I’m Bethan, 39 and an accounts manager within my husband’s business. I left my full time job in March 2018 to enable me to help my husband grow his business and of course it means I now have the flexibility to do school runs and after school activities with Dexter my 10 year old son.
I discovered TMR at the point where I wasn’t going to do any more long races as I was fed up of training alone. I saw pictures on FB of the TMR launch in Cardiff on Cardiff Mummy Says page. I was disappointed to have missed it and joined the group. It was 17 March (an early Sunday morning) when I plucked up the courage to join the group for my first run.
As I walked nearer to the meeting point my nerves were in pieces; I need not have worried. One of the angels approached me and started chatting and the rest is history as they say. After running for a few months with the group every Sunday I saw Cathryn’s message about the angel training and thought why not! After finding my running confidence again I’ve entered several races including the Cardiff Half Marathon, Cardiff Trail Half Marathon and most recently the Vale of Glamorgan Coastal 18.5 mile Trail run!!
The Summer holidays have been challenging, trying to keep a 10 year old entertained and fitting in working from home. Work meetings have been in the evenings which is definitely not ideal but the only way around things in the long holidays.
In September I am going back to college part time for another year of Accountancy. It really does feel like I’m going back in school. I passed my 1st year so I must be doing something right, I’m looking forward to it but at the same time I’m anxious about juggling school/work/college and life in general.
It’s the little things that get me through it though – like my son saying well done when I pass an exam, my TMR runs to get the headspace I need and of course my Friday night glass of wine (or 2)!
Last year I went out running on the morning of my exams so that I wouldn’t be thinking too much about them – I’ll be doing that this year too.
Run Angel Amy contacted us at the beginning of the year to enquire about setting up a social run in Nailsea. We were thrilled to have her on board, but what we didn’t realise at the time was how bit the appetite for headspace in the area would be. Flash forward to June, and 45 women showed up to her first run.
Here’s Amy’s story of carving time out for herself, and helping other women to do the same:
“I’m Amy, married to Alex and we have two children: Tom aged 4 and Maggie aged 2. We moved from South Bristol to Nailsea in March 2018 which has been a big adjustment but a great decision for us all. Alex works full time in Bristol and I stopped work last October to focus on the children, my son really struggled with the move and changes in nursery and we were only just covering childcare costs so we decided to give me not working a go. It’s really helped us work better as a unit and the children to settle in their new area. Tom finally settled at a local pre-school and has made some strong connections and my daughter is with me full time. I’ve always worked and never considered not working post kids so it’s been a big adjustment for me. It’s hard work and can be very lonely and isolating, especially in a new area where I didn’t know anyone initially.
“My next door neighbour in Bristol (aka best friend /confidante and I miss her loads), decided to start running in 2018. Having never run before, she joined the Grenville Smyth 0 to 30 minute run course and has never looked back now running around 3 times a week. It was fantastic to watch the confidence it gave her, not just in running but in all areas. How she gained headspace from her children and everyday life and has new found courage to try more things and put herself out there.
“I was so unprepared for the effects of pregnancy and parenthood on my mental health (is anybody?!). I’ve always struggled with my hormones but, now on reflection, I can see that my hormones, anxiety and stress reached a whole new level and I didn’t know how to manage it. I felt the ‘Mum Guilt’ big time and found it very hard to admit how much I was struggling. I ran 10ks and a half marathon before children but I always trained for an event, never for fun, headspace or relaxation. I put pressure on myself to hit a target in a short space of time which was never enjoyable and resulted in sporadic exercise and a view that exercise is always hard. This pattern continued between my first and second child.
“Fast forward a couple of years and we’ve moved to Nailsea, away from my support network of friends and I’ve quit work. I’m struggling to adjust to the constant company of the under 5s (either being ignored or trying to remain calm with screaming /shouting /repetition), dreading the new playgroups and craving some time with like minded adults and time alone. So, I decide to start running again. I contact the local running club but they only offer a 7pm start smack bang in the middle of bedtime so this isn’t an option and I can’t find any other running groups. Then I remember This Mum Runs. Perfect. Running, exercise and a way to meet other Mums in the local area. I contact Jo Lee who was so encouraging and explained how easy it would be to set up TMR Nailsea. I hadn’t run since having Maggie so I wanted to be able to run 5k comfortably before, but this time I had a new motivation for running :headspace. The difference this made for me was incredible. I enjoyed running! I looked forward to running. A whole new experience.
