Run Leaders

Our run leaders are a really special bunch. Just like you. They are women of all ages, sizes and abilities, at different points on their running journey, just like you. We are so proud of all of them, we'd like you to meet them....

 
 
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Angela Curtis

I have always wanted to run. To be called a runner. To stick my fingers up at some horrible memories from school. I started running with ICRc after a summer of C25K, when I came across a Google search of women’s running clubs/ Ipswich. I have never looked back.

The last year and a half with ICRc has been an incredible learning journey for me. One day I can be very self-critical about my abilities and be close to giving it all up. Other days my breathing, my legs and my head are all in sync. I love the feeling of clarity, the headspace and mindset of ‘YES I CAN.’ The bad days are less and less now, which has changed my self-belief tenfold.

I love running now, even on the bad days. These days can be the best for the mental battle as well as the physical. This is why I run. For my mental health. It benefits me physically, but I also run for the peace of my mind.

Being a leader with ICRc is amazing, especially with the beginners’ groups. The thrill of watching these amazing women grow in confidence over the 6 weeks fills me with so much happiness and joy for them. I love seeing anyone develop and learn to believe in themselves.

I love being a part of ICRc and what it has done for me. The women that are involved are EPIC beyond belief and I love it!!!

Angela's big smile and supportive nature can be found at our Ipswich free runs and beginners sessions.

 
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Alison Barnes

I had never been a runner, or even sporty in any form really, but enjoyed  going for a walk. 

Both my children are runners and encouraged me to do a few bursts of running when out for a walk, then my daughter suggested I go to ICRc where she is one of the leaders. 

My first ever real run was on my 62nd birthday and I knew I'd found the right group of people for me when running up the hill to join the group who had finished, I heard them singing happy birthday. 

I went back to basics and enrolled in the first beginners’ group in Debenham. 

I was humbled to be asked to join the team of leaders and love seeing the achievements our awesome women go on to make.

I am proof that at any age, size or ability, all this is achievable and the bonus is you meet amazing people and can make genuine friends.

Alison looks after us all and makes sure we're all ok. We would literally fall apart without her wise advise and super warm nature. You can find her mostly at Needham Market, we do try and steal her to help in other locations though. Her loveliness must shared!

 
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Alison Taylor

I was new to ICRc Felixstowe last October. I used to run but haven’t done so for years, so joined because the thought of ladies only was appealing and felt safe. 

The warmth and acceptance I’ve found from these ladies is amazing! Everyone supports each other. 

I wanted to run again for my head space. My think time. My time. 

If I run, I run. If I want to walk I will, there’s no pressure. Just being outside in the fresh air is amazing and I love it. 

Alison helps at Felixstowe with the free runs and beginners. Her super friendly and warm nature always makes you feel welcome and like you've been attending for years!

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Hannah Kirk

I was never sporty and didn’t enjoy exercise. I never really saw the need as there was more fun things to do. I had friends who enjoyed running but secretly thought they were mad. 

When I became a mum I started to realise that moving more helped me to cope mentally with the stresses and strains of a young baby and would help me be around for longer with my son and husband. Gradually swimming, and stints at the gym became part of my life.

Then my friend Emma started I Can Run club. I knew that I was able to run a bit and wanted to support my friend, so I joined up. I was hooked; it was love at first step! I loved the way that the women in the group supported each other, that you could go at your own pace and no one was telling me I was doing it wrong. 

The best thing was Jeffing. Why did no one tell me I was allowed to walk before?! i run for 30 seconds and walk for 30 seconds and am able to go faster and further than ever before. It gave me the confidence to run outside on my own as well as in the group, meaning that I can fit exercise more easily in to my day. 

The positive reinforcement from ICRc is phenomenal. So many wonderful women supporting each other through running events or helping those who have lost their running mojo just to get out of the front door.

Hannah usually helps at Ipswich free runs and beginners, she's super enthusiastic and can make any session you attend hilarious! She's also tops with sage advice too, and loves to open water swim. If she could be a fish, she would be.

 
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Jo Hack

In 2013 my sister set up a charity project to encourage others to be active and inspire her friends and family to get involved. I wasn’t keen - I’d only ever run for a bus. However got training and ran my first 5k race. It was an epic feeling and I wanted to continue. I didn’t. Another year, another fun run, another promise to myself I'll stick at it. But as soon as winter hit I stopped. The fair weather running cycle meant starting over every time which was pretty disheartening. 

In 2017 my friend Kristy (run leader extraordinaire) got me to come to ICRc. Everyone was taking part in the 5k Summer Series in Christchurch Park so I didn't really need to talk to anyone. I just ran and bagged another medal.

