Shirley shares her success story

Four years ago I lost my lovely Mom and at that point I decided to get fit. I joined a gym and started the Couch to 5k on my own, road running, running in the forest and on the treadmill. The plan was to do the new parkrun as my graduation run. I completed it in 36:30 and made a silent promise to myself that one day I would do it in 26:30. How naïve can you get!

I kept plodding round every week getting my time down to under 30 minutes but there it stayed. I decided to join the local club who started up parkrun and gave it massive support. I also got to know Andie and Jo from Runwell. I had only run one race when I found myself struggling to run and found I had achilles tendonitis. Several weeks off and lots of exercises later I was ready to return.

Lots of my lovely running friends were doing Runwell running plans for 10k and half and full marathons so I decided I needed one to get back to 5k.  Andie did me a fantastic plan with a target race of a 5k trail run. I kept to the plan and had support from Andie. I completed it in my target time of 30 minutes with Andie cheering me over the line despite her being really poorly.


I continued to run parkrun and although I had achieved my target at another flat parkrun I still chased the elusive time at Wyre Forest. I could also beat it when running with my lovely lurcher Tia pulling me around but that didn’t count.

I was only ever going to run 5k and possibly 10k so decided I would like to do a trail half marathon. (Running in the forest is my happy place and Tia loves it too.) Run plan please Andie!  I trained and ran with my lovely running friend Fiona and at mile 9 we looked at each other and agreed “we have got this” We finished together with a sprint finish and big smiles on our faces. We trusted the plan and it worked brilliantly.

The plan then was to run Cardiff half marathon. I wasn’t sure about a long road run but Andie duly supplied a new plan for us both. Lots of my friends were training and our Forest runs on a Sunday were the highlight of my week doing our long slow chatty runs with our dogs. The week before Cardiff the plan said: ”parkrun Go for It but not 100%, save that for next week”.  I felt good and ready for Cardiff, I had followed the plan and trusted it so I went for it. I crossed the line in 26:00 (over 2 minutes off my pb) and couldn’t believe it! It only took four years. I then took 18 minutes off my half marathon time in Cardiff and followed that with 2 minutes off my 10k pb at Bridgnorth.


Do the Runwell plans work? They do and brilliantly. What next? Newport marathon in April next year after my big birthday. Let the plan begin.