“We launched TMR Nailsea on the 5th June and 45 women turned up for the first run! 45! It’s brought together Mum’s across Nailsea. A mix of some that know each other already, some strangers, Mum’s that have always ran, recently ran, sporadically ran (like me) and given them a welcoming, inclusive and social environment to get back into exercise / exercise in.
“Personally, I’m not great at prioritising myself and getting time that’s just about me, launching TMR Nailsea has given me that much needed time and headspace guilt free and the difference in my mental health is incredible already. I’m more rational, more able to cope, less isolated and feel part of a community (locally and world wide). I can feel my confidence returning and on top of that, the best bit of all, is that we are helping all these amazing women to feel the same. I’ve never joined and been part of a group so encouraging and inclusive, it’s always supportive, always. It’s helped me to feel like me again.
“If you are considering joining TMR, go for it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. You won’t regret it, all that will happen is that you’ll meet amazing, lovely local Mummy’s who will have stories similar to yours that will make you feel normal and included. You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain. Go for it. Join the revolution. “
It’s race time for a lot of mamas in the TMR community and for many of us it will be our first race or first race at a particular distance.
Eeeeeeeeek! Nerves, excitement and feelings of ‘can I do it?’ are all pretty familiar to anyone racing for the first time. Our lovely community member Cat is prepping for the Bristol half marathon on September the 15th. She will be surrounded by a sea of TMR love; Bristol HM is a popular event in our community and sight of TMR tops flying along the portway is such a motivator! We hope Cat’s story will help many of us get over our ‘first race nerves’ so that we can have a positive and uplifting race experience.
‘So, I am Cat. I’m a full time mum/carer to my autistic 12yr old son and 20 month old daughter. I also suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and my main symptoms include constant pain, stiff joints and random numbness in hands/arms and feet/legs.
I love everything about running. During – gives me a buzz from the physical exercise and also often seeing people sat in cars and feeling so free! After – the buzz of the adrenaline rush and endorphins produced by the run.
I found TMR after a friend told me that there was a Facebook group that you could arrange to meet up with to go for a run with other mums. I love so much about TMR. The support, the togetherness of the Facebook page. The amazing women who give up their own time to help other women get out on social runs. The social runs. The seeing other people in the TMR tops and shouting out to them and getting big smiles from a distance.
I am training especially for Bristol Half Marathon in September and I’m really hoping I can get in done in just under 2 hours. I am also doing Severn Bridge Half Marathon and Two Tunnels 10k both of which are in August.
My main inspiration for entertaining Bristol half was Bristol 10k and how much I loved that. But also that I am trying to raise a little bit of money for Bristol children’s hospital so thought running both the 10k and the half would be a good way to do it.
My preparations have been to continue on as I have for a while. I run 20-30miles a week with a mixture of 5k runs and 10+k runs. I do group and solo runs and try to run in different places if I can.
My top tip would be to build up to the distance slowly but surely, mix in some hills and some flat. Don’t panic just slow and steady. It took be about 6 months to build from 10k to the full 13.1 miles so don’t be scared to take time.’
Cat, you are an absolute inspiration, we can’t wait to see you at the Half Marathon on the 15th September.
As part of our series on Maternal Mental Health Awareness, we’re sharing five incredible stories from Mums in our community, who have battled with perinatal mental health issues. Each of these amazing ladies has bravely agreed to make their story known, in the hope that it might encourage someone suffering the same symptoms to speak up, seek help, or even just get the headspace that they need to process how they feel and what’s going on.
Sara Knowles is one our Cardiff Run Angels, with an incredible story. Here’s how she tells it.
In March, This Mum Runs launches in Cardiff with plans to offering free social runs from various locations across the city.
Hiring Cathryn Scott as the Community Leader for Cardiff is such an exciting milestone for us and she will be spearheading our city wide expansion plans.
Here’s a chance to get to know Cathryn – how she discovered her love of running by accident when she was 15 and her dreams of building a huge TMR community of running Mums in the Welsh capital.
Hello! I’m a Mum of three children age 9, 7 and 4, was born and raised in Barry and have lived in Cardiff for 17 years. I’ve worked as a parenting blogger, freelance journalist and PR – and am a qualified yoga teacher!
