I have always been told throughout my twenties that I am one of those lucky people: you know, the ones who get to eat as much as they want and never have to worry about their weight. I was aged 25 when I climbed above 10 stone for the first time in my life and believe me it wasn’t through a lack of trying. My diet consisted of takeaways, junk food, microwave meals, sweets and crisps. Exercise was unknown to me and unless I was chasing the ice-cream van down the street, chances were I was not exercising.
Fast forward a few years to the Christmas of 2013 and having overindulged yet again in my fair share of bubbly and figgy puddings, I noticed I had a bit of a belly appearing. Being 10 stone was by now a very distant memory. I had reached that point in my life where I could no longer rely on my metabolism, and with much debate I decided it was time to break the habit of a lifetime and attempt to get fit.
I remember staring out the window and my heart sank as I was greeted with black ice, snow and below-freezing temperatures. Unwelcoming, but not wanting to give up before I had even started, I made the decision to join my local gym and it was here I completed my very first 5k in 30 minutes. As winter slowly blossomed into spring and my confidence in running grew, I quickly came to the realisation that it wasn’t enough. Cooped up indoors I was envious of all those outdoor runners who actually seemed to enjoy running. I wanted to be one of those runners. I wanted to enjoy running rather than feeling I had to force myself to get out the house and do it. With this in mind, alongside the knowledge I wouldn’t completely embarrass myself, I quit the gym and made the decision to join Glasgow Frontrunners in the summer of 2014.
After signing up to Glasgow Frontrunners I started seeing dramatic improvements. What started as a bid to get fit turned into me challenging and pushing myself further and further with each and every run. I was smashing PBs whilst increasing the distances I was running each week, allowing me to take on new challenges like the Glasgow Half Marathon and even the dreaded marathon itself! Believe me when I say this is something I would never have been able to do, not without the support and encouragement of my GFR companions. I was also aware of how much I was enjoying running. Just a matter of weeks after joining the club I went from tolerating running to becoming very passionate about it!
Looking back, my favourite event to this day is the Barcelona Marathon. Training through a bleak winter and running up to 35km through biting winds and torrential rain (Julian’s famous 35km mud run comes to mind), it was an absolute treat to escape the harsh UK winter and run the marathon distance in a more favourable climate. Running alongside sandy beaches and palm trees with the sun shining, it was a world away from the near frostbite I had experienced just a matter of weeks before during training.
It’s been a little over one year since I joined GFR and I have received nothing but encouragement and support whilst seeing my running and confidence go from strength to strength. I’ve made great friends through GFR and I look forward to the different races and challenges which lie ahead where I can continue to grow as well as returning the support and encouragement I have received from everyone at GFR.
To anyone reading this who would like to begin running but feels they can’t due to lack of experience or confidence issues, I would encourage you to come along one day and just try it. We cater for beginners all the way up to regular marathon runners. Everybody is welcome! The first step is the hardest but who knows where that may take you. I started off forcing myself into running/walking a 5k because I felt I had to make a change to my lifestyle and here I am now running 2-3 times a week and loving every minute of it!