You’ll Never Run Alone

Victoria Cusack

“Vic and myself have been a constant support to each other throughout difficult times, and I doubt either of us would have coped as well if it weren’t for our great friendship.”


For many of us, sharing the miles with someone can really make a difference to your run, walk or jog. Longer runs, in horrendous weather conditions, can feel super tough as a solo effort. But with a friend, or group of mates, you can almost see the humour in the sideways sleet and muddy terrain ahead of you. Long lasting friendships can be formed and fortified with hours to chat, laugh, listen and off-load. Or as you grow tired, simply a quiet steady pace, reassured by someone at your side.

Run Leeds got to enjoy the company of firm friends, and Rothwell Harriers, Dawn and Victor for a few miles, to discuss friendship and running. And how both have helped when life has thrown some serious challenges their way.

This is their story… 


Written by Dawn Corlet

I met Vic in early 2018, we both did, and still do, go to Slimming World in Rothwell. Vic put together a walking group for fellow Slimming World members and named it Vic’s walking and nattering group. We walked every Wednesday morning with other friends from Slimming World at 9am. At that time, I only worked afternoons, and Vic was his wife Sarah’s carer, so it fitted it great. We soon became good friends and not long after, we started Parkrun in Rothwell, encouraging others to join too. We soon became hooked on our newly found Saturday morning run. I use the word run very loosely, it was more of a shuffle and walk initially, but we soon started to improve. We made lots of new friends who were all likeminded, enjoying a bit of exercise and a time to socialize, especially afterwards in the Pavilion Cafe while we sorted out the Parkrun tokens in readiness for next week’s Parkrun. This was also the time that we eagerly awaited the results of our hard work, waiting in anticipation to see if we had improved at all and got a well-earned PB!

We got to know quite a few people from the local running club, Rothwell Harriers, who came regularly to the Parkrun. I knew of the club, as over the years I had seen these super fit athletes running speedily around the village and honestly thought to myself, why would anyone want to run…  what could you possibly get out of it?! They often asked us to join the club, but we declined every time, we definitely weren’t running club material!

Fast forward to November 2019 and there we were, at Rothwell Harriers Running club, joining their Wednesday night social run! We had finally given in, and found ourselves stood in the club house alongside all these proper runners, waiting to be taken out into the cold, dark, damp night with our run leader Carol.  Running in the dark was completely new to us, as well as trying to keep up with the group. But we loved it, and signed up, and here we are, four years later… both of us run leaders and taking out our own A+ group out every Wednesday night.

Joining Rothwell Harriers has been the best decision we have ever made. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging, and we certainly don’t feel inadequate or out of place just because we aren’t as fast as most members. It really is the best running club!

Our friendship goes well beyond running, Vic’s wife Sarah had an awful illness, and sadly passed away in June 2022. My husband Don also became ill in 2020, and I became his carer, sadly he passed away recently, in September 2023. Vic and myself have been a constant support to each other throughout these difficult times, and I doubt either of us would have coped as well if it weren’t for our great friendship.

Me and Vic have given each other lots of support over the years, emotionally and in a running capacity. We’re not under any illusion that we’re suddenly going to be breaking any world records, but we strive to be better than we were yesterday.  This year, even though it’s been a very tough time emotionally for both of us, we have really achieved a lot, and it has been a year of ‘’firsts, running wise.  We trained all winter to run the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon, which we conquered in May! We took part in Endure 24 in June; I ran 65 miles and Vic ran 50 miles. We have also completed three Hardmoors 10ish km races and three Hardmoors Night events. These were all amazing and we have decided that these are the type of races that we really enjoy. We have also signed up to the PECO cross country races, which we swore blind that we would never do.  Similar to when we said that we would never run a marathon… yet here we are! We are also doing a Punk Panther 20-mile race called Wharfedale Skyline on the 18th of November. And just last week we did the Yorkshire Three Peaks in awful conditions, but we were well looked after by one of our club captains from our Rothwell Harriers. We have done lots of other races throughout the year too, but these are our highlights.

Since 2019 we have run three Half Marathons for Ataxia UK, a charity that we got involved with, as my husband was diagnosed with this before he became really ill with MELAS in 2020. We have raised thousands of pounds for the charity. We also ran Manchester 13.2 in 2019 with Michelle and Mark, The Great North Run 2022 with Amanda and Kev, and London Landmarks Half Marathon 2023 with Amanda.

Running has given us a great escapism over the past few years, especially from our daily roles as carers. Putting on our trainers and getting out into the fresh air, running, has been the best therapy we could have wished for, and it’s free. Putting great friendships into the mix too, is just the tonic that we have needed to keep us going through the hard times. 

Dawn Corlet & Vic Cholules

Thank you so much for sharing your story with Run Leeds. Not only are we seriously impressed by just how many race events you’ve both racked up over the last couple of years. But we also feel massively privileged to be given such an insight into how such an amazing friendship, and Run Club can be such an integral support network. You both do so much for the Rothwell run community and Rothwell Parkrun.

Dawn and Vic – a total inspiration to anyone who thinks they don’t have what it takes to be a runner!