Session Times & Venues
|Monday||Couch 2 5K and all levels||West Kirby Concourse||6.30pm - 7.30pm||Fi/Jen/Mike|
|Tuesday||All levels||West Kirby Concourse||9.30am - 10.30am||Dave Mc/Andrew|
|Wednesday||All levels||Oval Leisure Centre||6.15pm - 7.15pm||Zoe /Sara/Claire/Pat/Les/Caroline/Elaine|
|Thursday||Couch 2 5K & All levels||West Kirby Concourse||9.30am - 10.30am||Dave Mc/Andrew/Louise/Gaynor/Kim
|Thursday||Couch 2 5K & All levels||Frankby Cemetery||5.45pm - 6.45pm||Fi/Kim/Trish|
|Saturday||All Levels inc walking group||Birkenhead Park||9.45am - 10.45am||Fi/Jane /Trish /Debbie/Kim/Pat/Les/Caroline/Di/Pete|
If you would like any more information or would like a chat about any of the sessions, please ring Fiona on 0776 967 4718 or 0151 929 7823
*Absolute Beginners. Please ring 0776 967 4718 where you will be given the exact location.
Read How We Have Changed Lives
I was 53; a smoker with asthma and type 2 diabetes and my blood pressure was too high. My diabetic medication had been increased recently and I was being told I needed medication to control my blood pressure. I was sluggish and unfit and although I had always been a party animal I was finding myself avoiding going out. I had recently been in hospital because of asthma attacks and could not even climb stairs without huffing and puffing. I had two teenage children and knew that if I wanted to see any Grandchildren I needed a drastic life change. I wanted to give up smoking but knew I would use food to replace it so I looked around for something else to do to help me become the healthy person I needed to be.
A woman at work had recently begun to run with a group on the Wirral. Okay, she was 20 years younger than me but she was not your usual runner type and she began to talk about the people she ran with who also did not seem the usual types to be runners. I had always dreamt of running and tried it unsuccessfully when I was younger so now thought I had missed the boat. I questioned this woman about how I would be received at this group and whether or not they would welcome or indeed cope with such a physical wreck . Eventually I decided to give it a go and although very, very nervous, I turned up for a Monday night session at West Kirby. I was surprised to find people there of all shapes, sizes and ages and was introduced to Fiona, one of the leaders. She assured me that I would be ok and chatted for a few minutes to put me at my ease. I told her that I had given up smoking the day before and that I had not done any exercise for a long time. She said we would take it easy and I could intersperse small runs with walking.
I felt like a fish out of water when I began to run and was glad it was dark so nobody could see me. I was asking myself what on earth I was thinking of to even attempt this. I managed to run only for 30 seconds at a time with 3 minutes walks in between. At one point we went up a steep hill, which I walked up. I had to stop a few times and I felt faint when I reached the top. Fiona kept saying how well I was doing and by the end of it I almost believed her. I did it though and felt a real sense of achievement. I had not felt the humiliation I had expected and just felt a great sense of acceptance and empathy from everyone there.
It was really difficult but I knew that I could only improve; I certainly couldn’t get much worse. To Fiona’s surprise (and mine) I turned up again for the Wednesday session and had another go when I managed to run for a minute and walk for 2 minutes. This is how it went on for week after week with small improvements and I eventually replaced my addiction to cigarettes with a real desire to get fit. I remember the first time I ran around the Marine Lake without stopping when I almost cried with happiness. I began to remember what it felt like to feel well and healthy. I stopped relying upon my inhaler and people commented on how well I looked. I added a Saturday morning session to my itinerary and a few lunchtime swimming sessions. My Doctor began to notice the difference and no longer felt that I needed medication for high blood pressure and my diabetic medication was halved as my blood sugar became much more stable.
I have been running for 8 years now and to say my life has changed would be an understatement. As an added bonus, I have also met some wonderful people from all walks of life and, I believe, some will be lifelong friends. We all have a story to tell and some of our runners have and do overcome immense obstacles to run. This alone is enough to keep you motivated and we all help each other, never judging. Now two years later I am still not Paula Radcliffe and never will be. I do the occasional 10k and still need to stop a few times during it but that is fine. I have recently had a problem with my heart which will need further treatment as I get older, and all I could think about during recovery was how frustrated it was not to be able to do my running. I have now been a Run in Wirral run leader for 6 years plus and I get so much satisfaction seeing people who think they can’t run starting their journeys. I used bore the pants off all of my friends and work colleagues about how wonderful running is and when someone says, “ I can’t run”. I reply – “ I am a 55 year old, overweight, asthmatic, diabetic with a heart condition, if I can run, so can you”.
Kim’s sayings that anyone who has run with her knows are:-
“Never waste a downhill”
“Just bob along”
Andrea’s Story – From Absolute Beginner to Runner
I started running In June 2014, I had been thinking about it for a while but always been put off as I thought it would put too much strain on my Joints before that, however I had upped my level of walking and thought I would give the running a go. I had never run before apart from the odd attempt on a treadmill but my friend was training for the marathon and had suggested a few times I take it up as it might help with weight loss. I had lost 3 stone previously but was slowly putting it back on and having suffered with anxiety and a lot going on personally I decided I needed to do something.
