Start Running – Our Stories

Thinking about coming along to Start Running? Apprehensive? Nervous even? What is it going to be like?

We’ve all been there, and thought it might help to share some of our stories. We are real people, we haven’t changed our names and you can get in touch with any of us if you’d like more details/reassurance – just drop a line to

Suzie’s Story

Hello, my name is Suzie and I started the Beginners’/Return to Running course in September 2014. I remember spotting the ad for the course in BN5 and being really excited, I then looked at the website and thought “Oh god, this is not for me. That lot can all RUN!” Anyway, I registered my interest and turned up for the first session. For me, that was the hardest part. I had images of being made to run around the playing field at the leisure centre while someone criticised my technique. Luckily, it was nothing like that! From the very first session, the Henfield Joggers were really friendly, welcoming and encouraging. During the course, I went from finding it difficult to run for more than 2 minutes to being able to run for 40 minutes without stopping.

When I joined the club, I did it because I really wanted to go and do the off road runs around the village. I kept quiet about this for a long time as I was worried I wasn’t fit or fast enough. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to go along on one of the pub run routes and it was tough, but I loved it! The club has now built run backs into their way of running which means I can go along and run off road with much quicker runners, without the fear of being lost in the dark or  worrying that I am holding the others up.

A year after starting the beginners course, I ran the Brighton 10 miler. I wasn’t fast, but I did it. This year’s challenges start with a half marathon in Cardiff at the end of March (chasing Mo!). Other than that, my plan is to run off-road as much as possible and find a muddy half to do with Viz the super dog later in the year!

If anyone is thinking about doing the beginners/return to running course, I would say “Go for it!”. I am so happy I took that first step and have gained more than I thought I would.

I will be helping with the beginners’ course and look forward to running around Henfield with you all soon (and don’t worry – I’m not one of those runners who makes it look easy!)


Andy’s Story

Hi, my name is Andy, and I’m a jogger. For me, that’s almost as big an admission as the one that’s made at the beginning of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings (or so I’m told, I hasten to add!).

I always had an excuse for not running – ‘I’m not fit enough’, ’I’ve got Asthma, it will make me ill’, ‘I haven’t run since I was at school and that’s more than 30 years ago’, ‘I don’t like running’ – I tried them all.

It turns out that none of these excuses was true – apart from the not running for 30 years, but it turns out that that one didn’t matter.

I was drawn into the Joggers via the social side of the group. Going along to the pub after Suzie had taken part in the monthly club night or walking the dog to a pub run (yes, Viz makes another appearance – although he now insists on taking part in the running), I got to see what a friendly and welcoming group of people the Joggers are.

I signed up for the Beginners’/Return to Running course in September/October 15 and bit by bit started to run. I came armed with my Asthma drugs, but as the weeks went on I found that the more I ran the better I could breathe, and the more I ran the more I enjoyed running.  This was helped greatly by all of the volunteers who came along to run with the beginners and help us get to our goal of running 30 to 40 minutes without stopping.

Soon I was off running by myself and with various of the Joggers’ groups on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There really is something for everyone, however fast or slow and whatever challenge you want to set for yourself or none. There will be someone who’s been there and done it and wants to help and there’s never any pressure to do anything except enjoy your running.

I did my first ‘race’ on New Years’ Day and have signed up for my first half marathon at the end of March, but none of that’s really important. The best thing is that I now get to run in the beautiful countryside that surrounds us, and I get to do that with a great bunch of people. Unlike the people at AA, I’ve no intention of giving up anytime soon!


Lesley’s Story

Hi my name is Les and I moved to the village from Essex in August 2014 and I never intended to become a runner. I was concerned about making new friends and keeping fit. I saw a flyer in the bus stop & thought a beginner’s running course might just be a great way to meet new people & get some exercise.

I worried because I’d missed the first week of the course & wondered if I’d be able to keep up. Kathy allayed my fears and the group set off walk/running round the village chatting all the way. (I probably only chatted in the walk sections being a bit short of breath whilst running.)

You run with the beginners once a week and small groups often arrange to meet up in the interim as you need to do your ‘homework’ before the next week of the course. Three of us newbies did a run/walk along the Downs Link with a coffee break at Stan’s it was a good destination and the cuppa meant a bit of a break before we ‘ran’ back. We visited so often a loyalty card seemed a good idea.
My first club run on a Wednesday evening after finishing the course was nerve racking could I run 5 miles without falling behind and getting lost as I still didn’t know the area well? As I was to experience time and again the Joggers ensured I was kept with the group and motivated me to the end of the run.

It was surprising to find that at age 58 and little experience of running since school, with lots of help & encouragement from the Joggers I wasn’t too bad at this running malarkey. I’ve donned a green club vest & participated in some of the fun runs, run a half marathon in August 2015 and after I swore I was never going to run a marathon, it’s just too far, I somehow ended up doing the Steyning Stinger the weekend after my 60th birthday. Apparently I’m also running in the South Downs Way Relay, shh don’t tell anyone I’m really looking forward to it! Not only have I achieved my primary aim of making a great group of friends and keeping fit. I also know a lot more of the pubs in the area, well it would be rude not to go on the pub runs when you are invited.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or when you last ran, with some effort on your part and the support and encouragement of the Joggers you too can enjoy running …… well most of the time.


Kirsty’s Story

I joined the Henfield Joggers learn to run course in April 2015 at an age well the wrong side of 40!  I have never really done any running in my life since a bit of sprinting at middle school, but instead rode horses up until about 8 years ago.  I decided that with two energetic boys to keep up with and a dog to exercise that maybe I should have a go.  I was very nervous going along to the first session, there were a lot of people there and more to the point people who looked like they knew what they were doing!  However everyone was immediately very welcoming and Cathy and her helpers were very encouraging and made that first session a lot of fun.   Now looking back I can distinctly remember thinking ‘I can’t possibly run for 2 mins’ yet under a year later I can run and keep going for 5 or 6 miles at a time!  By the summer another beginner and I took part in the Round Hill Romp at Steyning – a 6 mile race up and down part of the Downs, on what was the hottest day of the year thus far and we got round cheered in by many other Henfield Joggers at the finish line.    It’s fun, its free, it’s good for you and you get out in the fresh air in our beautiful Sussex countryside – have a go!!


Kerry’s Story

I’ve always said “I’m a walker, not a runner”.
However, when I saw the advert for the Henfield Joggers Beginners Course in my local magazine, something told me to give it a go. After all, I was a couple of months away from my 30th birthday, so I thought it would be good to set myself a challenge of learning to run 5k (non stop) by the end of eight weeks.

From my first night to the final week, I felt welcomed with open arms. Smiling, friendly faces with oodles of support kept me going throughout. No matter how slow I was, I never felt alone.

A couple of weeks after I completed the course, I joined the Joggers for my first ever 5k event in Hove Park, 3 days before my 30th birthday! I ran the whole way, and felt knackered but ecstatic at the end!

Fast forward a year, and I’ve completed a number of 5k events, including fun runs, races, the Joggers Handicap, and parkruns. I’ve also done a 10k, and run 100 miles in a month to raise money for Mind. I even won the Best Beginner award last Christmas, which was a wonderful surprise, and a very proud moment.

I could never have achieved this without the help, support and friendship of Henfield Joggers. They are fabulous!