I was 15 when I discovered quite by accident that I can run. I wasn’t a sporty child at all – always the last to be picked in team games and I mostly hated PE at school. However when my class were asked to take to the running track for an 800m race during a term of athletics lessons, no one was more surprised than me when I beat the rest of my classmates by a full lap.
That was the start of my love affair with running and I ran off and on throughout the rest of my teenage years and 20s. It all stopped when I wanted to start a family, though, and it would be 12 years later before I’d even think about putting on my running shoes.
In December 2017 I nervously started running again, with the goal of being able to run 10K by my 40th birthday in June 2018. On the first attempt, I managed seven minutes on the treadmill but was a red hot sweaty mess, barely able breathe – and I nearly jacked in the whole idea there and then!
However I persevered and slowly began to see progress. I reached my 10K goal (and have got two sparkly medals to prove it) – and, after being persuaded by friends, took part in my first half marathon, the Cardiff Half, in October 2018. I loved it so much I’m doing it again this year as well as a few other events along the way too. I also am a regular at Cardiff Parkrun as well as Junior Parkrun with my kids children, which I absolutely love.
I am absolutely thrilled to be part of the team bringing This Mum Runs to Cardiff. TMR is just THE most incredible community supporting Mums to make a bit of time for themselves through running- I’ve watched it grow from afar and was so excited to hear the plans to expand into Cardiff that I jumped at the chance to apply for this role!
In the first week in my new role, I’ve already been busy planning our Cardiff “Launch Run” on Sunday 3 March as well as setting up our first weekly Cardiff runs, and some other exciting social events which we’ll share details of soon. I’ll be sharing all the details in the This Mum Runs Cardiff Facebook community here
As a busy, working mum, running gives me the much needed headspace and mental clarity I’ve realised I need to function. It’s also helped me to learn to love my post-baby body again, helping me realise just how strong she am and how much I can achieve when I put my mind to it. I just can’t wait to share all of this, and more, with the Mums of Cardiff through This Mum Runs. I hope you’ll come and join me!
This Mum Runs is a people-powered community-first organisation that empowers Mums everywhere to be healthier and happier. Through a network of volunteer Run Angels we offer free, social runs for Mums every Wednesday and Sunday across London, Bristol and Bath – with Cardiff and Brighton launching soon (and more to follow throughout 2019). To keep up to date with our plans – and for plenty of inspiration too – sign up for our weekly email here.
A huge thank you @Facebook – who’s support and funding through the Facebook Community Leadership Programme has made our expansion into new cities possible.
The first three months of the year are always busy for us at This Mum Runs – with lots of new runners taking their very first steps, others taking tentative steps towards their first events, or more regular runners taking on bigger personal challenges. Throughout February and March we will be featuring stories of TMR runners of ALL experience levels; we hope you find them as inspiring as we do.
Meet Sandra (half marathon first-timer) and her daughter Sarah (marathon first-timer).
Hello, Im Sandra and I’m 57. Last week I completed my first ever half marathon, which I was lucky enough to run with my daughter Sarah, and my TMR friends. Here is my story.
I signed up for a beginners running program shortly after my 50th birthday. I’d never run before – in fact I HATED PE at school. But I felt like it would be a new challenge, that would help me feel fitter and lose some unwanted weight.
After this a hip problem stopped me running for a few years, but through my daughter I found This Mum Runs. With them, I run for my health but most of all I run for the social aspect and I’ve truly made some great friends. I look forward to seeing them every week and we really keep each other going.
Before this Sunday, I’d run two park runs and three 10ks. Anything more had seemed totally out of reach. But I set myself a goal of completing a half marathon before I was 60 – and when I crossed the finish line of the Llanelli Half, I’d done it three years early – so as you can imagine I am over the moon!
Leading up to the big day, it was almost not going to happen. I’d taken a fall during a training run and fractured my elbow.
After 8 weeks of recovery, my confidence was feeling pretty knocked; but with the support and encouragement from my TMR friends, I got back to it. I started again with 30 min social runs, then 45mins runs with everyone’s support – and particularly the support of my new friend Gina who I’d met through This Mum Runs.
