BBC WM wants businesses across the West Midlands to join them on the ‘Get Moving’ campaign …encouraging everyone to move a bit more and live happier and healthier lives!(more…)
As you may have already heard – heroic groups from across the West Midlands will be receiving special recognition at local Cross City line stations this summer.
We’re delighted to announce Run Birmingham / Big Run Project has been
given the title of Cross City Heroes, following a competition run by West Midlands Railway and West Midlands Rail Executive.
The awards celebrate 40 years of passenger services on the Cross City line between Lichfield, Birmingham and Redditch/Bromsgrove. The two organisations have been on the lookout for deserving community groups and charities near to every local station along the route – with a final list of 24 being drawn up.
Passengers, residents and railway staff have been submitting nominations for local clubs, charities and other groups that have made a real impact on their local area.
Fay Easton, head of stakeholder and community for West Midlands Railway, said: “We have received a fantastic range of nominations for our Cross City Heroes competition, and the final 24 are a really deserving list of winners. The route is key to connecting people across the city, and there is so much going on around stations on the line. We want to thank everyone who submitted nominations, but more importantly to our winning groups for everything they contribute to their local communities.”
Run Birmingham / Big Run Project will receive a plaque of recognition at Chester Road Railway Station.
A huge well done to Taz, Sally, Clinton and Adam and all the dedicated volunteers who support the programme.
My name is Sabrina. I have always been interested in sport but due to my social anxiety I haven’t been as a active as I would have liked. Until recently, I didn’t participate in any organised physical activity.
I began running in March 2017 on International Women’s Day. Shortly afterwards I joined Run Birmingham to learn how to improve my running. Running within the company and safety of a group allowed me to continue running by keeping me motivated and providing me accountability. I also learnt technical things like how to maintain a steady pace, warm-up and cool down properly and control my breathing.
I began running because at work I was involved in delivering some sporting events as part of the Sport England’s hugely successful ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. Being involved in physical activity again re-ignited my childhood passion and joy in sport. It reminded me how naturally- talented I was at sport. Seeing many people who were like me and were also interested in sport and having fun inspired me to sign up to the 5km run on International Women’s Day. When organising and delivering the ‘This Girl Can’ events I realised people don’t judge you as much as you judge yourself and most, if not all people, are very supportive.
After running my first ever run I discovered many other people who were just like me; from an Asian background, Muslim and women with similar body types as me who loved and could run! Some women who were larger than me finished before I did, as did some older women. They weren’t super-fit, super-competitive, super-models but normal, average-sized women who had similar fitness levels as I did. Which proves that anyone can be a runner or an active person.
I thought it would be hard as an adult, especially as a woman, to find people to exercise with, but Run Birmingham provided me with my network of women who became my family and who I exercise and have fun with.
I like that the sessions are structured but also uncompetitive. They fill a gap for those like me who aren’t ready to run alone but find running clubs too intimidating and pressurising to join.
The run leader is very knowledgeable, inspiring and tailors the runs to the individuals within the group keeping the runs exciting and different.
The social element of being part of a community is also very important. The running is even sometimes secondary to the social aspect of meeting friends for a catch-up.
I am now one of the stronger runners and can easily manage running 5k but I still enjoy running the C25K programme with the group. The Run Leader accommodates faster runners as well as those who prefer to walk. They aren’t pressured into running or jogging until they are ready.
The Run Leader is so supportive he ran alongside me at a race and I managed to improve my PB time.
Since starting running I have overcome my fear of trying new things and running has greatly improved my social anxiety and negative thinking. I feel able to communicate with others more openly and effectively.
If you are looking to start your well-being journey I would advise you to;
- Find a group or persuade your family or friends to join you. I find it’s easier to accomplish something together as a group rather than on your own.
- Stick to it, as it gets better, I promise you. It took me 7 runs to start enjoying it.
- Don’t push yourself too hard at the beginning of your well-being journey as you won’t enjoy your running as much, as when you move at your own pace ( as I started doing from run 8 onwards!)
