Sara Cassidy

Inchture Jogscotland

Sarah (left) and fellow half marathon runner Fiona celebrate their achievement

I decided during lockdown to take up Couch to 5K. I was working from home a lot more and it gave me a break away from a computer screen and got me out in the fresh air – definitely good for my physical and mental health.

I could concentrate and focus on my feet hitting the pavement and the music and forget all the stresses. I had tried running before but soon gave up as I found it so hard, but now I know it is because I went too hard too fast and overexerted myself. This time, I used the Couch to 5K app, but I must admit that I didn’t fall in love with running right away – in fact I often wondered why I was putting myself through each run.

I set myself a couple of personal goals that I wanted to achieve – 5K in 30 minutes and to do a 10K by September. Then in March I saw a post on the village Facebook page asking if anybody was interested in setting up a running group. I was thinking this would be good as motivation was something I was struggling with, and in due course jog leader Linda Craddock said she could take us through the beginner and intermediate programmes.

Meeting up with all the girls on the Friday night (above) was great – I never knew running could be a social sport, but I was happy to be proved wrong! At the beginning of April the girls were talking about the Auchterarder Running Festival, and I originally signed up for the 10K, however by the end of April I just felt 10K was just too easy for me and I wanted to push myself, so I signed up to the double dare – both the 10K and Half Marathon races. Linda was very supportive and gave me some useful hints and tips. With the help of the running group, I ran my first 10K – I was very proud.

Sara in running kit wearing a race number and a large gold coloured medalIt was during these months that I got the running bug and understood what people meant by a runner’s high. At the end of May I took park in the Let’s Do It Spring Bank Holiday Virtual 10K and received my first medal. Over the summer months I trained hard for the half marathon, and on 19 September along with Fiona McGuiness, another member of the running group, we completed our first ever half marathon. It was a virtual race, so we got to choose our own route and we had our families and friends come out to cheer us along. We completed it in 2hrs 45minutes, and then on 26 September I did the 10K too.

To say I am proud would be an understatement. I would like to do another half marathon in 2022, and go to the actual race this time with the atmosphere, and feel the hype. I want to beat my time – I would like to complete it in 2hrs 20 minutes. I would also like to complete a marathon before I am 40. So, for me it’s more training and more social runs and just enjoying it.

The jogscotland group has been amazing – I am so glad I joined, and I look forward to our Friday night runs.


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