“Yes, ladies – you CAN do it!’ – Expedition Leader Alex Journey to Fitness and Why More Women Need to Lace Up
Expedition Leader Alex is a passionate advocate for more women to hit the pavement and feel EMPOWERED. Having felt bogged down by life stressors and stubborn weight gain, Alex started her running journey almost 10 years ago – and hasn’t looked back since.
Now, the eight time Cancer Research UK London Winter Run finisher and womens-only club coach wants to spread the word on how running can uplift the lives of women looking to make a change.
Read Alex’s story below.
When I began my journey at Reigate Ladies Joggers in my early forties, I was 3 stone overweight, juggling working full time and raising a young family. Life was busier than ever, but I knew I needed to do something about my fitness and take some time out from domestic demands.
I joined my local running club, proud to have taken my health into my own hands and ready to transform. Except, it wasn’t at all that easy: in fact, those first few weeks were very tough! The beginners group was encouraging, but I had a reality check on my fitness. I recall one session around a lake, where the coach said “jog around and keep going – only stop when you absolutely can’t go any further”. Forget that – I stopped at a bench, beaten, and not even half way around! It might have been frustrating at the time, but I look at that bench in awe now, as a symbol of how far I have come.
So, within a year, I’d lost 3 stone by building up my running (I can now run a highly respectable 40+ times around that lake!) and diet changes. I’d also progressed from the beginners group. But the best part? I’d persevered and joined a fabulous, friendly and fearless group of women who empowered themselves and each other through running.
In 2021, the club asked if I wanted to become a coach and I didn’t hesitate: the opportunity to inspire even just one woman who could relate to me was reason enough.
It’s now been almost 10 years since I started my journey. Running has changed my life for the better. Coaching has changed it, and other people’s lives, even further. I never take for granted the gift of running and the friendships, laughter and the shared sense of achievement that running with a club brings.
As always, our group is looking forward to the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run this year. We have over 72 coming up – many of whom are first timers – so look out for us in our pink T-Shirts!
I asked some of our ladies what they love about club running and what they think the benefits of running are for women:
“It’s all about the friendships you make and the support that’s given – its a safe, non-judgemental space” – Sophie
“For women it’s the combination of giving a social outlet, exercising and giving me some ‘me’ time. As women we tend to prioritise other people, but running gives us the opportunity to put ourselves first. – Alma
“Running with other women feels safe and empowering. Modern life has so many stressors and running enables me to shake off that negative energy. It’s so liberating to pop on my trainers and head out of the door to run; I am fitter and much healthier – mentally, physically and emotionally” – Lorna
“I would tell any beginner to just join and get started – the only pace that matters is your own. I have been at the back of the gentle group for over 3 years now but I’m never left behind”. – Paula
My final point is this: women juggle so much, from jobs, homes, kids and ageing parents. We face pressures from society on how to look and behave. And too often, we put others before ourselves. But carving out time for yourself and taking control of your health and wellbeing is something to be celebrated; we should be encouraging women to reclaim their time. I’d recommend the physical and social benefits of running to every woman.
If you’re ever in doubt, just know that you CAN do it and one day, like me, you can look back and laugh at that bench.
It is a privilege to be running among those doing their first ever 10k at the event this year and who knows – next year it could be you!