Former couch potatoes are rightly proud of their efforts to get fit and, as a result, enter this year’s Worthing 10k.
Fitness instructor Sue Turgoose has been working with the running group at South Downs Leisure through her Couch to 5k sessions.
Sue has been running the group since January 2016 and has a core of mainly women and a few men who have improved to the point they have entered the 10k as a team of 14.
Sue said: “For most of them, it will be their first-ever race and it’s been a massive journey for a lot of them, and a massive achievement.
“A few of them have already run 5K races, half marathons and full marathons but to have the whole group running together in one race is amazing.
“They all have different stories, for some it was to get fitter, for others to lose weight, for some to gain confidence and they have all grown in confidence and in strength.
“I don’t think there are any progression groups like this in Worthing that literally start from nothing. Most of the people who joined my group were not runners and struggled to run for 30 seconds without getting out of breath and stopping.
“What is so good is that all of them will now run a 10K, something they never thought was possible. They are a lovely group and there is a real camaraderie.”
The runners meet at Splash Point on Saturdays at 10am and every week there are ten to 15 people taking part.
Sue said: “We had no idea when we started how popular it would be. Week by week, they have been building on running without stopping.
“When the session is over, they are given homework so they can build on what they have learned and put it into practice during the week.
“They all arrange to meet up and continue to build up their distance and pace. The longer-standing group members are always there to lend encouragement and support to any of the newer group members that come along.”
Amy Norris has been running since June last year and cannot wait to do the Worthing 10k with the team.
She said: “I was so nervous, I put off joining for about two weeks but so glad I finally did and look how far I’ve come.
“I started from zero and recently conquered the Brighton half marathon. Sue has been a great coach and friend.”
Hannah Thew was looking to take on new challenges when she started Couch to 5k.
She said: “I was never a runner and could barely even run for a minute but week by week I did longer runs, more miles and persevered.
“Two years later, I have done 5k ,10k and even a half marathon. I’m extremely grateful to the group for what it has helped me achieve. If i can do it, anyone can do it.”
Vanessa Good trained for her first half marathon in 2013 but injured her knee so she was not able to do the run.
She said: “After three months of physiotherapy, I lost my confidence and decided to stop running altogether.
“In 2016, two years before my 50th birthday, I decided that if I was ever going to run a half marathon, I’d better start training, so I joined the Couch to 5k class.
“We began running for one minute and walking for a minute. Now I can run for an hour continuously. I’ve discovered that running keeps me sane and that a distance of between 5k to 10k is perfect for me.
“Now I’m 50, I’m just so happy that I can run a couple of times a week and I’m thankful that my body and mind are capable of this.”
Karen Clark has been a member of Fit4 for about four years and started running because of her sister.
Karen explained: “She wanted to be able to completely run a Race for Life rather than walking, so asked me to join the Couch to 5k programme to motivate her.
“I don’t really enjoy running but the ‘hooters’ are a great bunch of ladies, all encouraging and supporting each other, which keeps me returning each week.”
Marian Patterson joined the group when it started with a similar aim, to run the Race for Life 5k.
She said: “Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances, I was unable to run it. After six months off, I returned to running and was welcomed back to the group as if I had never left.
“All the members and instructor are such an inspiration and support to all members. As I originally set off to run 5k but have come such a long way, I am ready to take on the 10k. You are never to old to achieve your goal and this is my goal this year.”
Sara Spells started running to loose weight and be a healthy role model to her children.
She said: “I have been running for two years and have completed 21 races, including the 2018 London Marathon.”
Sharon Hooper said the group was ‘really inspirational and friendly’, always offering advice and encouragement.
She added: “It is a great way to meet new people. I joined because I wanted to learn how to run and keep fit and now running the Worthing 10k will be real sense of achievement.”