Mums on the Run!
The kids are arguing, I’ve burnt the dinner, the dog’s walked mud through the house…that’s it, I’m off for a run!
There’s a raft of scientific evidence that proves that regular exercise and running in particular—has health benefits that extend well beyond any medicine a doctor could prescribe. Not only is it great for your physical health (helps prevent high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes etc) but evidence suggests works wonders for our happiness and mental well-being too.
With warmer days often comes a desire to get fit and into shape for that forthcoming holiday. If you’re struggling to find time for the gym; feel intimated by the classes, or only have a shoestring budget for exercise, then it’s worth looking into running – and even better – running with your pals!
My own return to running began back in 2006. My ‘baby mums’ and I had survived teething issues, nailed nappy rash, waded through weaning and were now about to embark on potty training. We sought a new challenge, and one that didn’t require Calpol. Our aim was mainly to give us something else to focus on, other than Motherhood. We signed up to our first Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research and started pounding the streets together. Suddenly 5k didn't seem too bad when compared to mopping up sick or scraping Weetabix off the ceiling. Our evenings spent running got us out of the house and into the fresh air and the camaraderie experienced at the race itself, gave us memories to cherish.
Then priorities changed, I had another child and also a new baby (Raring2go!) so running took a back seat. When I came across Stourbridge Mums on the Run in 2012 it was a welcome opportunity to dust off my trainers again!
The ladies of SMOR (Stourbridge Mums on the Run) – a local running group - already enjoy benefits that go way above and beyond just fitting into the next size down in a pair of jeans.
From a vision four years ago, SMOR founder, Emma Barnes, explains why she set up the group in the first place, “I had often thought about looking for a running buddy or setting up a running group, but was really unsure where to start. It was a conversation at a party with another mom that really got me thinking. Shortly afterwards, the running group SMOR (Stourbridge Mums on the Run) was born.”
With just a handful of school mums in the early days, the group has grown considerably, as friends have spread the word. The beauty of facebook is that it provides a great means of communicating with groups of people, so enables us to co-ordinate our runs meaning no one is ever running alone. Whether you want a quick dash after the morning school run, or a trot along the tow path one evening, there’s always someone around to join you - and this means you're much safer too.
A simple App on your smart phone (like Strava, or MapMyRun) allows you to record your speed and distance and track your progress – a bit like getting a sticker chart for doing your homework!
The progress has been phenomenal. Each one of us has their own personal goals; each starting from a different base. Some of us just want to be able to jog without wetting ourselves, others dream of smashing a Half Marathon (I can now tick this one off my bucket list!) but by being part of a supportive group of like-minded women, it means that these goals now seem attainable. Where once our running chatter was of homework and holidays, now it’s talk about timings and personal bests!
Sally Baker, owner of The Pretty in Print Company, only started running in earnest in March 2015 and is now training for a marathon! "I’d watched my husband run the Great Midlands Fun Run 3 times and loved the amazing atmosphere that surrounds this 8.5k route, always wishing that I could one day run it too. So when I started running at the start of 2015, it wasn’t long before I’d signed up. I regularly doubted I could do it but then joining up with SMOR was all I needed to get me through! At the end of May 2015 (just short of 5 months since I started running) I ran it and the sense of achievement was amazing. The crowds lining the course made me feel like a bonafide runner and I could have kept going all day! I can’t imagine my life now without running and definitely not without SMOR!"
Pals Lucy Stevens and Laura Adamson eased themselves back into running with the weekly free Park Runs (which have hit the news recently with some local councils threatening to charge runners). All abilities are encouraged, making Park Run UK a nice informal way to take up the sport, in a friendly atmosphere, without any cost or commitment. Regular Park Run events take place at The Dell stadium in Brierley Hill at the Wyre Forest.
Being part of a group motivates you to go out running, even when you don’t fancy it. You’re not going to leave your mate standing on the corner in the rain, you’re going to face the drizzle together.
Says Emma, “SMOR now has over 64 members, with a range of abilities and I’ve recently started a beginners/returners group, which has been a great success! For me, the ethos behind SMOR is about giving women the opportunity, motivation and encouragement to get out there, run, keep fit, be healthy and have a good time whilst doing so!”
In April 2017, five members of SMOR took on the Brighton Marathon to raise funds for Mary Stevens Hospice are Emma Barnes; Rebecca Powers; Lucy Stevens; Rachel Hunt and Sally Baker. Speaking on behalf of the group, Emma said:
“'The training has been mentally and physically challenging, but as a team we have been so supported by each other's strength, motivation and friendship. We did it! It was truly a Team SMOR effort."
So if you’re looking for a new challenge, why not follow Emma’s example and join up with a group of friends and get running. You won’t look back.
If you would like to find out more about the SMOR group or speak to someone about potentially joining, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're still searching to find a way back into sport, have a look at the This Girl Can website: This Girl Can is a celebration of active women who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets. Developed by Sport England, we want to help women overcome the fear of judgement that is stopping too many women and girls from joining in.
NB Sponsored running tops were supplied by Adesso Industrial Supplies.
Editor of Raring2go! Kidderminster & Stourbridge since 2008. Local font of knowledge. Mother of two and wife of one.
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