WE’RE GIV­ING SOME­THING BACK

Woman & Home - - CONTENT -

IN­SPIR­ING READ­ERS WHO HAVE ALL DIS­COV­ERED THE JOY OF VOL­UN­TEER­ING

Got some spare time on your hands? Be in­spired by these women, who dis­cov­ered the joy of vol­un­teer­ingÉ “I wanted to show women that any­one can be­come a run­ner”

SHARON TAIT, 63, IS A RE­TIRED NURSE. SHE LIVES IN LOUGH­BOR­OUGH WITH HER HUS­BAND MICHAEL, 63, AND HAS TWO GROWN-UP DAUGH­TERS. SHE SAYS:

EV­ERY THURS­DAY NIGHT, COME RAIN, HAIL OR SHINE, I PUT ON MY RUN­NING GEAR AND HEAD OUT TO COACH OTHER WOMEN AND MEN WHO HAVE TAKEN UP RUN­NING FOR THE FIRST TIME.

OVER NINE WEEKS I TRAIN THEM HOW TO RUN 5KM, BUILD­ING THEIR STAMINA AND IM­PROV­ING THEIR TECH­NIQUE, BE­FORE THEY “GRAD­U­ATE” AND MY NEXT BATCH OF NOVICE RUN­NERS BE­GIN A NEW SPORT ENG­LAND-BACKED COUCH TO 5K COURSE. I’VE AL­WAYS BEEN A RUN­NER, TO STAY FIT, KEEP MY WEIGHT DOWN AND AS A STRESS RE­LIEVER. I’M ALSO A MEM­BER OF PO­PLAR RUN­NING CLUB, AND WHEN THE SPORT ENG­LAND-FUNDED TAKE THE LEAD INI­TIA­TIVE CON­TACTED US LAST YEAR TO SEE IF ANY WOMEN IN THE CLUB WERE IN­TER­ESTED IN TRAIN­ING TO BE­COME MEN­TORS TO EN­COUR­AGE OTHER WOMEN INTO SPORT, I LEAPT AT THE OP­POR­TU­NITY.

I’D BEEN LOOK­ING FOR A VOL­UN­TEER­ING ROLE BE­CAUSE I WAS DUE TO RE­TIRE SOON, AND THIS SEEMED LIKE THE PER­FECT WAY TO PASS ON MY LOVE OF RUN­NING AND HELP OTHER PEO­PLE LOOK AF­TER THEIR HEALTH – SOME­THING I’M PAS­SION­ATE ABOUT AF­TER YEARS WORK­ING IN THE NHS. TO BE­COME A VOL­UN­TEER, MY TRAIN­ING COV­ERED EV­ERY­THING FROM HOW TO TEACH PEO­PLE TO RUN SAFELY, WITH SAFE WARM-UPS AND COOL-DOWNS, TO LEAD­ER­SHIP SKILLS SO I COULD LEAD A GROUP CON­FI­DENTLY.

IT WAS UP TO ME TO DE­CIDE HOW I WANTED TO USE MY NEW SKILLS, I HAD A LOT OF AU­TON­OMY, AND I DE­CIDED TO FO­CUS ON AT­TRACT­ING NON-RUN­NERS, ES­PE­CIALLY WOMEN, TO TAKE IT UP. I WANTED THEM TO SEE THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A SUPERFIT MARATHON RUN­NER, IT’S A SPORT FOR ALL AGES AND ALL SIZES.

I AD­VER­TISED VIA FACE­BOOK, AND WITH

POSTERS IN LO­CAL SU­PER­MAR­KETS AND LEISURE CEN­TRES, AND I WORK ALONG­SIDE A TEAM OF OTHER VOL­UN­TEERS, WITH EACH OF US TAKING A GROUP OF PEO­PLE AGED 12-60, US­ING LO­CAL PARKS AND ROADS.

ONE OF MY GRAD­U­ATES FROM LAST YEAR RAN THE LON­DON MARATHON THIS YEAR. I WAS IN­CRED­I­BLY PROUD TO HAVE PLAYED A PART IN HER DIS­COV­ER­ING A PAS­SION FOR RUN­NING.

SEE­ING PEO­PLE GROW IN CON­FI­DENCE

AND BE­COME FIT­TER IS SO RE­WARD­ING, AND

IT’S ALSO A VERY SO­CIA­BLE EX­PE­RI­ENCE FOR ME.

IN­TER­ESTED IN RUN­NING? TO FIND A GROUP NEAR YOU, LOG ON TO RUNTOGETHER.CO.UK AND PUT “BE­GIN­NERS” IN THE SEARCH BOX

SHARON VOL­UN­TEERS AS A RUN­NING MEN­TOR, EN­COUR­AG­ING OTH­ERS TO GET IN­VOLVED

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