The following week was a regular ICRc night. People started introducing themselves and talking to me. What was this all about?! I just came to run. I run alone, maybe this isn't for me?! 

Well it WAS and it DID continue. How had I not realised that all this support and friendship was what was missing? Although I still like a lone run I can't always find the motivation. But ICRc gets me out there. It kept me out of my fair weather cycle for the first time - I even took part in The London Winter Run!

I became a run leader in January and love hearing your stories from sofa to super. We all lose our mojo at times but there is always someone here with a kind word, a listening ear or an inspirational post, I truly believe the camaraderie at our club is second to none!

Jo is a massive help behind the scenes with organising and making our ideas a reality as well as helping at our Ipswich free runs and beginners. She always posts really inspiring posts on Facebook too - just when you need to hear them!

 
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Jo's on the right!

Jo Hopkins

My 26th wedding anniversary was a fitness turning point. My husband and I couldn’t believe the active 20somethings in the wedding photos had become middle-aged couch potatoes. 

We started walking, swimming and eating healthier. But when I was diagnosed with early onset osteoporosis, I needed to do more weight bearing exercise and began running. 

I bought a book called ‘Getting Past the First 30 Seconds’, but struggled to keep going for that long. I ran twice a week and began to see an improvement so attended the Great Run Local, puffing my way through the 2k. 

I noticed that I felt better both mentally and physically after I had run in an ‘it’s great when I stop’ kind of a way! 

After trying out a 5k (which was hard but I was determined) I decided to do a 10k race before I was 50. I could Jeff a 5k when I told 400 children that it was my New Years resolution- there is nothing like accountability to keep you on track! I actually managed four more 10k races before my 50th. 

I joined the ICRc leaders, not because I’m fast, or very fit, but because I know how hard it is to find ‘me time’ to run. I understand what it’s like to ache so much you wonder why you did it. BUT I also know how epic and powerful I feel when I finish a race or run up a hill. 

This amazing group of runners motivate and encourage each other. So If you are thinking of joining us- be brave, put your trainers on and come out. You are guaranteed a warm welcome and to never be left behind

Jo is a regular at our Needham Market group. Enthusiastic, kind and inspiring she'll always make you feel safe, included and reassured.

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Carole Challis

I am a mum to three boys. I'm an occupational therapist. I am passionate about helping people realise their potential. 

I've been a runner since my early teens and run anything from 5k to ultra marathons. I hate training for races and I usually struggle to get out of the door unless I have arranged to run with somebody. I love the escapism offered by running and use it as a chance to process and overcome the stresses of everyday life. Running really helps improve my mental wellbeing.

My friend Emma Talbot started up a running club for women who, like me, struggle to get out the door; for women who would like to exercise but society and past experiences have made them think they can't; for women to be able to support each other in a safe environment where nobody is left behind. 

 I get a real buzz out of seeing women achieve more than they thought possible, week after week. 

You can find Carole at our Needham Market runs. Carole is also one of our super experienced run leaders and will always help with advice and recommendations.

 
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Kristy Lewis

I started running using a C25k app back in January 2017 because I wanted to lose weight. My past running experiences saw me belt out of my front door, keel over after 30 seconds and swear I’d never do it again - and that my boobs were too big to run!

I was introduced to ICRc by another leader, Tink. I joined the Tuesday free run at Christchurch Park - it was a hill session... I loved it! 

I went week after week and felt so welcomed.  When I was asked to be a run leader, my first job was to help at the Ipswich beginners’ sessions. I adored seeing the change in all the women -  a group of women going from being anxious and lacking in confidence to epic Wonder Women in six weeks!! 

I used to run continuously but after learning more about Jeffing I’m now a full on Jeffer! It’s enabled me to run distances I never thought possible. I completed the Great East Run after nine months of running. 

Running makes me feel free, it gives me headspace and it gives me time to be me, not a mother, a stepmum, a wife, beauty therapist, chef, cleaner or home keeper.

Being a run leader helps me to light the passion about running in other women.

For me running is no longer about losing weight – it’s about me being fitter and stronger then I ever thought I could be

Kristy helps at our Ipswich groups but is always happy to step in at Felixstowe and Needham Market too. She's our resident 'vlogger' on our Facebook group too, we love her honest way of reporting back after a run.

 
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Marisa Murray

I was the sports nut during school years. (I know. I'm in the minority!) 

I played netball, volleyball, hockey, excelled at track and field and my idol was Daley Thompson. And I dreamed of competing in the Olympics. 

Well that didn't happen, although I did run in the stadium only a couple of years after the London Olympics. And I cried. A lot!

