Rebecca Semenowicz C25K

06 January 2017

So where to start. I never ran at school, I had no respect for running. I could never understand how anyone could run for more than ten seconds without having a heart attack! I am being completely honest in that I refused to run for a bus in sight, I was more than happy to wait than make a fool of myself. So when friends kept talking about the C25K program and it was literally all over social media, quite frankly I was sick and tired of hearing about it. Nine weeks, that's all it takes they said, the support you get from the volunteers will get you through they said...really it will! So with all the hype I tried and failed miserably in 2015, dropping out at Week 3, doing it for all the wrong reasons at the time.

 Then in May 2016 I thought just to prove to myself and others, I will complete this thing then quit. How wrong was I? I won't lie, Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 were painful but fun. I was easily one of the unhealthiest, but also one of the most stubborn, and pushed harder each week. Seriously, I couldn't run 90 seconds, but with pure determination and yes (I'm eating my words) the amazing support, I soon found that I could run for 3 minutes, then 5, 10 and so on, until what felt like no time at all, we were running the finale; no walking and all under the hour.

 We were all so happy and proud, even more so the volunteers, and yes they cried, literally cried, that's how much they cared! And no matter how long it took, not one person was left behind. I finally got that pint and that was my goal to complete it, oh and my certificate and goody bag of course! I guess making new friends throughout the process made it fun, seeing us all improve and all getting that high-five each week we added more minutes to the run kept me going. I have made some amazing friends along this journey and continue to do so.

 As I said, my intention was to quit. Three days later we were doing the C25K follow on run; at least it made a change from talking to the cat every night! No thoughts, just total bliss during the 40 minute or so run with new friends and most importantly the occasional well-earned pint afterwards. It took just seven weeks of running twice a week and on a Saturday (Pendle parkrun) and pure dedication to complete the Wigan 10K in September. Again, no walking, no hardcore training, just maintaining what we did in the nine weeks prior. Not only did we double our distance but we all became members of Trawden AC and proudly ran in our Humbug tops. I can honestly say it was one of the proudest moments in my life!

 I was the last TAC member to finish, but in true spirit of the club, Adam Howard stayed with me from around 7K to the finish line. In all honesty, he had to catch up to me, well he was poorly and in no way self-inflicted! Holding the water bottle for my survival (okay a little dramatic), but we made it to the finish in around 81 mins. He was genuinely just happy to see me complete it, no walking allowed, sacrificing his own finish time. I am by far still one of the slowest and quite frankly I don't care. In 22 weeks I've gone from not being able to run 90 seconds to 90 minutes and improved my 5K parkrun time from 45:48 to 38:43.

 So, in conclusion...Couch to 5K and TAC are not all about the fastest runners, but for them it is also about supporting people of all abilities (I had none). You will never feel out of place or made to feel like you don't belong to a running club and most importantly...they are always there to the end cheering you on. I am now a loyal TAC member and volunteer, giving a little something back, living a healthier quality of life.