Introduction-Denise Fairhurst

Introduction-Denise Fairhurst

Reading everyone’s introductions and stories are really inspiring me,

My first attempt at running was in 3rd Year at high school way back in 1985 when I was stitched up to run the 1500m on sports day because no one else in my form would. I came 3rd. Not bad..though I have no idea how long it took, I actually quite enjoyed it so 4th and 5th Year I volunteered to do it again. 5th Year I happily beat the fastest girl in the school (Her name was Ruth). Finding a new hobby I started going to Wigan Harriers…it didn’t last and I didn’t officially join.

Not long after that I joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service. I hadn’t run for a year or so but knew I had to be able run a mile & half in about 14 minutes. Dad mapped me a route and I ran it regularly. I passed my fitness test and didn’t run again until a few years later when I house shared with a runner. I dabbled again but nothing stuck.

Fast forward to spring 2015 when my brother said he fancied running for fitness…I’d recently lost 4 stone and needed something to keep the weight off and not being a gym bunny I thought I’d give it ago with him. We met for the first run at his house and planned to run around the block estimating about a mile…we set off…I was ok. 5 mins in Ian was walking…I encouraged him round and felt happy I’d managed it…was it a mile…no it was about half a mile…oh well it was a start.

2 weeks later Ian decided it wasn’t for him…I had two choices…stop running or continue on my own. I overcame a massive mental barrier of self confidence or rather lack of it…I mapped a route near where I lived and ran / walked, building up to 5k. I enjoyed the freedom, the achievement of running a full 5k.

I ran solo for nearly a year mapping different routes and building confidence, then I moved to Preston…I didn’t know any areas to run safely initially so it took a few weeks to settle in. Eventually I found a 5k route (I have a feeling it’s part of the mattress hill route that the Friday runners do) but after 4 months I was getting bored and wasn’t getting better or further. I googled running clubs in Preston and up came Red Rose Road Runners. I messaged about joining the next couch to 5k course and was informed since I could already run 5k then just to come and say hello on Thursday at the Poachers.

I overcame the nerves and showed up and the first person I met was Susan Heatley who stood with me until the run began. That first run…what can I say I was right at the back plodding along trying to control my breathing while a girl was talking to me and all I could do was grunt. I felt really guilty that first night as people were running all the way back to me…I didn’t know that that was the ethos of the group. No one gets left behind, and that’s so true. Since joining RRRR I’ve run 4x5k and 4x 10k and signed up to do Manchester half marathon in October this year…eek.

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Thank you RRRR for your friendship, support and encouragement.

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