So, many many years later I was honoured to join I Can Run club as a run leader. There had been many years of inactivity on my part and I couldn't wait to get active again and share my love of activity. In any form. 

I hope you feel inspired by the diversity of the leaders, and the inclusiveness of I Can Run club and join us on our many adventures.

Marisa is a regular at our Ipswich free runs and a huge help behind the scenes, she'll often make our thoughts and ideas a reality.

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Sharon Turner

I decided to join ICRc beginners In Jan 2017 because, although I thought I was fairly fit, I had never been able to run and had never enjoyed sport outdoors. 

After meeting ICRc’s Emma Talbot at work I thought it sounded fun and just what I needed. 

Running makes me feel alive, clears my head, pushes my fitness, and is a challenge which I enjoy, I never find it easy but that’s part of it for me.

I love Jeffing because it challenges me, but you can make it work for you and change your ratios up and down.

I love being a leader with ICRc. The group is so supportive and so great to be a part of it.

I really feel at times the group has kept me going. I felt by becoming a leader it was a way to give something back and support other women who want to get out and give running a try. Being able to help other people get out and get the fabulous running feeling is so rewarding. I feel really proud to be part of this fantastic friendly group.

Sharon is in the Needham Market team and regularly calls over to Ipswich to run with our free runners. Full of enthusiasm and an 'anything goes' attitude she encourages us all to be a bit more adventurous!

 
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Katinka Bowes (Tink)

I'm Katinka, otherwise known as Tink, 43 and mother to a 16 year old daughter.

 I started running in 2010 but injured myself and lost my running mojo. 

I wanted to get back into running but life just got in the way. I joined the first beginners course at I Can Run club with my daughter to see if I could get back into running. It was such a blast. Everyone was so supportive. I enjoyed it. 

I was humbled when Emma asked me if I would like to be a leader to help on our Tuesday free runs. It was a learning curve for everyone. 

I realised that with support and a friendly word that you can achieve anything.

I have taken part in a few runs now -  Twilight 10k, Felixstowe Coastal 10mile and the Great East Run were my main runs. 

I used to try to run and not take walk breaks but as we try to promote jeffing, I decided to try it for myself. I had to re-train my way of thinking about running. I am now a jeffing convert. 

Being a leader in ICRc is lovely. I love seeing all the Wonder Women achieve their goals and be so proud of themselves. 

Every week we have a mix of women come out for a run. I have made new friends through this club and am humbled and proud to be part of it.

Tink is a regular leader at our Ipswich free run, she always makes the session fun and supportive. Her smile and infectious laugh can make all your worries disappear!

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Vickie Devine

My daughter Kate encouraged me to start running four years ago when I was the grand old age of 54. 

I started with the couch to 5k and was doing Parkruns after a few weeks. Not very fast but I loved the feeling of euphoria I got after! I got addicted and was getting out at least three times a week. Then I got a bit lazy and stopped, I missed it!

Then I saw I Can Run club beginners advertised in Felixstowe on Facebook. 

I thought it was a great way to get back into it and I haven't looked back! 

When Emma asked me if I would like to be a run leader I was thrilled.  I look forward to meeting the lovely Felixstowe ladies every Thursday.

I'm not competitive or fast but I love the feeling Jeffing gives me 😊 

Even a 58 year old Granny can do it!! 

Vickie helps in our Felixstowe team with beginners and free runners. Her warm and friendly approach makes her absolutely perfect for our team.

 
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Lou Booker

I started running after trying Bootcamp, after having my little boy. I noticed that I liked the running warm up but hated everything else. So, I tried the C25k app, but found it hard and gave up which left me really demotivated.

But then out of nowhere on my Facebook feed, the advert for the first beginners’ session with ICRc appeared. I was so nervous, thinking: “Will everyone be super fit? Will I be the fat slow one at the back? What if I just can’t run?".

I had no need to worry.  Emma was really reassuring. I finished the beginners’ course and haven’t looked back. 

My goal is to run a 5k without walking, for no other reason than it has always been my goal. But since being with ICRc I have discovered that I love Jeffing, so if I don’t reach my goal, who cares? I can run already! I love the social runs, and the occasional 5km or 10km race along with Parkrun and Great Run Local.

I absolutely love running and never thought I would say that. I feel elated after a run. I’m so much more confident and now have respect and love for my body, rather than the self-loathing that has haunted me for years. It has changed my life

I love being a leader because I want other women to feel what I feel every time I run. If I can help someone feel that way about running and about themselves, just by being there and being a friendly face, then that would be marvellous. 

