If you have any feedback about your experience of Fitmums & Friends we’d love to hear from you
I was made aware of Fitmums having asked a experienced runner, a female neighbour of mine what running groups she belonged to. I was wanting to give running a try having reached the grand age of 54 and knew I needed to do more to get and stay fit. My neighbour Kay, told me to consider Fitmums and Friends and explained that they support and welcome all abilities and always ensure no on gets left behind as they have this Shepherding system where the front runners , turn and return to the back of the running group. Now this seemed far more appealing to a would be huffer and puffer than being left for dust by some testosterone fueled supermen at my local athletics club.
I was made very welcome at Beverley fitmums and have also taken advantage of attending other fitmums groups and feel just as welcome as part of the fitmums family. It is amazing how from last May wanting to do no more than 3 mile runs , that with the support and friendship of Fitmums, I soon found myself adding a mile or so to my distance every few weeks and now regularly enjoy the 6 mile routes. Outside of Fitmums I will now weekly take on a 10 or 12 mile run .
So what has Fitmums and Friends done for me and what are the benefits. Well clearly my physical fitness levels have massively improved but I know my overall sense of well being and mental tenacity are at an all time high. It is so easy to focus on losing a few pounds and building muscle capacity etc but the gain to mental well being and how it helps me cope with day to day challenges surpasses those obvious benefits.
When you take on a running challenge as I recently did in my first ever formal 10K at Beverley, then you are going to at times feel like slowing down, easing off up that incline but you dont you press on to the end. Well that tenacity now transfers to my day to day challenges and the same tenacity really helps to push you on and achieve your goal or maybe just have more capacity and offer a helping hand to others.
My personal running highlight so far for 2017, was finishing my running 365 mile challenge in just under the 3 month time scale that I had set myself, ok my leg muscles paid the price and have complained a little but at 55 what can i expect, I did though get a very nice shinny 365 medal taken with a lovely group of Fitmums.
Finally its amazing just how many extra people I now know locally, I have either waved or spoken to at least four or five Fitmum members today whilst out in Beverley now just adding to the sense of belonging to your community could in itself be worth considering giving Fitmums a try.
As I tell my friends, there are worse ways to spend an hour or so on a Tuesday morning than a nice healthy run out with 15 Fitmums and then have a coffee and chat afterwards.
One of the Christmas presents I got in 2013 was a year’s membership of Fitmums & Friends. What a great gift this turned out to be for a whole host of reasons! Here are some of them:
- Have seen my overall fitness improve by attending the Fitness walking sessions on Wednesdays in Cottingham, plus by joining some grass track and hill sessions
- Became a member of Fitmums & Friends Cottingham Committee and helped launch the Walk as a Fitness Walk rather than a “ramble”
- Trained as a Leader by attending the England Athletics Leader in Running Fitness course (LIRF) and regularly lead the Fitness walk
- Have seen members progress via the Fitness walk to be able to run one, two miles and more and transition from the walking group to running groups
- Likewise have seen walkers who want to remain walkers progress – to such an extent that we are entering a “walker” relay team for the Hull Marathon in September
- Became a Support worker for Fitmums & Friends Ante/Post Natal Depression Group (PND) which has recently extended to support individuals to improve their mental & physical health and wellbeing through exercise, in relation to a wider range of issues including Bereavement, Unemployment, anxiety and depression
- Joined Fitmums & Friends Choir which raised lots of money for Charity last year and is doing the same this year
Take a look at the recent University of Cambridge research conducted over twelve years across Europe. This research found that there were twice as many deaths per annum from inactivity than from obesity. By taking at least a 20 minute brisk walk each day, we can reduce inactivity deaths by 7.5% and a brisk walk gives substantial benefits to health, fitness & wellbeing
So in conclusion – why not join Fitmums & Friends? I can guarantee you will get fitter, make lots of new friends, find a supportive environment for achieving your exercise goals, have fun, and have the opportunity for personal development, attending social events & making a difference to others’ lives.
Jan - Fitness Walk Leader, Run Leader, Volunteer Supporter (PND Support Scheme) – Cottingham Fitmums & Friends
I joined Hedon Fitmums & Friends when it first started in August 2014. I had never run before. At school I hated running, I was always last and I never got picked for anything. I'm guessing by my nickname, 'Tina the ten to tank', it was because I was overweight.