I went along to some of the health walks run by the rangers in Birkenhead park during the walking festival in May and got to going walking round Birkenhead park and saw people running. I also saw the group advertised and noticed that it appealed to beginners of all sizes and abilities and thought that might be me!. I decided to try out doing the couch to 5k app on my phone and gave it a go for a few weeks but just found it tough on my own and gave in too easily and couldn’t motivate myself enough and was doing more walking than running. I invested in a pair of decent trainers and knew I was serious about it as and wanted to commit to my own health and losing weight as it was my 40th in the February.
I went to my first ‘Run in Wirral’ absolute beginners group at the end of June and really enjoyed it, I thought I might be able to do that and the c25k together but soon realised I was getting more out of the group support than I could on my own . I kept going just once a week for a few weeks though as well as occasional solo runs and saw how much it was helping my weight loss. I completed the Race for Life at the end of July and decided that although it went well I wanted to up the level of running and be able to eventually do it without stopping . I was undergoing physio for my knee at the time and when I spoke to her about it she was really supportive and put my mind at rest about the damage to my knees.
In September, encouraged by other people in the absolute beginners group I went along on a Saturday morning and really enjoyed running round the park with the support of a group and then the catch up over a cup of tea and toast afterwards. Going from absolute beginners to beginners felt like a big step and I worried about holding people back but soon found that everyone was really supportive and encouraging and I wasn’t that far back. I’ve kept going with the Saturday group as much as possible as the achievement of me getting up on a Saturday to go running is massive, let alone the running itself.
At the end of September knowing I was going to miss a week of runs due to holidays, I went to the Monday night group in West Kirby persuaded by one of the leaders who said there was going to be “no hills”. She lied! Actually despite feeling like I couldn’t make it all the way, I enjoyed the sense of achievement and also the downhills are fab – “Never waste a downhill” is now our mantra. Running even just two lampposts at a time and then a bit of a walk was a great way to break it down and focusing on a point to aim for has got me through.
Going a few times a week has really helped and going into the winter months I was worried about giving it up but I’ve kept going as much as possible , even running in the rain doesn’t faze me now. I’ve met some lovely people who go to the groups and have started to going along to Pilates with one of them as we hope it might work well with the running too. For any new members it’s good to realise that everyone remembers what it was like to start running and is really supportive and when you are struggling and need to walk a bit there is a leader at the back for support.
I ran the Santa dash in December with a friend from the running group and even did runs during Christmas and New Year when usually I’d be sitting in eating chocolates. I think the key for me has been getting into a routine and knowing when I’m going to go running. I do love the idea of being able to go out on my own too sometimes but definitely in the winter, having it planned in gets me out and running. I love the feeling of getting fresh air and chatting to people and it has been great for that. It’s also a great way of switching off other thoughts as the focus goes on moving your legs and breathing and focusing on keeping going.
When I started running in June I also started to properly do Weightwatchers again after messing round for a while and with the combination of the two the weight is coming off and I have come down in dress sizes too. Since June till now I’ve lost 36.5 lbs. (2 stone 8.5) and in total over the last 4 years since I joined WW I’ve lost 66 lbs. in total ( 4 stone 10). It’s the lowest weight I’ve been for about 15 years . Exercise and healthy eating is the key and also seeing the weight come off has really inspired me to stick to the eating plan and running. I love getting compliments now although I’m not very good at accepting them and feeling the difference in clothes sizes is great. I’ve come down about 3 jeans sizes and 2 dress sizes and am enjoying shopping for clothes now.
I always struggled in the past for keeping up with things and keeping it going but setting little goals and plans is a great way to do it. I’m hoping soon to be able to run things like a mile without stopping and eventually a 5 k without walking but for now it’s about doing what I can and am seeing improvements and benefits to it. Psychologically it has been great as after some runs I’ve felt like I could conquer the world and I’ve tried to keep that feeling in my head as long as possible. Seeing before and after photos and almost not recognising myself in the new shape is great and even on weeks when I don’t lose weight I’m not bothered as I know It’s now a part of my life and I can keep it up.
The run leaders are such a support as is the rest of the group and I’ve been encouraging friends to join as I know how much its helped me. Even when its tiring or you question why am I doing this , remembering the feeling of achievement and going just a little bit further is a way round it. I’ve definitely found that even if I’m running slowly, I’m still moving forward and finding your own pace rather than tiring out too quickly has been a great lesson I’ve been taught.
The Pics below are at the very beginning when I first started running and did race for life with the group from weight watchers and the run we did at Christmas. There is also a couple of pics before and after too. and one at Christmas party feeling fab in a new dress. There is also a very old pic of me walking race for life in my jeans which is before I lost any weight.
