Saturday, 21st June 2014 at Witton Park – the start of my running journey. I was petrified!  My only exercise at that point was a daily walk with the dog. I threw myself into the “Accelerated” group in order to get away quickly for my week’s holiday in Abersoch. I clung on near the back of the group but I had survived the intervals of 2 minutes of running. I felt great but was really worried about keeping that pace when the plan progressed through the weeks.

The Accelerated group progressed well and we were doing 5/6k routes well in advance of the end of the plan – Buncer Lane routes too! I can laugh now but a couple of tears were shed on my second attempt up there!

The 9 week plan ended with the 5k group run on Saturday, 30th August and I achieved a time of about 31.30. I decided to carry on with regular 3-4 mile runs three times a week, until just a few weeks later I found myself signed up the do the Movember 10k at Lytham with the newly formed 5-10k Progression Group! What?! Winter running was not really in my plans as I usually hibernate on winter week nights, but I found it much easier than running on those hot summer nights.

Movember 10k followed by the Winter Warmer 10k, then Ron Hill 10k, then Crazy Cow 10k!

So what next? The Lancaster Castle Half Marathon! Let’s get on the training plan that Sue provided and follow it to the letter ‘The New Crew’ decided. I swore a few times on John Hannon/Jeanette Hickey’s Darwen Tower route! I’ve also been very scared on some of the longer runs that Jeanette and Sharon Short arranged for the Friday crew.

But….. I can now say I’ve actually done it in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds (within 8 seconds of my target time – credit to Andrew Boardman for his pacing). And I feel amazing!

(Some of my fellow newbie half marathon runners will laugh at that).

Thanks so much to everyone who has helped and encouraged me along the way, too many to mention individually but I’m sure they know who they are.

Gina Smith