4 miles became 6 then 8 then a 10 a long run with Sarah too and an 11 miler. Honestly I couldn’t believe it when I finally got to the race start line! I’d set myself the target of completing it in under 3 hours – and I managed to finish in 2:44:03 with a huge smile on my face!
My friend, Gina, who has only run one other half marathon before this, got a PB running it in under 2:30 – I was so pleased for her and am so thankful to everyone for their love and support.
My top tip for anyone training for a race this spring? Stick to your own pace, don;t worry what anyone else is doing and trust your gut. Find some friends to train with, it makes so much difference! Running really is mind over matter and if I can do it anyone can! Also on race day – jelly babies are the perfect pick me up!
A few years ago, my Mum signed up to a beginner running course and at first me and my sister just chuckled – this was just something that never in a million years did we expect Mum to do. She’d always been a walker (as she doesn’t drive) but running….?!
Seeing her so happy and confident, though I wanted a piece of the action too as I did enjoy sport at school and life had just got in the way. So I signed up to the next beginners course as she went up to the Improvers group.
4 years later, I’m a regular runner and This Mum Runs Run Angel – and as cheesy as it sounds, I now run because I absolutely love it! I do some of my weekly runs with a TMR group and some on my own or with a couple of friends. I love the headspace it gives me, I love how it makes me feel, I love what it brings out in me and others.
I really enjoy doing park run, and over the past 4 years have run eleven 10ks and ten half marathons.
I have also been fortunate (!) enough to secure a place in this years London Marathon raising money for AGEuk.
From a young age watching the London Marathon on the TV and always enjoying running, it was something I’d always wanted to be a part of. When I then started running and entering so many half marathons, it was something that only time was in charge of. Ballots 3 years running were no joy so I applied for a charity place – raising funds for a charity that meant something to me and my role with patients at work [as a phlebotomist].
My life has totally changed now – with running firmly fixed in my weekly planner. Ive gone from never having run, to following a Marathon training plan written by Runners World! Most of my training is based on the intermediate plan, but with the easy plan for days when life is busy or I’m just too tired so that I don’t give in. If it feels too much, I just take a step back which is something that has really helped with half marathon training too.
Something new I am trying is two strength sessions per week and a sports massage (which I can promise you, isn’t a treat!) once every 5-6 weeks. What I still need to get to grips with is how to ‘fuel not feed’. Running as much as I now am makes me soooooooo hungry… and I have a bit of thing for cake!
Four years ago I could never have imagined entering the London Marathon – and if I can do it, anyone can. Every bit of advice I’ve ever received has come from others or read in a book so my top tip is to ask lots of questions and read as much as you can bear! Most of all enjoy yourself. Smiling really does make it easier.
Sarah is running the London Marathon 2019 to raise funds for AgeUK. Her Just Giving page is here.
This Mum Runs is a people-powered community-first organisation that empowers Mums everywhere to be healthier and happier. Through a network of volunteer Run Angels we offer free, social runs every Wednesday and Sunday across London, Bristol and Bath – with Cardiff and Brighton launching soon (and more to follow in 2019). To keep up to date with our plans – and for plenty of inspiration too – sign up for our weekly email here.
This Mum Runs has grown to be the incredible community that it is, because of the wonderful women who make up the community. The engine behind the entire TMR machine making our free run programmes possible, is made up of nearly 500 amazing Run Angel volunteers – who are motivated by making a difference to other women’s lives.
Emma trained as a Run Angel in East London in late 2017 and since then has led runs with a huge smile on her face, week in, week out from her local park in Walthamstow – creating a wonderful close knit community of Mums determined to carve out some space for themselves through running. Emma is a Mum of 3 AND a part time teacher – volunteering with TMR is one of the few ways she makes time for herself, whilst also giving something back to her local community.
This Mum Runs has grown to be the incredible community that it is, well..because of the women who make up the community. Without the generosity of time and spirit from our volunteer Run Angels, none of the work we do to bring free social runs to more Mums across the country would be possible.
Jane has been an important member of the London Run Angel team since October 2017 and she embodies everything special about This Mum Runs. She’s kind, funny, committed, generous with her time and support – and not afraid to share some of her own vulnerabilities too. Frankly, everyone needs a Jane in their life!
Here she shares a little bit about her own running journey and what inspired her to get behind the This Mum Runs movement.