School cleaner gains good vibes when she joins School Gates running group

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Lynn Bridgman is the cleaner at Stanbridge school. She had not run for over 40 years but found joining the local School Gates running group a real outlet for her and a chance to get fit, make new friends and feel good!  Here's her story.

It had been over forty years since I'd put on a pair of running shoes, but after talking to James Baker, a teacher at Stanbridge Primary school in Bristol who is involved in running, I decided to give it a go again.  I am a cleaner at the school and I agreed to go on a taster session arranged by the School Gates running group led by Melissa Cooke.

To my surprise, I really enjoyed it and after several sessions I found myself being able to run 5k at the local parkrun, all with the support of the other School Gates runners.  Not only had I made some new friends but I was getting fit as well and I felt good about myself.

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With James' enthusiastic encouragement I found myself joining the Stanbridge Fliers, a running group he'd just set up with his friend Matthew Mundy.  I was very apprehensive about this, as apart from knowing anyone and probably being the oldest there (60!), I had visions of myself being left behind.  In hindsight I had nothing to worry about, as everyone was so friendly and it didn't matter what level of running you were at because everyone helps and encourages each other. Needless to say, it didn't take me long to feel part of this 'good vibe group'.

Running has made me feel fitter and given me more energy in my daily life. I have more confidence in myself and it just gives me a good feeling inside.  I have exceeded my own expectations of myself and I have made some very good friends.

Since January when I began, I have run several 5k parkruns, the Race For Life, the Bristol 10k and a run across the Severn Bridge into Wales.  My next goal is the Bristol Half Marathon in September (I am now up to twelve miles in my training plan!) and maybe, just maybe, a marathon in the foreseeable future.

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