It’s time I tell you about the rest of my running journey. As mentioned in part 1 of my running journey recap, Lawrence is the one who suggested that I stick to running and make it a proper “hobby”. Little did we know that I would stick with this new hobby of mine and even become a running coach!
From newbie runner to running coach
So at the age of 22, I moved to London to do my PhD. I worked at King’s College London, at the London Bridge campus. I absolutely loved running by the river. I used to run between London Bridge and Tower Bridge and over the course of 18 months I progressively increased the distance by going to bridges a bit further down the river.
A colleague from work then encouraged members of my lab to run a 5K for charity to raise money for her son’s school. I loved every minute of it. I loved all the crowd support and the sense of accomplishment from that day. After that, my colleague Stef and I decided to embark on a bigger challenge and train for a half marathon.
Run to the Beat
In 2011, Stef and I choose to run the Run to the Beat Half Marathon. Like many runners new to racing, I decided to run for charity. I raised funds for a cancer charity and had written on my arms the names of my friends’ family members who unfortunately passed away from cancer. It kept me going and it was so beautiful to be able to do this for them. I ran the race in just over 2h01 or something like that.
I went on to run this race in 2012 and 2013 as well. I didn’t have the best race in 2012 for two reasons. Firstly, as many runners, I had in mind that I had to get faster and beat my previous time, leading me to just stress about my pace rather than focus on the moment. Secondly, it was freezing cold that year and there were some organisation issues. That’s when the idea of starting a blog and being able to write race recap came about. I thought “I need to tell people how this race really is”. I came across Leah’s blog looking for such race recaps.
Team Naturally Run
There comes a point in one’s running journey where you understand that running can be a bit like marmite. People either love it or hate it. Especially long distance. I often received comments such as “why do you run so much, you don’t need to lose weight”. Running being a cheap and accessible form of cardiovascular exercise, it is often associated with a form of torture for weight loss.
With perfect timing, Leah created “Team Naturally Run”, a team for girls of all running abilities to train together. We trained together for so many events, taking bigger and bigger challenges on board, such as training for the Paris marathon. When you train for a marathon, there are some looooooooog runs and I am glad it allowed me to create friendships that go beyond running.
Hill Killer Girls
In 2014, I moved to Bristol to start my medical school adventure. I left a lot behind to do so, and running became something even more important. It’s one thing I knew how to do despite all the other changes in my life. I ran one of my favourite half marathon to date, the Bristol Half marathon. After years of trying to chase a PB, I ran this race without a watch and it was great.
Social media can be a real time-sucker, and I spend far too much time on it, but it can be great to meet people. That’s how I met a much of like-minded running lovers in Bristol and formed another girl gang “The Hill Killer Girls“.
B.U.M.S On The Run
At the same time, I started B.U.M.S (Bristol Uni Medical Student) On The Run (can you tell I like a good running gang name?) with fellow medical student Liv. Our aim was to provide a safe and non-competitive environment where beginners could do a couch to 5K programme. What an amazing feeling to help our runners build up from walking to their first 5K and their first half-marathon in the past two years. As much as I like running, I like coaching people even more and I am proud to say that I have now passed my UK athletic running coach qualification!
I want to further develop my coaching style on a 1:1 basis. I am currently training a friend for a race and I will need to train myself for my next race. Hopefully I can then coach and share my love of running with even more people!
P.S. I’ve just noticed that I am wearing my Run to The Beat race shirt in almost all these pictures. This was not intentional but could not represent the evolution of my running journey better, from newbie runner to running coach.