Olivia joined our Learn to Run course at the beginning of this year. Here’s her story:

Olivia, proudly showing off her medal
Olivia, proudly showing off her medal

Three weeks ago, I ran the Great Birmingham Run. It’s a half marathon. These are words I never anticipated saying (or typing!) when I joined the Regency Runners Learn to Run course in January 2016.

I’ve always wanted to run and been envious of the friends who do, even though I used to think they were mad for getting up early at the weekend or running in the rain (I get it now and love running in the rain!). I’ve played sports in the past and been fitter but I’ve never cracked running and thought I was one of those people who simply couldn’t run.

A friend and I decided to do the Couch25K programme in 2015 and I loved it; I couldn’t believe I was able to actually run, without stopping and I was soon hooked until a couple of injuries ruled me out for a good six months and I found myself back to where I’d started. During the Christmas break, my sister suggested that we start running again and, fuelled by mostly cheese and port, I agreed.

I knew Helen, one of the leaders at Regency Runners and she told me about the Learn to Run course. I wanted to say yes but a running club seemed like a frightening prospect to a scaredy-cat like me who finds the idea of joining a group pretty terrifying, let alone a group of people who can run. It turns out it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and now I find myself organising my work and weekends with time for running planned in.

Regency Runners is a fantastic group and one where advice, support and encouragement is always on hand. I’ve needed plenty of all of those in the run-up to my first half marathon. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I signed up but the relaxed reaction from people at Regency Runners gave me the reassurance that I needed that I could do it.

The run itself was brilliant. It was a huge event and much bigger than anything I’d run in before but I loved the atmosphere. The route was tough at times but there was support from spectators and supporters all the way round which was amazing and much needed for the last couple of miles and spotting my sister at the finish line was a massive highlight.

I’ve learned so much about what I can do and how much recovery is needed after a big run but I’m so proud of what I’ve done and I’m looking forward to the next half marathon in February (something else I never expected to be saying!).

Olivia