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My Running Journey - by Simon Chalmers

My journey in to running has been a gradual one.  I was 17st (107kg) and loved a doner pizza. I signed up for a 10k to raise money for an alzheimer charity, and within a couple of weeks people were commenting on the weight I’ve lost. 

I stuck at it and my times soon started getting quicker as I got lighter and it wasn't long before I caught the bug.  Initially I never thought i'd get in to running as every step was a struggle, but once I found my pace I started enjoying it, and I made it round my first 10k in 55mins which I was really happy with.

I moved house to a new village in the north east of Scotland called St Cyrus and there was no running club here or in any of the neighbouring towns, so I put an advert in the newsletter to see if anyone wanted to start a running group.... I didn’t receive a single bite. Every Thursday i'd sit at the wall outside the village hall, as advertised in the newsletter and nobody ever came... It was a lonely pursuit. The guys at my work were delighted... next thing there were stickers on my coveralls “St. Cyrus Solo, running club”.  I did the sensible thing, and designed a logo with "St. Cyrus Solos" and had a vest printed for the next race I did, and I put a second advert in the newsletter saying the St Cyrus Solos had achieved 100% attendance at a few races with Pb’s all round and ended the column stating I was STILL the only member.

I got 2 bites this time, Nicola and Elaine who are club members still and both form part of the committee.  Fast forward 2 years and we now have 40 members, many who travel a distance to run with us and all who seem happy to wear our club kit and fly the flag at races across the country.  We have a real mixed bag - a few ultra runners, and also quite a few plodders.  The club organises 2 fun runs in the village each year, and both get a great buy-in from our little community.  I'm immensely proud of every member of the club and really enjoy sharing their achievements with them, whether its a parkrun PB, a first 10k or even just running the whole training night without stopping to walk up a hill for the first time... After all - the club mantra is "Hills are your friends".  

 
I now weigh 79kg and have got my times from 30min - 19:30 for 5k, 55min - 41min for 10k, 1:55 - 1:29 for HM.  The PB's are harder to come by these days, but I hope to keep getting them.  I've got a supportive bunch around me and I enjoy running with them.  When I signed up for my initial 10k, I planned to complete it and go back to my old ways.  I never thought i'd be the chair of a running club, and someone who regularly coaches a group of people.  

Below photos are me at my heaviest, then me at my lightest, after completing my 1:29 Half marathon, and then a selfie with the running club.  Look us up on facebook - St. Cyrus solos.
 
My story is the reason I never accept "i'm not built for running" as a valid excuse.  I wasn't either, I was built for pizza and beer, but I got over that.  Get out the door, give it a go.  when I try to get someone in to running, as my mate says "I feel like a salesman who's trying to sell a product that he knows works", and I think that sums it up perfectly.  
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Huge thanks to Simon for sharing his journey into running and amazing to see his progress!

If you'd like to share your story about your running journey, your passion for running or any other running related topic then drop us an email to info@runr.co.uk as we'd be happy to share it.

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