This is the story of Kym Wentworth from Runnymede Runners – how she changed her sedentary lifestyle and became active in her 50s. Kym’s story shows age is no barrier to getting fit, and here she describes her journey from “couch to 5k”.
My name is Kym and I’ve lived in Egham for the past 12 years. From Monday to Friday I work in an office and spend a lot of time sitting at my desk, with little fresh air.
At the beginning of January 2016, approaching my big 50, I decided that I wanted to do something for me – my drive was to get fit and be able to run at least 30 minutes without feeling I was about to have a heart attack and to build a bigger network of local friends.
Kym’s Couch to 5K
Joining a running club – Runnymede Runners – ticked all of these boxes. It had a friendly Facebook page and in early January the club were advertising a ‘couch to 5k’ programme (C25K), which promised to get people running 5k within 8 weeks, and all for a token yearly cost of £15.00. I love a bargain so joined up.
I will always remember the first session – I woke up to snow, and thought it will be cancelled but no, we did
our warm up and then started. The structured programme built up from 30 seconds running/90 seconds
walking to running 5k non-stop. I could not have done this without the support of the running club and the
coaches who gave up their time 3 days a week – their commitment and passion for running gave us the drive to complete that 5k. Starting this in the winter was tough – to keep to the plan we had to run in all weathers and 2 nights in the dark.
It was hard but I enjoyed it
At times I longed for that 30 minutes of walk/run/walk/run to be over but as time went on I started to enjoy it. I loved the banter between my fellow runners and the coaches. As a woman of a certain age I found some of the sessions hard, however with the support of the coaches I built up my stamina. I was never the fastest, but in a strange way looked forward to Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday mornings.
On the day of the 5K graduation at Bedfont Lakes Parkrun, a long distance runner from Runnymede Runners offered to support and run with me on the day. I found it pretty tough, twice round the track and with 2 mini hills,but – wow – it felt so good and to think I had run it with a London Marathon finisher was a real bonus for me. She was so proud of me – 34 minutes of hard work and motivation but well worth the reward. I was so proud of our team effort and that all the hard work had paid off. I remember calling my mum and saying “Mum I did it – I can now run 5K!”. The graduation medal hangs proudly on my medal rack (yes, I now have one!).
Since joining the club back in January 2016, I have completed many 5k runs, still slow and steady whether
on a Saturday morning at the Bedfont Lakes parkrun, or during the regular club meets on Tuesday and
Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. So what goal could I set myself for 2017? I came up with the idea
about running one 10k a month, that’s 12 medals, and with a goal to try and improve my speed at each
one. Hyde Park, Dorney Lake, and Regents Park have been done so far, that’s 3 medals and I have now
booked Brighton, Staines, Yateley and Kew Gardens.
I am fitter than I have ever been
During my journey I have lost 10lbs, my body shape has changed, and I am fitter than I have ever been. But
the bonus for me is about being mentally stronger – if I have a tough day at work, putting on my trainers and getting some fresh air in my lungs, after 30 minutes of running I feel so much better as my head is clearer and I am more relaxed than when I started.
Little steps got me to where I am today – I am healthier and happier as a result of that decision in January
2016. When I put my trainers on for my run – whether its training with my new group of friends or my 10k
medal run – I feel alive, and so grateful for all that running have given me.
So my thinking is running will keep me sharper, healthier even as I age.
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