With a few 10Ks under her belt and plans for more in the future, there’s no question that Kathy Rogers is now a runner.
Yet she still seems surprised by that fact herself, this woman who summed up her attitude to sport pre-TMR in the simple phrase ‘‘eughhh exercise’’. Thus it was with a mix of pride and disbelief that she told me on the phone how she has now been known to head out for a solo 10K run on a Friday night. When, she wondered, did she become one of those people who exercise, by choice, on a weekend?!
In fact, her surprise at her running success is more understandable when you’re aware of her journey up to this point with TMR. Kathy’s path into running has not been easy, and where she is now is a testament to her determination in the face of the many hurdles the world sent her way.
First there came the shin splints, which ultimately forced her to stop running in 2014 and to drop out of the original Couch to 5K course the following January. Things continued to go wrong for Kathy in 2015 and a combination of injuries and personal issues led to 8 months when she didn’t have the headspace or time to be running. Eventually, determined to get back into running she enrolled on the Tyntesfield couch to 10K course in September 2015. This went well until week 4, when injuries once again forced her to drop out. These complications were followed by illness, which eventually developed into pneumonia and left her bed-bound for the majority of autumn. Running was once again strictly out of the question.
However, Kathy wasn’t ready to give up (not that Mel would ever let her!). Jump forward to January this year and she was back, once again on the Tynesfield couch to 10K course, a last attempt on her behalf to prove that she could actually run. She jokes about the tough love shown by her Run Maker Gemma Davis that helped push her outside her comfort zone and improve with each week until suddenly there were no weeks left. 3 courses and 18 months later, Kathy ran the Tyntesfield 10K! An achievement made all the sweeter for Kathy by having her friend and fellow TMR Mama Rachael James running by her side.
Following her course she joined the social and then the training runs. She has gone from strength to strength with the support and encouragement of the TMR community, which she describes as somewhere where women “build each other up” rather than being in competition. And she has also decided to give back to this community that has helped her so much, through training as a Run Angel and pledging to lead community runs.
Kathy’s now surpassed her original goal – to be able to run a 10K without totally stressing out about it – and has set her sights on getting faster at 10K and getting involved with more races. Inspired by her brothers efforts running the London marathon for charity this year, Kathy herself managed to raise £450 for St Peter’s Hospice through running the Bristol 10K. She recently even managed to get her husband in on the running hype, completing the Two Tunnels race with him earlier this year.
Despite her modest amusement at being called inspirational, there’s no denying that’s what her story is. Ending the phone call with a question about her plans for the future, it’s hard not to feel moved when she tells me (amidst exclamations of “and I can’t quite believe I’m saying this”) that this Autumn she’s booked a family day out running at the Dyrham Park Family fun runs. Not only has she overcome barriers to be able to run personally, but her children seem to be following suit. She tells me proudly that her 5 year old son completed his first race, running one mile for sport relief, and that her daughter tries to join in with her warm ups in the hallway before she heads out.
So if this isn’t a story that proves you should never give up, we don’t know what is.
Look out for updates and videos from Kathy on our Facebook page in the next few weeks.