I like to run. I like being able to say, ‘I like to run’

Having run their first 10k, Get Running graduates are sharing their stories


Since the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon on June 2nd, our Get Runners have been telling us how they are getting on. We are delighted to publish a selection of their inspiration.

Eimear Ford had kidney cancer last year, and lost one of her kidneys. In January, she took up running with her friend Laura, who has supported her all the way. Running is a godsend, she says. Describing the mini marathon, she says: “It was amazing. So many people and so much support. It was a great feeling being able to cross that line.”

Another reader, Susan Holmgren, says Get Running has been “a fantastic journey that has made such a difference in our lives, and we couldn’t have done it without you”.

Well, we can’t do it without you, either. So please run with us over the summer at irishtimes.com/getrunning; keep up with us on facebook.com/irishtimesgetrunning and @IrishTimes Run; send your stories and photos to fitness@irishtimes.com; and read our fitness page in Health+Family every Tuesday. You can sign up to our courses at any time, and watch out for Mary Jennings’s new course at the end of the summer.

I like to run. I like being able to say, “I like to run”. Before January I could hardly run to the end of the road. What started out as a “Ah sure, why not?” reaction to the Get Running series in an attempt to lose some baby weight, has led me on a journey of discovery, not just about running but about myself.

I had always looked on in envy as a runner cruised stealthily by; I never thought I could be that person. I was self-conscious about going running, afraid any other runners or pedestrians I passed would be commenting on how bad I was. In Mary Jenning’s first homework video on the 5km course, she says that nobody you pass knows whether you have been out running for two minutes or two hours. This clicked with me and allowed me to get over my self-consciousness and start running.

The weekly emails and videos from Mary always nudged me gently out the door. I could hardly believe it the first time I ran for 20 minutes non-stop. I wanted to keep going, and I hadn’t collapsed in a heaving, sweaty mess. I was soon running 5km and feeling wonderful. I now understand that running doesn’t give just a physical sense of wellness, but also a mental clarity, clearing the fog of a stressful day. There is a meditative quality to the clarity of thought that it brings.

I graduated from the 5km programme with a parkrun, feeling immensely proud, and quickly began the 10km programme.

As the evenings began to stretch, I was also managing to stretch my distances and a quick 5km became the “easy” run. I was astounded, this was me, I was a runner. I did another parkrun, chasing Eamon Coughlan to the finishing line. Then there was the Terenure 5 Mile and on the June bank holiday weekend I ran the mini marathon as my graduation to 10km. I had tears in my eyes at every kilometre marker, remembering all the cold winter evenings pushing myself to run for just one more minute. As I crossed the finishing line, I was filled with joy. I did it, I am a runner and I like to run. Thanks to The Irish Times Get Running and to Mary Jennings.

For me and most of my friends, the mini marathon was our first 10km and it was brilliant. I started on the journey in January, much heavier, and, thanks to Mary Jennings and her incredible tips and advice, I finished with ease. I felt I could have run three or four more kilometres: I took my time and paced myself, and finished in about 73 minutes.

My journey started three stone heavier. Although I am 5ft 9 I didn’t look too bad, but I am down almost four dress sizes and I feel great. And you know what? I look pretty good too. I have another stone to lose but I am happy to be working on it over time. Let’s be honest: it didn’t go on in six months, so losing three stone in six months makes me pretty pleased with my previously lazy self.

In March I started a running group from the school drop-off, and the other mums and I did our first 5km together. We met Mary and begged her to run a 10km course, and, to our joy, she did. Having completed the 10km I feel I helped myself as well as others. I’m inspiring my own kids and family to be strong and healthy. Thank you for everything. I’m doing a half marathon next.

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