Couch-2-couch to Couch-2-5k to Leader!


Beth Hart started running with a beginners' group in Sawston, south of Cambridge, three years ago. 

At first she thought she was struggling and not improving because of her age (51) or just being unfit. However, when she began to notice heart palpitations she visited her GP, was referred to Papworth Hospital and diagnosed with Ventricular Outflow Tract Ectopy.

She said, "Basically I was having 6,000 extra heartbeats a day which explained all the debilitating symptoms I was experiencing. I had a 7 month wait for an operation. During that time I was unable to do any exercise as I felt so ill. There was a lot of sitting around and eating-more like Couch2couch than Couch25k."

Following a successful catheter ablation 6 months later at Papworth, Beth asked if she could take up running as she had seen a leaflet at the nearby National Trust property Wimpole Hall advertising an Introduction to Running group which looked ideal.

Beth continued, "In August 2014 I joined the running group at Wimpole Hall and ran for 18 weeks in all weathers and thoroughly enjoyed the sense of achievement and also the amazing health benefits. I started running the Wimpole Parkrun with an initial time of 38:58 .I have recently run my 31st Parkrun and now have a PB of 33:21.I have become a little obsessed and try to fit in Parkruns whilst on holiday. In April I ran the Aberystwth parkrun and in August I got my fastest time at Clonakilty in Ireland (33:06).  I also ran the Hoohah 10K at Wimpole in May 2015."

When the leader was unable to carry on Beth was asked if she thought she would like to train as a run leader and after a short deliberation thought it was a great idea.  In September 2015 she helped to run a beginners' 10 week running course at Wimpole as a volunteer.

To be able to give something back as a volunteer and help others to gain confidence in trying a new sporting activity at any age has been a very powerful confidence booster for Beth. "I tell those people who come along and worry that they cannot run by saying that just over a year ago I was in their shoes and if I can do it, then so can they!"

She concludes, "I will never be the speediest runner and I will usually be red in the face towards the back of the field  of runners, but to be running through glorious countryside and still be able to hold a conversation with someone beats sitting at home and thinking I wish I could do that!"

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