From the couch to 5k, next stop the marathon

Members of the Star Running Club.
Members of the Star Running Club.

Morning noon and night runners are pounding the pavements of fat ass boulevard (the riverside walkway), St Columb’s Park and the Foyle Bridge.

I used to watch these runners while tucking into a cream finger and frothy cappuccino from the window of Sainsbury’s cafe. It honestly doesn’t look that hard when you’re watching it from the sidelines.

But ten weeks ago following a challenge from one of my work colleagues (one who has run the marathon), I signed up for a couch to 5k with Star Running Club. For those of you unfamiliar with the lingo, this literally means a running course for people whose only former exercise was walking back and forth to the fridge.

I’d tried running myself before with zero success. The first time I was so out of breath I had to ring my husband to come and collect me in the car, and the second time I did my ankle in.

The first night of C25k was probably the worst. I had no proper running gear and only a pair of cheap trainers.

I learned a couple of things that first night. Firstly - I could run for one minute without having a heart attack. And secondly, I needed to buy a sports bra, and quickly.

Night two they really pushed us, we had to run 90 seconds without stopping. I thought I’d need put on a nebuliser and the coaches would have to rip the defibrillator off the wall. Every time our coach blew the whistle when our recovery time was up I felt like throttling him. I think I even threatened to throw it into the River Foyle.

But lucky enough all the couchers were pushing ourselves and we were all in the same boat, no matter our age, size or sex. And as the weeks went by we built up our distance.

By week six I did my first 5k at Derry’s Park Run - a time 5k event run every Saturday morning by a team of volunteers. I’ve made dozens of new friends and have managed to push myself into doing something I never thought I would.

I’ve now done six 5ks, and on Sunday I’ll be on the starting line for Marty’s Run. The coach event thinks I might even be able to manage a half marathon.... some day. I don’t laugh at the runners out on the pavements anymore because I’m one of them. They say running can change your life, I can believe that, I’m hooked, thanks to Star.