Think You Can’t Run?

Shauna Hardaker

I have never been very sporty, it just wasn’t something that interested me when I was younger, and since leaving school I was doing barely anything in terms of exercise. My friend had kept saying I should try running but I was never that keen on it, I always thought, ‘I can’t run’. After a while though, I gave in and decided I’d give it a go. It was hard at first, I struggled with my breathing and there was a lot of walking in between the running, but afterwards I felt such a sense of accomplishment that it felt worth it.


I kept running about once to twice a week throughout February and before I knew it Sunday 8th March had arrived, the day of the Harewood 10km I had decided to enter (I realise now this was quite ambitious for my first race). It was a tough run, there were a lot of hills (my worst nightmare) which I walked up, but I managed to finish in less than 85 minutes. I was totally thrilled when I had finished, and found that I had actually enjoyed it…except the hills.


Shortly after this, I found out about a local running club, Farsley Flyers. I was hesitant to join at first, as I didn’t know what to expect, but I went along – and definitely did not regret it. They cater for all abilities, from absolute beginners to super-fast experienced runners. As a new, slower novice, I was made to feel very welcome and always encouraged. No one is ever left behind (which is brilliant for gentler runners like me) as the faster paced loop back – this is because Farsley Flyers is about group running. They promote the social aspect of fitness and I have found new friends to have a gossip with each week whilst staying fit. The run leaders that take the weekly sessions are very friendly and helpful; they are always willing to answer any questions you may have about running – which has been brilliant for me and has enabled me to become a runner!


Another positive about being a part of a running group is that you will always find someone else who is taking part in a race or event that you are interested in (something that I don’t believe I could do on my own). Since joining Farsley Flyers I have entered two 5km races (both Race for Life), the Leeds 10km. I have also done a few parkruns (Bradford and Bramley) and completed the York 10 Mile, raising funds for the Jane Tomlinson appeal. I was proud of myself for completing the 10 miles without stopping or walking, a great achievement for me considering where I started. I felt as though this was only possible due to the support I have had from everyone at Farsley Flyers (both leaders and other members), their endless belief has given me the confidence I could run these distances.


I guess you could say I now have the ‘running bug’ and I will say that (most of the time) I do thoroughly enjoy it. However, I can’t say that I always find it easy, and the hills are still my worst enemy, but I am working on that.  I found that when I was unable to run for a couple of weeks I really did miss it and had withdrawal symptoms – at the beginning of the year I never thought I would have said that.


So to anyone who is thinking of running but is being put off by the thought that you ‘can’t run’, I would say pull on your trainers and give it a go. Push through your ‘running nightmares’, the times when your struggling to breathe or feeling like you really can’t go any further, and I promise you, you will get that sense of achievement and it will all be worth it.



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