Making a run for it

Roger Laidlow, kneeling front, with some of his running group celebrating passing the course
Roger Laidlow, kneeling front, with some of his running group celebrating passing the course

WE’VE all done it. Decided we’re definitely going to get fit by jogging every night.

Bought the trainers, the tracksuit, got the iPod loaded with suitably energetic tracks.

Setting off at a fast pace so we don’t show ourselves up in front of the neighbours - then 20 minutes later returning, gasping for breath and limping, vowing never to bother again.

Roger Laidlow knows all about the false starts people make when they decide to take up running.

Which is why he’s set up Run For It, a range of running courses designed for everyone from complete beginners to those looking for a tougher challenge.

He said: “People often go about running the wrong way. They set off too fast and get home gasping for breath and are put off straightaway.”

“It’s all about learning to pace yourself. With my beginners’ courses we start off by jogging for 30 seconds and then walking for two minutes and then gradually increase it to a minute’s jogging and then two minutes walking.”

“As they build up stamina they start to get bored with the walking and want to do more running, and after eight weeks they can run for half an hour without stopping.”

Roger, 39, of Gateford, stressed that the club is not about how far or how fast someone can run, just about achieving that half hour.

“If someone wants to carry on with their running after the beginners’ course, then we can start building on that. But if someone can run for half an hour and do that several times a week, their fitness is going to really improve.”

“It’s about running for health and happiness rather than competing.”

Roger has a UK Athletics coaching licence and set up the running business after taking voluntary redundancy from the prison service.

He said: “I’d started doing some running sessions for family and friends and then the offer of redundancy came up so I decided to take it.”

“I’ve been amazed at how well it’s going. I’ve had 68 people pass the beginners’ course already and I have 100 people on my database.”

Roger is also launching a walking programme and a mums on the run group, and is also looking at setting up daytime courses in Dinnington.

“The walking group is for people who want to start exercising and perhaps don’t feel ready for running yet, and mums on the run is a daytime group, which will fit round school hours.”

Mark and Emma Cornell, who live near Barnsley, joined the beginners’ course in February - and are now signed up for the Worksop Half Marathon next month.

Mark, 35, said: “I used to play football but hadn’t done any physical exercise for nine years before signing up for this course, and Emma hadn’t done any running before.”

“At the end of eight weeks we could both run for half an hour and we decided to carry on.”

The couple are now part of the Trail Junkies group and have run ten miles comfortably.

Mark said they both felt fitter and healthier and had lost weight.

He said: “When we started I never thought that we would be doing a half marathon by the end of the year.”

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