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Name: Emma Wood
Age: 36
Role: Run Leader, RunTogether Highbridge Ladies Running Club

Emma began running in 2014 as a way of fundraising to give back to the Air Ambulance team who had saved her father after an incident. Emma took part in the Royal Marines Commando Challenge, and managed to raise £220. 2014 continued to be a hard year for Emma when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her mother motivated her to take part in a half marathon in 2015 to raise money for the Macmillan nurses who were caring for her. While caring for her mother in her remaining few months, training for the half marathon allowed Emma to clear her head and have some ‘me time’ during a difficult period in her life.

Three months after her mother passed away in January 2015, Emma completed the half marathon and raised over £1,000 for Macmillan. Having promised her mother that she would fill her time with helping others in the absence of the time spent caring for her mother, Emma continued to take part in running events to help fundraise for worthwhile causes.Emma was running at a local running club when she found out about RunTogether and the possibility of completing the Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) qualification. The qualification, delivered by England Athletics, allows her to deliver safe and fun running sessions for others.

Having earned this qualification, Emma set up a ladies-only beginners RunTogether group in Highbridge in March 2017, with 31 ladies attending the first session. Just six months on, the group has already proven to be a great success. Adopting the ‘looping back’ policy means that no-one gets left behind and the group stays together as much as possible. Emma summarises her experience as a Run Leader, commenting: “Volunteering my time as a Run Leader gives me something completely priceless that money could never buy; the deep-down sense of pride you get from not only helping others run, but improving their health and fitness, forming friendships and watching how other people grow.” 

Emma loves to watch the members of RunTogether Highbridge Ladies Running Club take on challenges that they never would have thought possible, and has no plans to stop running herself: “I absolutely love that running gives me not only the ability to gain head space and fresh air but also the ability to help others whether that’s as Run Leader, running buddy or fundraising for something important to the people that are important to me.” 

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