South Leeds Girls Can Run… FURTHER!

Dani Penney

Dear diary 2… (check my first musing HERE )


So it’s now week eight and our total has hit an astonishing forty six members. The phrase “bring a buddy” couldn’t be more literal. We’ve had the Easter break where the weather took a turn for the worst. We’d managed to get away with it prior to that week (because Leeds is always sunny as we know), so the fact I was not there to lead the session AND the weather barrier was sure to put people off?… AS IF! Our South Leeds ladies united to form an army of determined faces. Thirteen women attended the session to complete a timed mile through mud and torrential rain. Fantastic! The help from a couple of the South Leeds Sisters, who kindly volunteered to lead the session in my absence, was greatly appreciated as the ladies nailed another session.


My amazement continued to grow as twenty two women (including three new members) turned up to the first session back after the break. If there’s one thing certain, it’s that there’s no stopping our luminous ladies from lighting the streets every week.


Now we have lighter nights we are starting to explore Middleton Park. For anyone who knows this park, you will be able to appreciate the hills are not the kindest on the old quadriceps. Every week I notice myself shouting “feel the burn” as the ladies drop their heads and prepare to tackle the next incline. After introducing my good friend DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) to the group a few weeks back, they now jokingly chat about their level of achiness on Facebook following the Monday sessions. It’s almost like a competition to see who has the worst. For anyone reading this thinking


“why would they knowingly put themselves through that?” my answer would be…no pain no gain!


The ladies reap the rewards of their efforts through feeling fitter, more positive and gaining social benefits from meeting so many new people.


Running is not just an exercise, it’s a healthier way of life.


This week we changed venue to Middleton Park Club House where our ladies relaxed in a warm and inviting room before the session to come. As the sun welcomed our new change of home, we once again did our thing as team #leedsgirlscan. With an average of 20-30 women attending each week (plus the South Leeds Sisters), we have decided we will separate into groups in a few weeks’ time. After warming up we will divide into beginner, steady; intermediate and advanced groups for our ladies to choose from each week.


Even though we are now running around 5k, the group is still very much beginner friendly. We have such a mixture of walkers/joggers/runners and ladies who chose to dip in an out of each throughout the route. We include many stops where breathing techniques are factored in along with fun, challenging tasks to keep it interesting.


I have to remind myself that these are women who at first came to me saying, “I can’t run you know” and “I’m so unfit”, but are now arranging to go on extra runs aside from the class. Every week I receive praise for leading the session and helping women achieve their goals- but really I’d like to thank all the women who turn up every week and give it their all. I beam with pride over the South Leeds Girls Can run. And now, unlike the norm, I really look forward to my Mondays!



Run with the girls of South Leeds


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