Running is my therapy by Jane Marland

I joined the Ealing Eagles Beginners programme in October 2016, having tried and failed many times to become a runner by myself. Right from the first session it was clear where I’d been going wrong. My strategy had always been to run fast for as long as I could manage (about 10 minutes), which would leave me half dead and wondering why I couldn’t go any further! The Beginners programme builds up gradually with short, slow sections of running interspersed with one minute walking breaks. It hadn’t even occurred to me to take a walking break, so this really was a lightbulb moment. The run leaders and volunteers were unfailingly encouraging and patient, and eight weeks later, after gradually building up the running distances, I was able to run 5k continuously. From that moment on I was hooked!

17553454_10211158667015110_2790583079681067081_n.jpg

In the New Year, I officially joined the Eagles and signed up for the Improvers programme (designed for beginner graduates to progress from 5k to 10k). By the spring I could run 10k and took part in my first 10k race at Osterley Park in June. It was one of the hottest days of the year (30 degrees) and I wilted badly in the heat, but I was determined to get that finishers medal and just kept running. The sense of achievement when I crossed the finish line was amazing!

19225223_10155367123393953_297962027936256628_n.jpg

 

As well as the physical benefits (disappearance of headaches, toned legs, new found waist!) I’ve also found running to be massively beneficial to my mental health. My younger son has autism plus he’s a teenager, so life can be challenging at times. This is where running has really helped me. Running is my therapy - it calms me down and allows me to think clearly. Problems that can seem overwhelming never seem quite so bad after a run. That’s why I’m out there three times a week without fail, pounding the parks and pavements of Ealing. Sometimes I run by myself, sometimes I run with the wonderful friends I’ve made through the Eagles, but one thing never changes - I always feel better afterwards.

I’ll be forever grateful to the volunteers from the Beginners programme for teaching me to run properly. I’m now a regular volunteer myself and get so much pleasure from seeing the progress people have made. I’ll never be especially fast and I’m not interested in running enormous long distances, but that’s fine, I’m just happy that I can run at my own pace and enjoy it. Thank you Ealing Eagles.

This club has helped to extend my life...by Eddie Eagle

59 years. Nearly 59 years it has taken me to successfully run a continuous 5k. I graduated from the Ealing Eagles Beginners Running Club last Thursday, Nov 16th, 2017 as part of the October intake.

I had CHD repair via open-heart surgery in 1966 and again I needed open-heart surgery in 2013. Running for me is not easy, especially as I am on Beta Blockers and have a diminished cardiac output but with the help of the Eagles and my fellow beginners I was able to fulfil a dream.

I now raise the bar to 10k. I may fail but I will never fail in trying for one never knows what is achievable until one tries. When it comes to running though, there is no such thing as failure,you either run or you don't.

No matter where you run, no matter what distance you run, no matter what pace you run at, it is still a run.

I have applied for membership and I will be the club's proudest member. This club has helped to extend my life. Thank you.

Eagles-5K (2).JPG

You Never Know, You Might Enjoy It! By Caroline Wilkinson

When I signed up for the Ealing Eagles beginners programme it was a very spur of the moment thing. I hadn’t told anyone I was going to do it and had never before thought that running was for me. It hadn’t mattered that some of my friends had professed what a wonderful club Ealing Eagles was, I had never thought of myself as a ‘runner’. When signing up I thought that I would be waiting weeks, if not months so it was a surprise when I got an email from Wei Hei, who oversees the beginners programme, not long after, in February 2016 to say that I would be starting in a couple of weeks!   

I think my husband was just as shocked as I was when I said that I was going to start running. I hadn’t been doing any exercise at all so was nervous going to the first session. I didn’t know anyone and worried that everyone else would be much fitter and faster than me but there was no need to worry, you start by running for 2 minutes and walking 1. The coaches are all volunteers and are extremely encouraging and supportive. I’ve also made lots of friends and together we graduated from the beginners group 6 weeks later as we were able to run 5k continuously.

We then went on to run the Ealing Eagles 10k on the 8th May which was extremely hot but good fun! Aside from the running there’s the social side of the club which is summed up by the fact that we are known as ‘a drinking club with a running problem’. 

For anyone thinking of signing up to the beginners, I’d say stop thinking about it and just do it, you never know, you might even enjoy it! 

Caroline Wilkinson - February Beginner & Ealing Eagle

 

A Beginner's Tale by Anne Stott

Get off the sofa, go outside where it’s just above freezing, wear very little clothing and run / walk around Ealing for 4km

Had someone said that to me 5 months ago, I would have laughed, very politely. 

Fast forward to May 2016. I now absolutely love my 2 to 3 runs per week. OK, I don’t have great aspirations, and am happy to stick to slow 5ks, but it’s a heck of a lot more than I was doing.  And, what gave me the encouragement and inspired me to think I could actually do it? The Ealing Eagles Beginners Programme.  
 
It was a quirky little piece posted on one of the local Facebook forums by Wei Hei Kipling that caught my attention. It was reassuring, full of optimism and it got me thinking: “could I really run 5km, a whole 5km?” So I signed up. 

 Completing Gunnersbury parkrun

Completing Gunnersbury parkrun

Wednesday 6th January 2016, 1830 and we were off, and so it went on for the next 6 weeks starting gently and building up.  Each week, I could run just that bit further and guess what? I could run and chat at the same time, I didn’t have to run fast or get out of my comfort zone. People encouraged me, made me laugh along the way, and had faith in my abilities, even if I didn’t have them myself. I met new friends, both beginners and Ealing Eagles volunteers. The tail runners got to know me well!

 Getting my Beginners Programme certificate

Getting my Beginners Programme certificate

I have since volunteered at the Ealing Eagles 10k and the atmosphere and camaraderie is astounding. I am a convert to running, and as one lady said to me at the end of a run; “you probably won’t be thanking yourself for doing this now, but you will be later in life”.
 
Anne - Ex Couch Potato and proud Ealing Eagle