Mum's the word for All About Jogging trio
Mums Brady Longdon, Karen Booker and Claire Webster, all joined the Loscoe-based JOG Derbyshire group All About Jogging to coincide with the #JogIntoJanuary campaign. They have all found it hugely worthwhile getting their 2017 off to a more active and healthier start, albeit for slightly different reasons.
Brady, 29, from Heanor
"I started up on January 11 with AAJ, as I'm from Heanor, and so it was convenient for me. I had started running about a year before, but then I had a baby in August last year.
"I wanted to lose a bit of weight following that and also get a bit fitter at the same time and decided I was going to enter the Ramathon Half Marathon (on June 4) to give me motivation.
"But I don't like jogging and training on my own, I like to be in a group, and I'm also worried about the safety of running on my own at night, so I decided to join the AAJ group.
'I've come on loads from where I started'
"I have just completed my first 10k race, which was obviously hard work but I was really pleased with my time of 53.50 and with the progress I have made so far – I've come on loads from where I started.
"I used to try to avoid the hills when I was out running, but I know I needed to start going up them to make me stronger, and the group has helped me achieve that.
"It's obviously more difficult to fit things in when you have a child than it was before, but my husband is really supportive and he does his own training on other nights too. He's into his weights, but I've got him into the jogging now as well!
'It's nice to get out of the house and have a run'
"My son Abel is six-and-a-half months now and though I love looking after him, it's nice to get out of the house and have a run, have an hour on your own and clear your head.
"All the people I jog with in the group are lovely and really friendly and the leader Dan Coleman is really supportive too.
"I've started taking along my step daughter, Lauren, who's 17, who couldn't run half a mile before, but now she has just completed her first non-stop 5k. It means we are now a very happy, active family.
Different levels of ability
"There are different levels of ability in terms of AAJ sessions, so it's a great incentive for people when they first start out to see how far they can go if they stick with it when they look at some of the more advanced runners.
"I think people often think that they will struggle to find the time to do it or just can't be bothered to. But there are so many benefits to it and I'm really glad I went along.
"I don't think I'd have ever joined if I hadn't had a child, but I'm really glad I did now and I'm enjoying every second of it."
Karen, 48, from Ripley
"I did the Couch to 5k last year, completely on my own, and was surprised how well I did. I simply followed the instructions on my headphones – running when it told me to run and walking when it told me to walk.
"I had a reason to do it because I was going to Florida on holiday with the family and I wanted to get fitter and lose a bit of weight.
"I have also done Weightwatchers for the past 13 years, since I first had my daughter, but I always ease up in November and allow myself to enjoy Christmas before getting back on my health kick after the New Year, when you've got sick of eating all the rubbish!
Getting in the zone
"I had joined a gym in October and that's where I met Dan, who led the boxing class I went to and he encouraged me to come along to the jogging group.
"I thought January would be a good time to start because that is when I usually look to get in a 'zone', but unfortunately my mum died on January 9, which left things a bit up in the air. But I did eventually settle into it around when my work shifts permitted.
"It's a good motivator to go out with other people, even if I sometimes can't always talk to them too much when I'm catching my breath to jog! But it is good to try to keep up with people who are that bit faster than you and they can help pull you along.
Running in mum's memory
"When we completed our 5k run I wanted to do it in under 40 minutes and I managed to do it in 39 minutes 30 seconds, so now I'm looking into the possibility of doing a 10k.
"I want to do a run in memory of my mum for the Alzheimer's Society because she suffered from dementia and Parkinson's. I'm hoping we can organise an event with the AAJ group, but if not I will look to do another 10k event.
"I'm not going ahead and asking for sponsorship money just yet as I have got a bit of a knee problem – and I don't want to say I will do it for definite, only to be having treatment on it.
"But if I'm not, then it would be a great event to do, alongside a sky dive I have already planned in for August 6.
AAJ group 'is fun'
"Joining the AAJ group has been fun. I always take the approach of keeping on going - even when we're supposed to rest I run on the spot – because once I stop I find it easier just to power through.
"We did a run at Shipley Park recently and I did four-and-a-half miles without even realising it.
"I have got a 13-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son so I find the slot between 5.30pm I and 7pm is the best for me to get out and jog.
"I suppose the message from me is that it is never too late to start. With me just having turned 48 – and there is another lady older than me – anyone can do it, no matter what their age."
Claire, 45, from Kilburn
"I have started up a couple of times before, but this time I've managed to keep it going after starting for #JogIntoJanuary.
"The biggest issue has been that a couple of years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and, having to go through the treatment, it took a long time to get back to the point where I was thinking about my fitness.
"But after what was a hard time for me, this felt like the right time to start again. I used to go to the gym and that's where I knew Dan (Coleman, leader) from, but I just lost all of that fitness because I didn't do anything for a while.
A new challenge
"He's encouraged me to give this a go, to try something different, even if I've always been down on myself about my ability to jog.
"I used to do boxing and spinning at the gym, but this is a new challenge and it's great that people who come to the group push each other along.
"The leaders are brilliant too, always really encouraging. I've made a few good friends, and added people on Facebook, but you also get talking to people who you haven't talked to before when they give you a word of encouragement.
'You can still have a treat'
"I'd put quite a bit of weight on, but I'm starting to lose it again now, particularly as I'm eating better.
"I used to think that you could have a treat when I'd done some exercise, and you still can, provided it's the right thing.
"I started in the second week of January and at that point I was pretty much not able to do anything bar some short shuttle runs, but recently I've just completed my first 5k.
Long-term marathon target
"Everyone cheered me over the line and it was a pretty good feeling because I'd had to build up to that level and had taken advice from lots of people, eventually realising I just needed to slow down my pace, rather than keep up with everyone else.
"I was amazed and although I was a little bit slower, the important thing was that I got there.
"My long-term target was something I set when I was ill and I promised my brother that I would try to do a marathon. Whether I will make it, I don't know, but I've made a good start.
'Escaping my worries'
"What it does do is bring me relief away from any worries I have, which you forget and don't think about for the time you are out jogging.
"I have got two girls who are 15 and 12 and two step sons who are older and they are all very proud of me and I'm very pleased with how it's gone."
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