- Be flexible in your approach, don’t kick yourself if you miss a run or two or three! Run Birmingham run leaders are very accommodating and understanding – you don’t need to attend every session if you’re unable to. Same with any other activities you do, if life gets in the way of your workouts, let it but don’t give up. Get back on track as soon as you are able.
Enjoy the journey towards a healthy lifestyle don’t become fixated on a target whether that be a personal best or a weight loss goal. Well-being is more than a number, it’s a feeling, a family and connection and a movement.
I ran Solihull Half Marathon on Sunday and for those that asked how it went you would probably have received the response “My head wasn’t in it”. Like many I have a lot going on at the moment and have been struggling to stay on an even keel. Running is usually a good leveler for me but my running mojo also appears to have taken a holiday (hopefully just a mini break), so I’ve been feeling very low.
I woke up Sunday morning feeling knackered and not wanting to run. I felt off as the previous night I hadn’t even set my kit out with my race number so didn’t feel particularly prepared. I usually do this so that 1. I don’t forget anything in the morning (have a picture as my checklist), and 2. it helps mentally prepare me for the race ahead. Usually I am nervous and excited. I felt a lot of nothing on Sunday but running usually helps so got up and went anyway.
So I ran (asthma triggered at around 8k which didn’t help), got to about 11k then just wanted to be done. It then felt like the longest 10k of my life to finish that race! I walked loads, totally lost my head over it. Music wasn’t helping, I felt pretty miserable, everything started hurting and all of my stresses seemed to flood in and fog up my mind and my run. Didn’t think I had it in me to finish, couldn’t really chat to anyone else either as I was struggling to breathe. Had a high five from a spectator which spurred me on for about 600m, but the will soon dissipated. With 2k to go a fellow runner said to me as he ran past whilst I was walking (again!), you’re doing great keep going. Really needed that lift. So I picked my sorry butt up and ran. Didn’t feel like I was moving at all but I did it and I finished. Didn’t feel particularly elated at the end other than the fact that it was actually over.
Luckily for me, I was sent a link to check my happiness pulse by a colleague on the Friday relating to another piece of work. It’s a great tool to check in with yourself on different aspects of your life that can affect your happiness. By doing the survey it helped me to realise that not everything in my life was rubbish but a certain area could do with some (a lot of) work. In many ways it lessened the load somewhat. When it felt like everything was awful, I was quite overwhelmed. Recognising that the issues were in one particular area of my life helped. It didn’t feel then like the sky was falling in. Some massive rainclouds maybe but lucky enough to have some people and things around me to provide little pockets of cover. I’ve found that part of being able to move forward and out of the fog has been to recognise and then accept what’s really going on rather than lumping everything all in together and feeling like it’s all rubbish. It helps to recognise those little bits of sparkle and hopefully they will start to shine into other parts of your life.
So, for me, yes I struggled on my run on Sunday and didn’t really enjoy the majority of it. However:
1. I completed
it, I didn’t call an uber to take me home (I did consider this). I ran/walked
the whole way so earned that medal and t-shirt.
2. I did notice some pretty things whilst running along the country lanes, explored a new area and both received and gave support along the way.
3. On Wednesday an old injury flared up in my hip so at that point I didn’t know if I would be able to run. So to then go and run/walk a half marathon, that’s good going by anyone’s standards.
4. It may not have been my fastest half marathon but it certainly wasn’t my slowest so I actually did better than I perceived, even with so much walking. Stronger than I realised.
It’s been good to look back and reflect on this and find the positives even though it didn’t feel great at the time. I think having done the happiness pulse and being shown that it wasn’t everything that was horrible and there were positives, it helped gain some sort of balance and perspective. I know that in reality I am tired and have achieved some great running goals this year already and it’s hard to sustain a high. So for me, stepping back from races for a while and changing my focus will be beneficial. Although tough at the time, I am glad I ran. Lots of lessons learnt and I know I’d have regretted it if I stayed home.
