Stephanie is a 27 year old Transport Planner who used to find exercising as a chore and had to do it so that she didn’t feel ‘guilty’ for being ‘unhealthy’. Read on to find out how she overcame this and hasn’t looked back since!
“Growing up I was never an active individual – I always saw exercise as a chore that I had to do so that I didn’t feel guilty for being ‘unhealthy’. I hated paying for gym memberships and feeling yet more guilt if I didn’t go.
In 2013 I decided I wanted to try running – I figured it’s free, what have I got to lose? A colleague took me out for my first jog around the Thames one lunchtime and I set myself a goal to get around the whole 5k route without stopping, no matter how slow I ran! I tracked my run on my phone and felt a huge sense of achievement when I finished. From then, I started to set myself more goals, always going out for runs with people and comparing routes and times making it really fun and social.
Later in the year I joined a running club (London City Runners) and discovered a whole community of people who shared this same interest. I met so many new people, some have inspired me to run more and sign up to races while others have just become really great friends. In turn I started meeting people who were new to running and encouraging them to get more involved – sharing my positive experiences. I had no idea that something as simple as running could change my social life so much.
Thanks to these people I ran my first marathon in November last year, something I know I never would have done on my own. Now when I put my running shoes on I don’t think about exercise as a chore, I think about how lucky I am to get to meet new people, catch up with friends and ultimately feel great for doing it!”
The River Thames is without a doubt my favourite place to exercise in London and it’s what I love about it. It’s the running track of London. Miles and miles of wide paths, fellow runners, great views and most importantly no traffic. The best thing above all else is the scenery. In one half an hour run I can see what a tourist would spend a whole day exploring. Every time I run over Tower Bridge or past the Cutty Sark I just think wow, I am so lucky to have all of this right here!
I’m completely with the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, I saw the advert on TV and thought this is exactly how I feel when I’m out with my running club. If you have fun and make friends even when you’re dripping with sweat then you know you’re doing okay.
Read more about the London City Runners from their website: http://www.londoncityrunners.com/