Posts by: Matt Craig

James Young

I started with Stoke FIT in January 2019 on the C25K plan.  Needless to say what a nervous first time run it was havening never run before and thinking I wouldn’t have been able to keep up.  I couldn’t have been more wrong, what a fantastic group of leaders Stoke FIT have.  All runners made welcome and never left behind.

Six months later, I’m still here enjoying every minute of it, park runs are great and always some fitties there to encourage on whatever your ability.

I’ve even entered a few races and completed a couple of 10Ks.

#letsgetbettertogether pops up quite regularly on club posts and is spot on with what the club offers 

Nicola Poole

This is not only my journey but also that of my family….

I watched the Potters ‘arf every year with my dad and then after his death I continued the tradition taking my children with me.  I always thought I wish I could run, but I was never very good at sports at school.

Last year whilst watching the race I bumped into a friend who unbeknown to me was a Stoke FIT member who said ‘why don’t you do it next year’  I told her about how I’d love to, but can’t run, she said everyone can run and encouraged me to join the C25K. 

I got in touch with the club and decided that as I didn’t want to go alone, I encouraged my son (17) and daughter (18) to come along for support.  A few weeks later we began on the C25K journey.

I really didn’t need to worry about being nervous, that first day everyone was in the same boat as me.  

Since graduating from C25K I have joined club, I won’t say it’s been easy as I haven’t been well along the way but with the support of the leaders, I’ve got there.  All members have been very welcoming; I’ve made some lovely friends too.  No-one gets left behind or left feeling that they are inconveniencing anyone if they are struggling.

This year I participated in a relay team at the Potters ‘arf – one of my greatest achievements.  I’m not interested in personal bests and I don’t particularly like the races but it’s my choice to enter them and I never feel pressured to enter.  If I do enter though, I know there are always other fitties there to help and support me.

My son is now also a member and comes to club as often as he can.  My daughter has gone off to Uni so doesn’t get the opportunity to come to club.  She has managed to come back home to do a race recently and with little training even beat her 5K PB.

It’s been a lovely thing for us to do as a family and I feel much fitter for it too.

Louise aka ‘Nelly’

I started off my running journey with StokeFIT Couch25k in Jan 2019, I walked in on my own no clue what to expect. 

That first run for me was hard but amazing, I was overweight, the most unfit I’ve ever been and not done exercise except walking the dog since school. 
But I stuck with it and graduated and the support along the way was the best support I’ve ever had, the encouragement and advise from some fabulous runners is amazing, even if you don’t get to club every week whenever you turn up your made so welcome. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, it helped my mental health too which is always a bonus. 

Stu Parton

My journey with Stoke fit started on 10/10/2016

After running on my own for a couple of years and completing a few races potters Arf in 1:58:58 congleton half in 1:52:00 and failing to beat the train in race the train Tywyn 

I decided to give stoke fit a message after seeing them at races and running past them after I’d crossed the road to avoid the fast club runners as I thought while I was out on my own and struggling to get motivated in the winter.

I set off for the first time very nervous as to whether I’d fit in and be fast enough.  To be honest it was a baptism of fire, 1st run was a fit session 2nd was time trail but I loved it and I’ve made so many friends good friends too, 3 years later I’m a leader for the club and although not yet returning to beat that train my Potters Arf time is down to 1:40:00 and Congleton 1:38:00 hoping to better that in October and also been promoted in NSRRA.

The club is welcoming and also open to everyone who decides to lace up a pair of trainers and give it a go whether they’re an elite runner or someone looking to run a few times a month there’s no pressure and every opportunity to progress and ask more experienced runners for tips and advice.  My biggest accomplishment to date was winning the club ballot for the London marathon this year having never run more than 14 miles before I throw myself into it training hard and asking advice and finished beyond what I could of expected at the beginning in 3:35:23 all made possible by this club and it’s members there’s a wealth of knowledge on hand from 5k distance to 100 mile distance.

Ben Tomkinson

My youngest lad wanted to do parkrun in the March a few years ago, he was 8 and I was 8 stone over weight! His friend did it with his dad and wanted us to do it. I dragged myself around after 1/2 a mile he ran of with his friend and their dad. I crossed the finish line and vomited into my mouth.

But strangely I loved it.

A few people from work had seen me at parkrun and they ran with a group and said I should come along so I did expecting to embarrass myself but it didn’t happen the way it was done anyone can do it.

3 months later thanks to support from a couple of leaders and plenty of members I had gone from non runner to completing the potter half and in a pretty respectable time.

Since then I’ve done a marathon (I won’t be doing another) all the family run my partner has joined and has gone from non runner to doing a half marathon with Stoke fit. The kids run one reluctantly and one lives it. Thanks to Stoke fit getting me started the whole family is fitter healthier and happier………oh and still has a crate of Carling in the shed thanks to my son getting placed in an adults race, I’m sure they will both join up once they are old enough.

By the way I hate running but I love running in a group it doesn’t feel like running.

Emma Vigrass

It was winter time, early dark nights, cold and well, winter. My body was in true hibernation state but I knew I needed to do something about it and I promised myself that I would in the New Year. A friend saw a post I’d put on Facebook and messaged me suggesting I join the Stoke F.I.T couch to 5K starting in January – he had joined the club a few years earlier and said how it had made such a positive difference in his life. 

Running!! Me!! I sort of laughed first and said I’d think about it and he didn’t give up on me either. I agreed to start the programme in January – I remember turning up on that first night and talking to another lady who was starting and we just didn’t know what to expect. The club runners were so friendly and inviting – there were so many different people there, people who could run but didn’t fit into the stereotypical ‘athlete’ label. The first night we did a mixture of walking and running, it felt good. I actually enjoyed it and I was looking forward to going to the next club night. The rest really is history, I completed the programme! The first time I ran non stop for more than 16 minutes was an amazing feeling, I couldn’t run up the stairs without getting out of breath before!

Having the club runners as support made a massive difference, they were happy to share their own experiences, tips etc. and encouraged you all the way.

I ran my 5k race and then went on to do a 10k!! I then joined the club officially and I haven’t looked back since. I didn’t think I would be able to do it and I certainly didn’t think I would enjoy it. I suffer with depression and running really helps me with that as well as being healthy. 

All I would say to anyone thinking about trying it is to just try it, you really don’t know until you do – Stoke F.I.T has made a difference in my life, they’re one hell of club!! 

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