Running through Covid, Sole Sisters and a Marathon!

Rachel Atherton

How I started running

 In April 2018 some of my friends had booked onto the Leeds girls can couch to 5k at Potternewton park. I was not confident in attending so I hid behind the tree and watched them!

I had suffered from anxiety and was just trying to pick myself up, but I knew I needed to change my lifestyle and mind set. I have three boys and I want them to know how fitness can help physical and mental well-being so I decided to get involved.

I enjoy the high after a run but I still struggle to get out the door. Doesn’t everyone? But that feeling after and the sense of achievement is the best thing ever!  


Impact of Covid

 Covid has obviously affected a lot of thing but it’s actually helped me more with my running motivation. It helped me with setting goals, big or small.

My goals were the marathon, red January, aiming to reach 1000km of running last year – all of which I achieved. 

I helped to set up the Sole Sisters running group after the Couch to 5K and this has really helped with spurring each other on and setting up small goals or running targets.

I felt a sense of relief when the Yorkshire marathon was cancelled as I hate the start of races. I have so much nervous energy and excitement. Although I was also disappointed because I wanted to run a marathon before I was 50. I am currently 46 so running a marathon was a fabulous achievement for me. 

My friend Abbie and I wanted a focus throughout the Covid months, and we both wanted to run a marathon so just decided to follow a 12 week training plan. We enjoyed the training and running our own marathon on the day but we were so relieved it was over.

The Sole sisters came out and supported us. They were on route with snacks and drinks, and we had Ellie Coleman and Molly Welsh running with us at the end. We also raised money for sunshine and smilez! Raising nearly £900. 


How running has helped with this life change and future plans

 Running had definitely helped my mental health during this last year. It’s been my me time to process the day and what the next will bring. It’s also helped improve my physical fitness (50 is approaching) ! 

In the future I plan to continue running with the Sole Sisters, and aim to get more women on board to run with us. I may also look to sign up for a run leader! 

I had signed up for the Leeds half again last year who knows when that will happen.  We did organise our own half last year where we all set off at different times so maybe I will do that again.

My biggest plan is to  just plan to keep running 🏃‍♀️ 



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