Women's Sport Week - from non-runner to LiRF leader

We're supporting Women's Sport Week 2018! #WSW2018.

Jan started running on New Year's day 2016. She ran on her own for the first four months and built up slowly with support and advice from running husband Andrew, plus voraciously reading everything she could get her hands on! Her first 5k on Mayday that year led to her joining the Histon and Impington runners and last September she ran her first half marathon. She now leads a Couch to 5k group at the college where she works, and she and Andrew have entered the Grimreaper Ultramarathon as a team of two this August.

This is Jan's story.

On New Years day 2016, Jan Carver made a resolution; "I was almost 48, the weight had crept on, my energy levels were low and I had become unfit." Her first runs were hard, "My lungs felt like they would burst, but I persevered." On Mayday 2016 Jan ran her first race - a 5k at the Impington Running festival. "It was a life changing event because I met the Histon and Impington Runners for the first time."

"My husband was already a member and had been trying to persuade me to join but I was too nervous and didn’t think I was a ‘real runner’. At the end of the 5 K lots of the HI runners cheered me on and invited me to join them at their Wednesday training sessions. I was nervous but I went along and loved it. The sessions were challenging but everyone was so supportive and friendly and Wednesday evening training became a non-negotiable fixture on my calendar."

With the encouragement of her family and her running club family she continued to increase her distances and in September 2017 ran the Bedford half marathon to raise funds for an electric wheelchair for an ex-student of Impington Village College where she works.

The following month she was invited to lead on a Couch to 5k programme for staff at the College as part of its well-being programme. Jan explains, "Together with other Histon and Impington Runners I attended a LIRF course which gave me the confidence to start the group at school. I was delighted to be able to pass on my love of running to others and two of our regular attendees have now joined HI Runners. In September 2018 we will be starting a running course at IVC for students as part of a new enrichment programme."

Histon and Impington Runners has recently gained its England Athletics affiliation and are hosting some very popular beginner sessions. These sessions are being led by coach Neil Marsh with support from the LiRF qualified run leaders.

This year my husband Andrew and I have both turned 50 and celebrate our 25th Wedding anniversary. We have decided to do a joint challenge and have entered the Grimreaper Ultramarathon as a team of two. We will be running 100 miles as a relay - I plan to run 40 miles while he will run 60 or 70 (we may run the final lap together). And my son who is training to be a Physical Trainer comes to the gym with me quite often - advising me and encouraging me - and is very supportive of my fitness journey.

Jan concludes, "Running has brought so much joy to my life. I am fitter, have improved mental health and have made a wonderful network of new friends. I have loved giving back to the running community by supporting new runners and seeing how sport can truly transform lives."

Photos: Top: Jan in the centre with two of her IVC group at their first 5k.
Above: Jan after the Flaming June Half marathon

Inspired by Jan's story?