MEET THE COACHES
JO DONNA EMILY EMMA IRENE
EVY SHARON SARAH
JO - FOUNDER OF MOJO RUNNING AND FITNESS
I started running in 2004 at the age of 38. Up to that point I was working long and unsociable hours, bringing up two children and feeling exhausted, stressed, overworked and unfit and although moving to the area when I was 30 I hardly knew anyone.
I know what a life changing experience learning to run was for me. Being out in the fresh air and countryside and making new friends had such a positive impact on both my mental and physical wellbeing.
I became a running coach and set up Mojo because I wanted to share my love of running and create a social and supportive environment for others to do the same.
I have coached beginners as well as girls looking to run their first marathon. Helping someone to achieve their potential, whether it’s to reach their first mile or their first marathon is about providing a safe, encouraging and fun environment, with the right gradual progressive training. Over the years Mojo has grown and we now have 9 coaches and offer 8 runs a week (nearly all of which have a minimum of two coaches on each run). Our ethos remains as it has always been - ensuring there is something for all abilities.
I know how important it is to feel part of a group and what a difference it can make. It really is amazing what we can all achieve with the right encouragement and a little belief in ourselves. To me there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone achieve their goals and grow in confidence. That's why I coach and I love it.
[Top picture at the start of the 401 community run with Ben Smith
I started running when I was 35 after being a couch potato since I left school. Life was busy. I worked, got married and had a family and lost time for exercise.
I signed up to a beginners’ course for running in the hope of losing weight and becoming fitter. Even though I found the first few weeks tough, I was hooked.
Running has played a huge part in my life. I love the sense of achievement, the fresh air and the freedom of doing something that keeps me fit and healthy, both physically and mentally.
Like most of us life is hectic and throws us a few curve balls every now and then. Once I could run, I’d just get my trainers on switch off from all the day to day worries, and have a little bit of ‘me’ time. The encouragement from the coaches and the girls made me believe in myself and got me through some difficult times.
I’ll never forget how emotional my first race was and the sense of achievement that I felt.
At the age of 42, despite struggling with diets and weight issues, I wanted to give something back to running so I qualified as a coach and began working with Jo at MOJO.
I love supporting and encouraging the girls. Every run is different and that's what makes it fun. It's great to see the girls reach their goals and watch them grow and enjoy the freedom of running. The girls all help and support each other. We work together, laugh together and have fun together, all whilst running and keeping fit. I feel so honoured and proud to be part of it. I just love it.
[Top photo - Stretching and healthy treats at the end of our Wednesday evening run; bottom picture that's me with my arms up in the air at the Great South Run]
My name is Emily McMillan, I have been running with Jo since 2013 when a charity place for the London Marathon landed in my lap. This spurred me into action and running has become a big part of my life ever since.
I have now completed three marathons - London twice and Paris - I enjoy the structure that training for an event gives me.
I have also enjoyed making running part of my family's life - my two kids and dog often join me on Saturday mornings for Parkrun whilst my husband has become a keen baker to supply us all with lots of post run treats!
I was really excited when Jo asked me to think about the LIRF course. I supported, trained and ran the London Marathon with two of my best friends who were new to running - it made me think that the supportive role was definitely an area I wanted to explore. I am also inspired by my daughter and her friends who run, i want to be able to help them love running from an early age.
I can't wait to help more girls with their running goals, help them love their running and hopefully convert a few to a full on running geek like me!
I began running in May 2012 after my husband completed the London Marathon- I was fed up of hearing about minute miles, pace, tempo etc without understanding what it meant! I joined a back to running group where I ran for a bit, walked a bit until I was up to the 10k mark. Later that year, Jo put on an increase your distance course, taking us beyond the 6 mile mark, which I loved!
My first half marathon was in March 2013 and my first marathon was in April 2014. I had well and truly got the running bug and have since run over 30 marathons, half marathons and several ultras, and I love it!
I wanted to become qualified as a run leader so I can impart my love of running and particularly the endurance aspect to other girls. My story illustrates that anyone can achieve their goal if they set their mind to it- current non runners can become marathoners!
I'm looking forward to building the miles up and therefore the endurance of the girls to give them the confidence to go further and enter HMs and marathons.
[Top - Emily at Paris marathon; middle - Emma and Emily at Bacchus Half Marathon; bottom - Emma after London marathon]
I thought running was stupid and anyway I had tried and couldn’t do it.
I don’t like being beaten, so, in fear and trepidation I joined a beginners class and thought I would expire. Then, a peculiar thing happened; I found out that I loved it, the freedom, fun, personal challenge and most of all the social side of running with friends.
I soon found I was encouraging others and wanted to help and learn more, so I qualified as a LIRF.
It was one of the best things I have done as I love combining my love of running with supporting others and sharing the satisfaction they achieve from their runs.
Running releases my inner child, there is nothing like splashing through mud, running through woods and fields or admiring the wonders of our beautiful countryside.
My body image, which was deeply negative, has greatly improved as I am proud of a strong body that can run.
My mind is clearer as I share friendships and experience fun times.
There is always a challenge and I am so lucky to be part of the wonderful MOJO family
A perfect day for me always begins with a run. If I don't go for a week I'm itching to get back to it! I've had an extremely challenging time over the last couple of years and going for a run has literally saved my sanity. I like to socialise and to feel happy, fit and strong and this gives me all of those things.
I started running when I moved to Sevenoaks over ten years ago and I seem to remember it took me over a year before I could run up to Knole House from the tree without stopping. When I started I thought I'd never run 3 miles. Once I did that, I thought I'll never fun 5, then 7, then 10! Each time I got a huge sense of achievement at being able to go the extra distance.
I've since run the Brighton 10k, the Paddock Wood half marathon and the Bacchus half marathon but competing isn't what running is all about for me. No it's about a group of people of different abilities all running together and all getting a kick out of it. That's why I did my LiRF and that's why I love Mojo. Jo is very good at making everyone feel like they can do it and they can.
SHARON CLAYTON and SHARON GRINSTEAD