The very first night I was in the 1 mile group and struggled to run the whole mile. Since then I have moved up quite a few times and I'm now in the 6 mile group. Recently I went out with one of the run leaders Paul and I did my first 11 miles. I can't believe how fit I've become and how much more confidence I've got since that first week. I've made so many friends since joining. This year I've lost 3 stone and this week I'm hoping to have reached my target weight.
I think Fitmums & Friends is a great group. Everyone is so supportive no one judges you. Everyone I meet, I tell them about what the group is like and try and encourage others to join. Thanks!
Tina – Runner [Hedon Fitmums & Friends]
To see Tina's before and after photos click here
I have been up and down with my weight since I was 18. Fluctuating between 2 stone and putting on 4 and half stone when pregnant with my daughter. During that time I had joined gyms, tried different diets, and always ended up putting weight back on eventually and then starting again. In the summer of 2013 I started my latest fad of swimming where I met Anushka. She used to turn up swimming after her session at Fitmums and I always thought she was crazy. Anytime I had tried to run in the past I ended up a mess and couldn't breathe etc. My famous words were 'I cannot run to save my life'. How wrong was I! I plucked up the courage in October 2013 to go along with Nush to East Hull Fitmums and see what the fuss was about. Once I walked through the doors that day I met Lynne.
I completed my first mile non-stop on that first session, I moved up to 2 mile the next week then 3 week after. The support you get from everyone is amazing and there were so many inspirations in the room anything felt possible. Every week I got better, moving up and completing parkruns getting personal bests.
I entered my first 10k in March 2014 for Sport Relief. It was a horrid day and 6 laps round a field. It should have put me off for life. Since then I have completed several 10ks, 3 half marathons and now I’m in training for the Manchester marathon and at the time of writing my longest run to date is 18.5 miles along with Lynne and Nush - together we are the 3 musketeers.
Once I got passed 6 miles at Fitmums & Friends and I knew my capability I decided to give something back to the club and try and help other people like the Leaders helped me. In July 2014 I completed the Leadership in Running Fitness course to become a Run Leader. I feel so humble to be able to help others in the way I got help and was encouraged. To see others complete goals and achieve things they didn't think was possible is so amazing. In this time I lost around a stone and have been able to use my running to maintain a healthy weight.
Fitmums & friends really is one big family and I am so grateful to be a part of such an amazing club.
Kirsty – Runner & Run Leader [East Hull Fitmums & Friends]
I had stopped running regularly in June 2010 when the need to balance family commitments, work & university studies took over my time. This was after I had run my very first 10K race in Hull. However, as I ran alone; for fear of holding others up; I had no one to commit to running with. As I had also just got married again I was contented so running went to the bottom of the important list!
Late last year, after losing 2 stone in weight, I decided I needed to start running again; and a friend at work had mentioned she had joined a new running group in East Hull and asked me to join her. Initially I felt worried about holding others up as I had not run for over 3 years; so I started running alone. My first 1.5mile run at the end of October took me 17 minutes; huffing and puffing and lungs a burning! I just felt accomplished that I hadn’t stopped at all even though my body was telling me to stop and walk!
I eventually plucked up courage to venture to East Hull Fitmums and Friends on 12th November last year and have never looked back since. I picked up my mileage quite quickly and my pace and stamina too. Some weeks were tougher than others; however the amazing support and encouragement from all of the run leaders and fellow runners phenomenal. Initially I worried I was holding others up and was actually mortified that the front runners had to shepherd back for me when I was plodding on at the back. However, 2 very special ladies and leaders supported and reassured me and persuaded me to return the week after my “wobble”! Thankfully I listened to them and went back again for another go! I ran in between too and by January I was running the 5K park runs on a Saturday morning.
Throughout this year my running has gone from strength to strength and I constantly amazed myself with my achievements. The social side of Fitmums has also become a great part of my life as I have made some very good friends; friends for life. As a relatively new resident of Hull this has been a great help to me in terms of meeting new people who have similar ethos and outlook. I now enjoy running with others more than when I run alone. I have also encouraged others to start running and join the Fitmums family including my daughter-in-law (who is now also a new run leader!).