Since writing this case study Andrea has had an accident and has not been able to join us for 12 months but we are hoping for her return very soon.
Dave’s Story – From Beginner to Snowdon Marathon Runner
I have always struggled with my weight, particular turning point was when I moved in with my wife, and I was in total control of meals and shopping. Consequently my weight ballooned up and I was out of control. So I joined my local slimming world group where I lost 3.5 stone over 6months I felt in total control but that was short lived and by Christmas that year I had put most of the weight back on.
For the next 15 years my weight had spiralled out of control going up and up, whilst I always tried to regain were I was I bought countless magazines to read the stories to try and get some inspiration always saying to myself “I will start Monday” but Monday’s come and went and my weight was going up and up.
My self esteem and confidence took a serious knock I didn’t go out of an evening after work or at weekends. Instead I chose to stay in and eat snacks all evening. This put a massive strain on my relationship with my wife and son as I didn’t have the energy or the inclination to do anything like go to the park or ride my bike with my son. I had little or no motivation to do anything I continued to try and go back to my local slimming world club were I lost the odd ½ stone but there was no real support due to the size of the group and I quickly lost interest and put my weight back on plus a bit more. I felt I was heading for oblivion with rapidly coming up to my 40th birthday and thinking about my dad who unfortunately had a heart attack aged 44 and my mum who was diagnosed with diabetes I thought this is it and accepted the fact that I heading for a least one of them.
I was also struggling to get clothes to fit me I couldn’t buy clothes off the peg instead I chose to “shoe horn” myself in to clothes that were way to small and as a consequence I looked a mess constantly pulling my trousers up because my stomach was pushing them down. This obviously fuelling the depression further and with that came more comfort eating it was a vicious circle.
The turning point came actually on my 40th birthday; we had gone out to celebrate the occasion with family. I was sitting directly across from my sister who I might add has had a personal issue with weight and at the time I think she had lost around 6-7 stone and looked amazing! I was sitting there with my new 5xl shirt on that my wife had bought me for my birthday thinking wow if she can do it then I can!
I spoke to her and she described the Cambridge Diet to me, and I thought I don’t think I can do it. A couple of days went by and I thought I will give it ago, so I got the number for a lady who was her Cambridge consultant and made the call and spoke with Debbie.
I made an appointment for the following week to meet her, I was full of apprehension as the appointment grew closer and to be honest I did think about cancelling it on a few occasions.
Turned up for the appointment and was immediately put at ease by Debbie I poured out my problems and issues and I can remember setting an initial target loses of 2 stone!!!Haha
The first week was a baptism of fire calorie intake was right down and I was supping water constantly whilst I was battling cravings. In the first week I dropped 10lb it felt amazing and to be fair it wasn’t that hard once I got over the initial shock and by week 3 I think I had smashed my initial target of 2 stone!
And with that people were starting to notice as well and my clothes were starting to fit better I was addicted, and it was time to set targets and an end goal. The weight fell off constantly I was disappearing fast I have to admit though I did fall off the rails a couple times but I was quickly put back on track by my consultant Debbie who’s support has been amazing throughout my journey.
Energy levels were picking up and I was starting to rebuild my life doing more with my family instead of making excuses. I felt a lot better as more weight came off even in work I was able to walk around the site a lot easier. My work colleagues started to notice the transformation and were full of encouragement as well as the odd joke. By April 2015 I had reached a weight of around 16 ½ stone and joined a local running club starting out slow 18minute miles! But I kept it consistent running 3/4times a week this complemented my weight loss and I was quickly moved from the beginners to intermediate class as my times were getting quicker.
By the June I was in to the 15st mark and my energy levels were through the roof I was getting up at 5am and running 5miles before work I felt unstoppable and even when I came home from work I couldn’t sit still had to be doing something like going for a bike ride with my son.
I have now reached a target weight of just under 13st a staggering 100lb+ weight loses in just on 2years. This has been an incredible journey to one that I thank my consultant and of course my new circle of friends at Run In Wirral who with out them I wouldn’t of succeeded.
My new running hobby has taken over my life; I ran my first 10k race in November 2015, quickly followed by my first half marathon in Plymouth coming in under 2hrs. To date I have run 6 half marathons each one under 2hrs my PB stands at 1:42! More recently in October 2016 I ran my first full marathon, The Snowdonia Marathon coming in at 5:13hr what an incredible experience everyone thought I was mad to run Snowdonia as my first.
But I thought I’ve come along away it would be silly to back out from a challenge now!
If someone had mentioned a Marathon to me 2years ago I would have instantly thought “snickers”hahahahaha!
Running has admittedly taken over my life but in a good way! I have an incredible circle of friends through Run In Wirral and running in general. I have also developed further by becoming a Running Leader for our group, hopefully I can inspire others to change!
It has been a journey to say the least I’m a totally different person with a new outlook on life I can honestly say I feel like I have been released from solitary confinement were I have been for 10+ years and sometimes I feel sad that I had wasted those years being unhappy with myself.