkrun so that someone could run on either side of Claire and give her the freedom to run without a tether, instead nudging Claire around the turn points as needed: ‘bumper cars’ they'd call this!
Claire’s first 10k race was at Laxton in July 2022. The race was hugely anticipated by Claire and her team of Fitmums & Friends guide runners, Paul, Judi, Jen and Kirsty who took it in turns to run a mile either side of Claire. The team took much pleasure and pride in helping Claire achieve her goal, and had a few laughs around the course too (let's just say one part of the course had recently been visited by some horses!). Claire's dad, Mike, was waiting proudly at the finish line along with a crowd who cheered ‘Team Potter’ across the line with Claire beaming in delight. After the race, Claire shared, “To say I'm over the moon is an understatement! I told myself that if I completed the run in 1 hour 30 minutes I would be happy, but to have completed it in 1:27:08 is such an amazing feeling!”. Claire now plans to run another 10k and is looking at where and when with her Fitmums & Friends team.
Claire running the Laxton 10k. Her achievement is a great example of Fitmums and Friends teamwork with many coaches, leaders and guides volunteering to help her along the way.