Running group leader learns to run again


A serious skiing injury could have stopped Sam Palmer (Run England group leader for Sevenoaks Ladies Joggers in Kent) in her tracks, but instead her story serves as an inspiration for runners everywhere.

Runners who have suffered a setback or injury will no doubt be able to relate to Sam’s feelings when, in December 2012, she suffered an injury while skiing and had to undergo reconstruction surgery on her knee, putting her life as a group leader on hold.

Sam (pictured, below right) has encouraged well over 400 ladies take up running over the last few years thanks to her enthusiasm and professional approach which enables beginners to build their confidence and fitness with a friendly and supportive running group.

She said: “It was a very difficult time for me but the group pulled together and thanks to my support coaches, the sessions were kept on track. I worked hard to regain my strength, fitness and more importantly, my confidence both prior to and after the surgery.

Sam Palmer group leader

Like many other passionate and committed Run England group leaders out there, Sam couldn’t sit around for long...

Despite not being able to run, she got back to doing what she does best within four weeks of surgery – and started leading fitball sessions with her runners, which were popular and added an extra dimension to improve the group’s fitness.

In September, Sam finally laced up her running shoes and got back out into the park to lead a group of 43 ladies who had signed up to the Sevenoaks Ladies Joggers beginner course.

Sam celebrated her return to running by dressing up in pink with members of Sevenoaks Ladies Joggers and Oaks Blokes for the week starting 5 October to support Breast Cancer Care week.

The runners proudly wore their Breast Cancer Care t-shirts as they ran through the streets of Sevenoaks and many local residents, inspired by the smiling running group, kindly made donations to support the charity.

“It’s been a thrill to get back out coaching and running again. I have learnt a lot about myself during the time I was injured but more importantly I have learnt once again how it feels to be completing a minute jog, a minute walk,” said Sam.

“I have experienced how exciting and terrifying it can be to start running again and how much the support of an understanding coach really helps. For anyone going through injury at the moment I urge them to do their rehab exercises, stay positive and try to learn from it.  I think in the end it has made me a much better coach.”

Sam is one of many inspirational group leaders across the country who are helping encourage people as they take their first steps in running or jogging. Search for a running group near you at If you live in Kent and you’re interested in setting up or joining a beginner-friendly running group, like Sevenoaks Ladies Joggers, visit

Sam is happy to speak to anyone about her experiences, and you can contact her on

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