In relation to encouragement and support; this is the other element of Fitmums that I love; I enjoy helping others the way I have been helped, supported and inspired over this last year. In July I decided to put myself forward for the run leader course (Leadership in Running Fitness) with the full support of Nikki Dunlop and financial support of Fitmums. It was a great course and I learnt so many techniques; thoroughly enjoyed the day’s training.
My first shadow run lead was extremely daunting especially as I was being supported by Nikki (East Hull Co-ordinator) AND Sam Barlow (Founder of FM’s!). Oh my word! Talk about no pressure to get it right!!! It all went well thankfully; and once my DBS checks were through I was let loose on my own! There have been lots of laughs along the way and a few tears; especially during my first 5 mile lead when I ended up missing a turning and making them run almost 5.6miles because the group were so excited about doing 4 lots of Indian Files)!!
Personally I have lost another stone in weight so far, ran the Hull 10k, knocking 7.5 minutes off my 2010 time and the Scarborough 10K. I have booked onto the Hornsea 1/3rd marathon next April and plan to do the Humber half plus a few more 10k’s in 2015. Running is now ingrained in my weekly plan and even when I lose my “mojo” my friends offer support and plan runs whenever practically possible, giving me the kick up the proverbial that I occasionally need!! Fitmums & Friends is an amazing community of like-minded people and more people should take up running!
Bev – Runner & Run Leader [East Hull Fitmums & Friends]
My Fitmums Journey, wow, where do I start! Well I guess that day in September 2013 when I walked into East Hull Fitmums at Myers club. Why did I do it? I’m still not 100% sure. I was overweight and unfit, just the day before I’d nearly killed myself running for the bus. My weight loss journey had started the year before. Dieting and swimming I’d lost 2 ½ stone but some of that had crept back on and I knew it was time to try something new, but running! Really? Me? Yet here I was, I dug out some ancient trainers and jogging bottoms and stood there terrified I was going to completely humiliate myself by trying to run 1 mile. This was going to be tough.
That’s when the magic happened. I was surrounded by smiley, friendly faces. Some like me were nervous at the task ahead, but everyone was confident that this challenge was achievable. I remember looking across at the higher mileage groups thinking how crazy they all where, why would anyone want to run more than a mile! I was met by my run leader and was introduced to the rest of the group running one mile and off we went. Possibly the toughest 15 minutes of my life, but also the first 15 minutes of my new life. I went home on a complete high. So that was me hooked. Quick trip to the sports store the next day to get kitted out and I counted down the days to my next run.
So that’s how my journey started. I was encouraged and supported each week. By Christmas I was running 3 miles with ease. I’d made lots of new friends. My confidence had grown and the weight had started to drop off. I’d also taken a huge step and entered my first race, the Jayne Tomlinson 10k for the following June. By the January I’d moved up to the 4 mile group, with my confidence through the roof I entered my first Half Marathon for the May!! I remember thinking I must be Mad!! But again the Fitmums run leaders and my fellow Fitmums helped me train and got me through it on the day. It was the best feeling in the world crossing the finish line after 13.1 miles, better than the feeling of Hull City scoring at Wimberley. I also found that my running had inspired others. I’d got fit and lost a total of 5 ½ stone. My brother gave up smoking and started running, (first time id ever had something in common with my brother!) My cousins soon followed and before long races became a family affair.
More 10k’s and Half Marathons followed. But my biggest achievement came in July 2014. My Run Leaders course. What an honour. To be able to give to others what was so generously given to me. Even if I could set 1 person on the road I was on it would be worth it. And it has been. Being back with those one milers, the scared look on their faces as they walk into the club at 7pm only to see them leave at 7:30 with a grin of achievement on their faces….Priceless.
So what next for me? How about a full marathon in April 2015! 26.2 miles that I couldn’t have even dreamed of doing 14 months ago. I’m running with the 2 ladies that I started with that I now consider to be 2 of my closest friends. I’m the slowest but on every run they stay with me in true Fitmums style. Training is going well and we know we have the support of Fitmums when we need it.
I’m not sure what else I can say really. Fitmums changed my life as it has for so many others. I’m fit, I’m slimmer and I’m more confident. I have the belief now that anything is achievable with a little help and support.
So THANK YOU Fitmums.
