Linda's story...

I NEVER thought I would run. That was something my husband did. He was the runner in the family before passing away far too young from MND. My (possibly misplaced) concerns that all those marathons may have contributed to this, always led me to the conclusion that I would NEVER run.

But that was then.

On New Year’s Eve 2020, after a year of immense pressure, followed by many hours in the house, my friend Claire called, ‘How do you fancy doing Couch to 5K (C25K) with me…starting tomorrow?’


Actually, I was ok about it. I had recently seen the creator of C25K, Josh Clark, interviewed on Breakfast TV and had an idea what was involved. The structure and end goal appealed to me. I always like a ‘prize’ at the end of any learning experience. I also, maybe because of so little social time in 2020, really liked the idea of time to chew over the cud with Claire.

So, I signed up. With Claire and Jo Whiley *

And as 2021 arrived, Claire and I started out from the couch and over the next 9 weeks continued to meet three times a week.

As I had previously literally NO running experience, this was a big deal. I enjoy yoga and I am happy using the non-cardio equipment in the gym, but you would never have seen me on the running machine.

And apart from all that, when I started my nurse training in 1980 it had been drilled into me from that first day on the wards, ‘Walk, do NOT run!’

I would never have started this alone. Meeting up with Claire was the key to me starting and keeping going. Initially, we met early evenings, when it was getting dark, to minimise people who would see us!

But despite the odds being stacked against me, I carried on for the whole programme, running in all types of weather, and after a few weeks, even migrating to broad daylight! My kids helped too, giving loads of encouragement, their support made a big difference.

So, here we are, Claire  and I are Couch to 5K graduates and whilst I’m not quite comfortable with calling myself ‘a runner’, I am still going out three times a week with Claire and I am thinking about taking part in Park Run when it can resume this summer.

My advice to anyone looking to get more active, is give this a go. All you need is a decent pair of running trainers and the motivation to start. If I can do it, I believe anyone can, even those who had it drilled into them, ‘Walk, don’t run!’

Linda is...

A Board Trustee of Energize STW

Group Associate Director of Governance and Corporate Nursing at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group

An Event Nurse for St John Ambulance



*The official NHS Couch to 5K App offers those signing up a choice of various celebrities to help with motivational commentary as you are walking or running. Jo Whiley, Sarah Millican, Sanjeev Kohli or Michael Johnson.