Rachel Oakley

After years of living a sedentary lifestyle and struggling with both my weight and asthma, I finally bit the bullet and put myself through Couch to 5k in April 2015, graduating at the first Kingsway parkrun with a time of 37:11. I'd known about Kingsway Runners during that time but didn't pluck up the courage to join until that September, and immediately wished I'd done so sooner!

Since joining Kingsway Runners - and with the incredible support of my run family - I've knocked 14 minutes off my 5k time, taken on countless 10ks, a number of half marathons, two full marathons and a few mud runs for good measure, shed 3.5 stone and even qualified as a personal trainer. I've met so many awesome people, each with their own stories and reasons for running, and I am so honoured to have been invited to join the Leader team, completing the LiRF course at the end of September 2017.

My advice to anyone who thinks that they can't do it is, yes you can! You don't have to be speedy or super-fit; the hardest part is starting in the first place, and you'll be warmly welcomed, supported and encouraged throughout your journey, regardless of its length and distance. Running has quite literally changed my life and I can't wait to see what the future brings for us all!

Want to become a run leader?

Become a qualified run leader by taking the Leadership in Fitness and Running Course from England Athletics Find out more