Lynne – Runner & Run Leader [East Hull Fitmums & Friends]
To see Lynne's before and after photos click here
“I started running with Fitmums when my daughter was around 4 months old. Like so many other mums I developed post natal depression and became very ill. All through this time my family encouraged me to keep running as a way to get me out and doing something. I am not one of life’s natural athletes but I went from struggling with 1 mile to confidently running 3 or 4. There is room at Fitmums for serious runners, and the not so serious (like myself!). What is important is that we support each other. Exercise is a really good way to take your mind off worries, and being genuinely tired makes for a great nights sleep!”.
“Fitmums has opened up a new social outlet. I really look forward to my runs now rather than feeling I have to drag myself out. I know I’ll get to have a good natter too to distract me from the exertion! It’s also helped me increase the distances I run regularly and my speed (I think). Running with others who are faster, spurs me on and has helped me do more than I usually would if left to my own devices! “.Nicola says
“I was introduced to Fitmums & Friends by two colleagues in the summer of 2010 at the point when the walking section was just developing. I was so enthusiastic about the idea and could not wait to check it out. I came along with sheer excitement as running is not medically recommended for me and I was blown away with the organisation of such a fab fitness group. My level of fitness has definitely increased and to my surprise my thighs have decreased!!! On a social note for me the Walking group is a great way to feel a valued part of a friendly group, meeting new friends, simply clearing your mind from the strains of everyday life, improving knowledge of the local area and more importantly feeling totally invigorated. At Fitmums & Friends we aim to make each individual member feel welcome, involved, safe and encouraged to be proud to be a member!!!”.
Kelly, mum of Harvey
“I love it because I don’t need to get a babysitter and the other mums are really friendly. You are out in the fresh air and it doesn’t feel like exercise because you are socialising with the other mums and having fun whilst also burning calories. We usually go to the soft play session at the Pavillion afterwards so that the babes can get their exercise and the mums can relax and have a cuppa whilst their toddlers play. I recommend Buggy Burn to anyone wanting to come and try it”.
“I was introduced to Fitmums & Friends by Sam in the summer of 2009 at which point we were still meeting on Sam’s drive and had about 10 members. In the beginning it was all I could do to keep up and could only nod in reply to Sam’s chatter but over the weeks it got better and better until at last I could run & talk which is brilliant for me as I focus on something other than the running. Fitmums is very friendly and flexible, there’s no pressure and the support from everyone is fantastic. Having some ‘me’ time is really beneficial as it helps clear away the day, the fact that I’m getting fit at the same time is a bonus. I’ve made some fab friends and really look forward to the sessions”.
“Walking is fantastic post-natal exercise and Fitmums Buggy Burn is a great way to socialise and exercise at the same time, without needing childcare! The group is very welcoming and friendly and we usually have some new faces each week. Fitmums Buggy Burn has proven to be a real success and is a fantastic addition to the Fitmums and Friends training schedule. I really enjoy my walks with Fitmums and William enjoys watching the world go by and babbling to the other babies. I would encourage anyone who is looking after a baby and enjoys exercise to join us – mums, dads, grandparents are all welcome”.
“After I had a major cancer op in 2009, I was asked to come and help at Fitmums and after about 6 months I decided to take the plunge!! I turned up one Wednesday night full of apprehension. However from that day on, not only was I there to help Fitmums, but it also helped me. I improved my fitness levels and eventually did the run leader training and became one of the first trained Run Leaders for Fitmums & Friends. I took part in the Fitmums Lyke Wake relay after another period of ill health, and despite recovering from recent cancer treatment I achieved above and beyond what was expected with great support from the club. Unfortunately I have had my problems this year but now they support me when I need it, they won’t even leave me on my own at the back (and this is from someone who has ran many a race over the years). So for all you that are looking to come for the first time don’t hesitate, you will not be left on your own!!!!!”.
“I joined Fitmums in June 2010 after my wife had been a member for a while. I was initially sceptical about a group called Fitmums, but there are other men running and I am always made to feel welcome. Whilst I had done some running before, I have found that running with Fitmums and Friends has encouraged me to push myself further. I have started entering competitive races, and this summer organised a Fitmums Lykewake relay event. Running with Fitmums has made me more confident, and the team have supported me in becoming a run leader, which I find really rewarding”.