Lou is a regular in Ipswich, (but secretly loves running in on the prom in Felixstowe, so you'll find her there too). She's also a enormous help behind the scenes and always comes up with great ideas!

 
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Jess Gallagher

I’ve always tried to keep fit and healthy and running is a free way to do it that never fails to make my body and mind feel fantastic.

When I had my first daughter nearly seven years ago, it helped to clear my head and feel like me again.

I entered the Ipswich Half Marathon to give myself a challenge and to find some ‘me time” in our new family life -  I’ve now run six half marathons and many more 10ks and 5ks.

Like everyone, I regularly suffer from frontdooritus and the fear that I won’t be able to do it, but I usually manage it and always feel epic after.

When my friend Emma set up ICRc, I helped out on the first beginners’ sessions. It was fantastic to see people gradually beginning to realise that they could run and it didn’t have to be that hard.

I mainly help on the Tuesday night free runs and am proud to be a run leader. The group has evolved into a bunch of women who never fail to support one another, understand one another and hold each other up when they’re feeling down - and the ICRc cheerleaders on race day are always the loudest and most supportive!

You won’t see me on the running circuit for a few months as I’m now pregnant with my second child - but there’ll be no holding me back when it’s time to run again.

Although we miss Jess whilst she's not running so much, she's still helping behind the scenes and helps on social media answering questions and helping people stay motivated. We can't wait for her to be back on the team again!

 

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Kathryn Cooke

I had tried to run on my own now and again, but never kept it up or seemed to be able to go any further than a couple of miles. 

Having moved back to Felixstowe a couple of years ago with my kids, I needed to find something that I could do for me that was more than just making it through each day. 

I signed up to do the beginners’ course in Felixstowe February  2017. That first week was cold, dark and wet. We bemusedly slipped about in a muddy circle for 15 minutes and I left feeling amazing!

Since that first week (and discovering Jeffing) I call myself a runner. 

I try to get out for a run two or three times a week because it makes me feel so much better - I feel stronger and more confident. 

It's a great thinking (or not thinking) space, for coming up with or processing ideas. It's satisfying to gradually improve, being able to go further, maybe faster... I don't expect to break any records but I'm proving to myself every time that I can do this.

It has been a huge privilege to be part of I Can Run club, to see women grow in confidence and be part of such a unique, amazing , encouraging community.

Kathryn can been found at our Felixstowe runs. You can't miss her big smile and warm nature, she'll make you feel at home, even if it's your first week. As a physiotherapist in her day job, her warm ups and cool downs are the best around!

 
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Laura Welham

My husband suggested our 2017 New Year’s resolution should be to start running and get fitter. We wanted our three year old daughter to grow up thinking a healthy lifestyle was normal. He lasted three runs.  But I kept going and started the Couch to 5k programme. While it was hard, I enjoyed the feeling I got after running.

I posted a Facebook status about running and a friend recommended ICRc. I went along to my first free run in Christchurch Park the day after my 31st birthday and was so nervous I nearly didn’t get out of the car.

But after running with ICRc I loved it and slowly started talking to people which made me enjoy it even more.

With the support of the club I have now run in many events - the highlights being a 10k that finished in the Olympic Stadium and, after just a year of running, completing my first Half Marathon with my sister. 

I am really competitive with myself and always aim to beat my own times. I’m trying to build up my speed now. Its an uphill struggle but I love a challenge!

I absolutely love running with the club and the friends I have made.

I never stop talking unless I am really struggling and often run along talking rubbish to anyone who will run with me. 

I was really humbled to be asked to be a run leader. All the run leaders are lovely and so supportive I knew I had big shoes to follow! I truly believe in the club and what it offers to women getting involved in sport. I love seeing how strong they become as their running develops.

Laura is in the Needham Market team and regularly helps in Ipswich at our free runs. It's true what she says, she really can talk! However, if you're struggling and need some support, having Laura natter and advise you on your way will make the run feel so much shorter!

 
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Lucy Glendinning

I started my running journey after taking part in a fun run with friends and realising how incredibly unfit I was. Strangely I had enjoyed it and decided to start running to improve my fitness. 

I started taking part in Great Run Local at Needham Lake on a Sunday morning and there I met the awesome ladies from I Can Run club.

Running is now a big part of my life as is I Can Run club. I completed beginners in September 2017 and was thrilled to be asked to be a Run Leader in February 2018. 

I’m so proud to be part of such an amazing, supportive and friendly club.

Lucy can be found at the Needham Market runs. Her supportive and bubbly nature make her a great fit for our team and she's always up for an extra run making suggestion for additional runs in the week!