Anya’s Story

Anya Running StoryIt took me until my late 40s to discover running. I’d spent 25 years doing yoga, I was really good at it so thought it was for me. Actually also spent those years at the osteopath and lying in classes anxious about all the other things I could be doing with my time. Thanks to the amazing Heather Harris setting up Jog On with Erica Carter, all that changed. Out of loyalty to support her new venture, I went along with 3 friends to a beginners running course. My big joke was up until then I’d rather miss a bus than run for it. Even at school I had avoided sport whenever possible.

The course was perfect for someone like me. Fun, easy to begin with, everyone in the same boat. Yet pushing us all gently forward towards this mythical Park Run. Each class, each homework, each week I came away from running feeling better. Less anxious, more confident, and I enjoyed it. I couldn’t believe I looked forward to the classes and did the homework religiously. I signed my boys up to do the first park run with me. We all absolutely loved it. The atmosphere in the car driving home was ecstatic.

I’ve done many other courses with Jog On, all of which are brilliant. But what I love is dropping the kids at school and running with the dog, on my own or with a friend. It’s outside, at a time that suits me, and the dog gets exercised so the day is freed up. I feel so much happier and calmer since starting running. I also have a much stronger back and have rarely been to the osteopath since.

My career has been in mental health, and I currently work with teenagers, dealing with exam stress and all the other issues for our young people today. I now put exercise at the forefront of my talks and groups, particularly running. Recommending groups and park runs most of all. I’ve done 56 Park Runs now, it’s such an uplifting start to the weekend. Our anxiety comes from the very ancient part of our brain reacting to threats requiring fight or flight. Running is the most effective way of getting rid of that excess adrenaline, which causes mental and physical problems if it is not worked out of the body. Teens respond well to this. Sport in schools has taken a back seat, particularly in the Sixth Form. Kids often don’t have the money for a class or gym membership. Running is the ideal solution for them. They need this healthy release.

Jog On is a hugely positive force in our community. Everyone could benefit from one of their courses I think! Heather and Erica run them so well, and whether you’ve never run before or need support for a half marathon, there is something for everyone.