“I knew I was unfit and had to do some exercise. But I also knew the gym just wasn’t for me. I came across Fitmums in the Cottingham Times and thought well… I like walking and I like people and thought no harm in having a try. I was shy and nervous at first as I didn’t know what to expect. But I was at ease almost straight away as people were introducing themselves to me and making me feel welcome. One of my worries was that I would hold people up as I was extremely unfit. But the brilliant thing is you can go at your own pace with the leaders walking with you and they don’t make a big deal about catching up with the others or trying to hurry you along. I used to get tired out and panty doing 2 miles but my pace has improved cos after 5 weeks I decided to do the 4 mile walk and there is such encouragement and no pressure in the whole thing – it just feels I’m safe and free to walk in the evening with my mates”.
“Fitmums & Friends is very welcoming and supportive – I was worried it would be full of serious runners but everyone was at different levels and it was ok to not be able to run very far. I run further now when I run, without stopping! I feel fitter and feel as though I have more energy”.
“Fitmums is brilliant! The sessions are so supportive and there is no pressure to run fast, you can go at your own pace. The leaders are excellent. Joining Fitmums has made me feel a lot more positive about myself, given me more energy and made me quite proud of my achievement so far”.
After doing her first race as a Fitmum “I have done 10k’s before but never as a Fitmum and it was AWESOME!! Thank you for your support and encouragement (especially at the end) it made me feel part of something very special – amazing feeling. I can honestly do better, I know I can. Proud to wear the vest even if I am slow!”.
“About six months ago my sister, who is a runner with Cottingham Fitmums, told me they were starting a walking group and as I spend most of my time in an office environment doing very little exercise at all, I thought this would be the perfect excuse to come along and see if it is right for me. Well, from day oneI have loved coming out on a Wednesday evening and joining the other walkers. It is lovely being in a group of people as we have a good gossip as we walk along and motivate each other, so before you know it the walk is coming to an end and we are all heading back to base. I can honestly say I feel so much healthier and now manage to run up two flights of stairs at work without arriving at the top out of breath and with a face as red as a tomato! I recently had a Health and Wellbeing session here at work, and my results compared to last years are very impressive – I fall into the very fit category, something I would have never dreamt of a year ago! For something that does not cost much, gets me out of the flat for a hour or so and gives so much enjoyment, I have no regrets at all joining the walking group”.
"Fitmums has done so much for me I don't know where to begin! I have made some great friends, and can honestly say that I have never known a group of such positive, encouraging and genuinely supportive people. I love the fact that there is so much flexibility so that we can all run or walk as far as we want to, without the fear of being left behind - the support never ends! My confidence has increased tremendously and I feel both mentally and physically stronger and fitter. I cannot believe that I joined as a shrinking violet who struggled to run a mile ... now I have the confidence to support and lead others, and am seriously considering my first 10K (yes, really!). I hardly recognise myself and it's all thanks to Fitmums & Friends!"
"Fitmums is great I have become fitter. I have met lots of lovely new people. This has given me confidence in my ability as I never thought I would be able to run 1 mile never mind 3 miles. Its great to be part of such a great group."
"Being part of Fitmums & Friends is such a privilege. I get to turn up each week and see people give 110% to their runs and improve week on week. Seeing and hearing the group support and encourage each other every week is so uplifting. As a leader it's improved my own running as I need to be able to pace myself with others but it’s also given me more confidence to speak in front of large groups week after week. Getting out there each week to do a run just lifts your spirits and makes you feel like you've achieved something. Running with a group gives you the opportunity to get out there and run but have fun while doing it."
Fitmums helps me keep my sanity, it's my little me time that makes me feel good about myself, keeps me fit, pushes me further, makes me feel like I belong, I get to meet new people who are all lovely and it takes away the guilt of the glass of wine at the weekend.
Fitmums has given me the motivation to keep exercising and try to achieve the next level in fitness and running ability. Started at 1 mile and moved slowly through the miles groups and just completed first 10k with great support from the other Fitmums both at the sessions and out on the course. I really couldn't run by myself but with a chatty group the miles just disappear (well most of the time!!!) and it's actually fun. Thank you!
