After first completing Couch to 5K in 2016, Simone and her mum, Sandra, fell in love with running. They went on to start their own running club and completed many races for charity.
But during lockdown, Simone lost all motivation in her running. Fortunately, with the help of our Retro Running series, the magic of video calls, and support from mum, she dusted off her trainers and headed out on the running series in support of people living with lung cancer.
“As someone who didn’t even enjoy PE in school – running was something I never thought in a million years that I would be able to do, let alone ENJOY! However, doing it with my mum was the support and motivation I needed to get through.
After completing our first 10k together, we both started to see the benefits that running had on our mental wellbeing. We later took on a half-marathon and even completed a Run Leader in Fitness qualification with RunTogether, in the hope that we could support others on their running journeys.
After mum moved down to Cornwall, we discovered virtual running challenges. We loved the feeling of completing races together while supporting charities in the process.
In 2019 with the help of mum, I started Power Runs – a running group in my local area for anyone who wanted to run for their mental wellbeing. In the summer of 2019, my husband completed his Run Leader qualification and by the start of 2020, we were running up to 5 sessions a week from 3k beginners through to half marathon training.
And then, lockdown happened and unfortunately, we had to temporarily close Power Runs. We utilised social media to set weekly goals for our runners and kept in contact with everyone, however, being a run leader doesn’t always mean that you have the motivation to run. Not being able to meet up with the group and only being able to exercise once daily in the first lockdown meant that I stopped running entirely. I completely lost my confidence and my joy I once had in running.
Mum to the rescue!
It was then that my mum sent me a link to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s 90s virtual run. She booked us both a place for the 5k challenge and told me that we could work together to build back up my confidence with running again.
We arranged a weekly virtual run; running at the same time each week and completing the same distance from our different locations (me in the Midlands, Mum down in Cornwall). We would then Facetime 15 minutes in to check in with one another and see how it was going. It was hard, but knowing I had support from Mum on the other end of that phone was all I needed to keep going. I didn’t want to let my mum down, the charity down or myself down – so I showed up and tried my best!
I am so thankful to my mum and to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation for this challenge. Being able to post on the Roy’s Runners Strava Run Club when I completed my 5k felt exactly like when I completed my Couch to 5k. The joy was back!
After this, I soon caught the bug again and we used the virtual retro run challenges to build up our distances. Seeing everyone’s stories and posts on the Roy’s Runners Facebook page was so inspiring!
We completed a 5k for the 90s run, a 10k for the 80s run, a 10 mile for the 70s run and then we went for a half marathon for the 60s in December! We finished the whole series in February when we completed a 10k for the 00s themed run, the feeling of accomplishment was incredible. Plus, we loved the themed medals to add to our collections!
Not only did the challenge offer us the chance to build our running, but they also enabled us to run together, even while staying apart in lockdown. My mum is such an inspiration to me, she has continued to challenge herself since moving to Cornwall by completing many 10k and half marathon races; she always gets me out running whenever I go to visit her!
I think if this year has taught me anything, it is that community and support is everything. Join those Facebook groups like Roy’s Runners, cheer each other on and celebrate all your achievements! And if you have a running buddy at your side, even virtually, it makes the journey that much more fun!
Virtual races like Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s Retro Running Series are an amazing way to challenge yourself and stay connected with loved ones while staying safe. I don’t know what the rest of 2021 will bring, or when we’ll be able to run together in person again, but I do know that isn’t going to stop me!