I'm not a natural runner, eat all the wrong foods and I don't like training so why on earth am I doing this? Because running has changed my life. In 2000 I bent my spine in a car crash so was left with a useless degree in Sports & Exercise Science. I was angry that I'd worked so hard and some drunk idiot took it all away when he rammed his car up the back of mine. I lost my mum in 2004 to an aneurysm - the last time we spoke we had a row and although I said I was sorry before they turned off the life support machine, I still regret never making peace. I was 37 weeks pregnant with my first child when she went and it's so sad that she never got to see her grandchildren. My violent husband was arrested on my doorstep in 2006 after abusing me and my children - he hasn't seen my girls in 10 years and I tell you what the day he said they were hard work is a day he'll regret as they are the most beautiful wonderful human beings and it really is his loss and my gain. Bringing up 2 children on your own whilst working full time with no support or help is sometimes soul destroying - but I wouldn't have it any other way - they are my creation and bring me so much joy as well as stress! I watched my dad battle cancer, 2 strokes put him in intensive care, epilepsy, had his urethra rebuilt and diabetes. He too has an aneurysm and as soon as I gave birth I was called in to be screened - luckily I was given the all clear. I find myself looking up at the sky and sometimes asking "why me? what did I do to deserve this?". They say though that if we all threw our problems in a pile we'd soon snatch our own back....makes you think...
Someone once told me I couldn't run a marathon so in 2012 I set out to prove them wrong and finished what I thought would be my first and last marathon. I've battled depression since 2001 and I blame my GP - he told me running was the best form of anti-depressant going...although I don't think he meant for me to go to the extreme! But he's right...there's something about lacing up your shoes and crossing the start line all with the same goal in mind...to finish. Run, walk or crawl we're in it together - by the end our feet hurt, our legs hurt, we're drenched in sweat and we don't smell quite as fresh as when we started - but we do it. We reap the rewards of our training and grin from ear to ear when they put the medal round our neck.
Depression came back to bite me on the bum at Christmas 2013 - nothing caused it, no one caused it but I was in a bad place and was unfortunately signed off work for 3 weeks while the doctors and a wonderful team at work got me back on my feet. I was embarrassed to ask for help and ashamed to tell anyone what I was going through. I vowed to myself that I'd never ever put my family through that again and now I want to help anyone who has to confront this illness and give back what some wonderful people gave to me.
I couldn't even begin to attempt this challenge without the wonderful man in my life, who I met crossing Tower Bridge on my first marathon. John is a true runner - he trains 6 days a week and can finish a marathon, have a bath, a 3 course meal, a snooze and then make his way back to the finish to cheer me in. I'm not fast, but I run the same course and get the same medal - he is my inspiration and I hold him on a pedestal.
I'm now a qualified England Athletics Running Coach and Mental Health Ambassador - I've run over 100 marathons and ultras and I know what it is to be stuck at the back feeling like you don't belong - don't quite fit - my favourite marathons are the ones where I stopped to help someone finish so I've turned this into a business - hopefully a successful one!
So what is the RIOT Squad? Well I discovered that running was my therapy so now it's ours - Running Is Our Therapy! I have set up a running club for non-runners - I'm taking people through a 6 week couch to 5km programme and showing them that anything is achievable when you put your mind to it! Once you've completed your 5km, we then work together towards common goals and you train with the beginners to show them success stories and we all work together.
No running experience is necessary - I will teach you all about posture, technique and injury prevention. I will also show you how running can make you feel and by training with your support groups, you will never face a challenge alone.I completely empathise with being overweight, tired, stressed and short of time. If the running is simply too much, there is the option to power walk - as long as we get that heart rate up you will still produce endorphins and feel fabulous!
Where we meet........
|Monday||7pm & 8pm Elvetham Heath|
|Tuesday||7am Calthorpe Park 12:30 Ancells Farm|
|Wednesday|| 7pm & 8pm Sandhurst Memorial Park|
|Thursday||7am, 18:45 &19:30 Calthorpe Park|
|Friday||10am South Hill Park|
|Saturday||7am Ancells Farm|