Running enthusiast wants to create ‘aspiration buzz’ to get local residents on the move


Newham resident Nadia Shah has teamed up with England Athletics to run a ‘Couch to 5k’ running group

The Olympic legacy is alive and well in 2016, thanks to the launch of a brand new ‘Couch to 5k’ fitness programme starting this month at Newham Leisure Centre.  Newham residents will get the chance to get fit and have fun this year thanks to local resident Nadia Shah, who has teamed up with England Athletics to show the way to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

“There’s a great sense of achievement when you’ve done a good run, you feel good, and others around you share the sense of achievement,” she says. “They get motivated to set health goals, get to the gym, and get fit.  It creates an aspiration buzz.”

Nadia works in the Academic Registry department at the University of East London (UEL), where she is the coordinator of a running group that is affiliated to the university athletics club. Last year she completed the professional Leadership in Running Fitness Award.  She trains regularly at the state-of-the-art SportsDock gym and fitness centre at UEL, which she says has definitely improved her running.

Nadia, who has been running for nearly 15 years and is also a member of East End Road Runners club, was invited by England Athletics to take charge of a new ‘Couch to 5k’ group, after organising two successful community runs around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on behalf of the American casual dining restaurant, Shake Shack, in Stratford. “Shake Shack is one of my favourite places to eat, so I happily got involved, and even got some free food,” she says. “England Athletics got back in touch, asking if I’d be interested to lead this new ‘Couch to 5k’ group, and I jumped at the chance. I’m all for the community and giving back. I’ve lived in Newham for nearly 30 years.”

England Athletics Run! Athletics Activators for Newham, Coral Nourrice, said, “Nadia has been exceptionally generous with her time, and really turned her passion for running into something positive for other residents in Newham. She’s certainly helped us build strong community links.”

The group will begin in the gym on treadmills to build up their stamina and fitness. Towards the end of the course, Nadia will be taking the group onto the roads, working towards hitting the 5km target.  “It’s really a treadmill-to-track way of getting fit, having fun, and meeting new people,” Nadia enthuses.

Asked what her top three tips are for would-be runners, she suggests investing in a good pair of trainers, being consistent about running goals and thinking about the long-term benefits.  “I ask people what they want in life, and they always include being healthy for themselves and their kids, having more energy, and greater motivation,” says Nadia.

True to her word, Nadia has set herself some lofty goals for the coming year. “I’ve done half-marathons, and I’ve made the decision to do the Amsterdam marathon in October this year. I’d like to do all the major marathons – Venice, Berlin, Athens, and New York, eventually.”

The course offers a choice of three classes per week for a total cost of just £15. Click here to take part.

Photo by Daniel Blackman

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