I get support, understanding, space to think, the buzz of running further than I thought I ever could and I've met loads of fantastic people. The ethos is amazing and the energy and enthusiasm created by the group is now supporting people to access exercise who never would have before, bringing physical and mental health benefits. It certainly keeps me mentally healthy as I know that if I'm feeling sluggish and grumpy and the last thing I want to do is run, if I do get myself to a session, I end up feeling so much better and so glad I made the effort. I can't say enough good things about it!! I'll shut-up now! Most of this is thanks to a certain lady's mad ideas!!!! Thank you Samantha Jane Barlow.
"I’m a 38 year old man with an academic kind of job and have never been very fit before. In school I learned that there were smart kids and kids who were good at sport. I would get picked last for the football team I read books. I was a smart kid. So, sport wasn’t something for me and I didn't keep fit through school, university or during the whole of my adult life. Sport, especially running, was for aggressive, angry individuals who enjoyed winning and making other people feel small.
Fitmums and Friends is the kind of organization I would never have thought I’d join. As a sceptic and a critic I can poke fun of the name and what they do but actually, to be part of it, is really quite serious. Training sessions are hard, focused and beneficial. There are qualified coaches and quantified outcomes. You sweat. I’m also awed by members who have been through unpleasant events or suffer serious conditions and yet, continue to run. They operate a shepherding system, whereby the faster runners turn round and come back to pick up the slower runners. It keeps everyone together. There's also a kid's version called Fitmums Juniors, my two kids who are 6 and 8 have both joined and are learning to enjoy running. I wish I'd learned about being fit sooner, but I guess you can't tell some people. At least my kids will see keeping fit as something positive and hopefully something they can enjoy."
"Fitmums made me feel so welcome & has made me a much more confident person & also helped me realise my potential as a half decent runner with my race times getting better all the time along with some great finish positions. Thanks."
"As a Fitmum friend I can say the benefit of having experienced coaches offering excellent advice coupled with relaxed team focussed runs makes Fitmums, I feel, unique as a running club."
"Fitmums makes individual goals reachable. Not just fitness goals but making friends, getting involved and having fun. For me, it has kept me motivated and enthused!"
"Since joining fitmums I have met some great people, made good friends and do something I never thought I would come to love I hate missing the sessions.They make a long run pass quickly. A great way to keep fit and control the weight. Since joining I have taken part in several 10K races and last year took part in the Great North Run."
"It's been great for getting me fit after having my baby. The leaders are fabulous at motivating people and keeping me moving. Also great to get a bit of headspace thanks to child care."
"I really wanted to start running again after having my daughter but never had the motivation. Fitmums means that I can run with a great group of women, however far I feel like that day, chat, exercise & know that my daughter is safe. I want to go every week because it is a great group of people & I look forward to seeing them! There's no pressure & lots of support. It is fab."
"Fitmums is so hard to sum up in words, it’s a smile and a warm feeling in my chest when I try to describe it to other people. I joined wanting to run a couple of miles a week but have done so much more than that with the encouragement and support of group. Not only have I increased the distances I run and become faster, I've learnt so much. Last year I was supported through the run leader course, which has given me so much more than I expected. I thought I was doing the course for the clubs benefit, but I have gained in confidence and learnt new skills as a result of the course. And all of that is before you mention the fabulous people I have met. I really can't imagine life without Fitmums."
"Through Fitmums I have made the most amazing friends, who I would not be without. I have enjoyed amazing race events and 'Bake Off's'. Ran distances and speeds I would have never imagined accomplishing 2 years ago. The launching of Fitmums Juniors is one of the highlights of my time with the club. Training with our junior squad is so rewarding, watching their skills develop with each session. I am so proud to be a Fitmum, I wear my pink top with pride."
- Beverley (East Yorkshire)
- Boothferry (West Hull)
- Cottingham (East Yorkshire)
- Dearne Valley (South Yorkshire)
- Grimsby (N.E Lincs)
- East Hull
- Harrogate (North Yorkshire)
- Hedon (East Yorkshire)
- Withernsea (East Yorkshire)
- York Rose (North Yorkshire)
- In The Pink Support Scheme
- Buggy Sessions
- The Fitmums Choir
- The Fitmums Cycle Squad
- Fitness Walk
Fitmums is an excellent initiative that brings together women to share in the double joys of running and motherhood and support each other while making friendships for life.