I am sharing this to show that we all have “bad” runs sometimes, often pictures don’t show the real story, but it’s better to be out there giving it a go than sitting on the sofa. It’s probably not as bad as you think so it can be good to take a step back and check out our happiness health. Hopefully it will lessen the overwhelming feeling of sadness and help identify areas that may need more attention so we can find tools to help make them feel better.
If you want to check your happiness pulse you can do so here: https://app.happinesspulse.org/pulse/1da17410/birmingham . It will not only help you (hopefully) but will also help The Active Wellbeing Society check out the happiness health of the city so that we can ensure the services that we offer will continue to support both physical and mental health.
Congratulations if you got to the end… I hope that by sharing this may help at least 1 person. We often see the phrase “it’s okay to not be okay” but then folk don’t talk about it, so I have.
By Sally, Run Activator
If you are interested in joining Sally or any other of our Activators and Volunteers check out our activities page at
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated every year on March 8. It’s a day where women are recognised for their achievements and an opportunity to push for more gender equality.(more…)
By Run Birmingham Activator Sally Bynoe
As you may already know, a lot of the work that we at The Active Wellbeing Society is to do is with people starting out on their exercise journey. With Run Birmingham, we work to support those taking their first steps and often have Couch to 5k running programmes taking place across throughout the year. If you don’t know much about the programme, it’s basically a good introduction into running and you start with lots of walking and just a little bit of light running to get you going.
In those early weeks, it’s about using your legs in a
different way and engaging different muscles. I’m not going to lie, it will
probably hurt a little as you’re using muscles that you probably didn’t even
know you had but it is well worth it!
Lots of things will probably come into your head, “my feet/legs hurt”, “I can’t breathe”, “I can’t run”, “what will people think if they see me out trying to run?”, “I’m too slow”. All of these things are absolutely normal and pop into most people’s minds. It’s something new and it’s ok to recognise there’s a bit of fear. Remember, when you start something new you need to learn how to do it. You’re not going to be a top athlete just because you’ve decided you’re going to run. Also look to the reason you decided to start, and try to see ahead to how you will feel once you achieve your goal.
Once you complete a session you will hopefully feel a sense
of pride and satisfaction. You’ve just achieved something you didn’t think that
you could. It’s your first building block, so the following session when you
return, try to remember how you felt at the beginning of the previous session
and remember, you can do it, you’ve done it before!
It can take a little while to settle in when you start running and it’s always ok to walk if you need to. The programme builds slowly so initially it’s about learning to use your legs differently, what to do with your arms and how to breathe when you have a slight bounce in your step. It can feel a slow process but I promise you, that you will be making progress.
It’s good to check in with your body from session to session. You’ll find that something that was hurting before might not be hurting as badly the next time or you go a little further or a little faster. This usually happens without you noticing and as a Run Activator I like to highlight this so you can see the changes are coming.
A great thing to do is to get a jar and fill it with notes
of your successes. Don’t forget, you’re already winning by putting your
trainers on and stepping outside of the front door intended to get moving. This
is a great tool to keep motivated as when you recognise the small successes,
they soon become big!
S from Shard End, Couch to 5k, week 4, run 1.
“I can’t believe I’ve just run for 5 minutes and my back isn’t hurting!”
you are interested in opportunities to exercise The Active Wellbeing Society
can help you, check out our activities here
Here’s Cheryl, 44 from Birmingham. This is her Run Birmingham story:
“I volunteer for the Real Junk Food Project here in Birmingham and that got me thinking about my health and wellbeing. I was focusing on what I was eating but I couldn’t remember the last time I did any exercise.
“Having four children and three grandchildren, I felt that I was not finding enough time in the day for me, never mind exercising.
“Now that the children and grandchildren are getting older, I decided to make a change and make time for exercise. My main goal was to lose a little bit of weight and tone up my mummy tummy.
“When my grandchildren’s school held a ‘couch to 5k’ programme I decided that this was the goal I needed to work towards! I was so proud of myself for doing it and have been running with Run Birmingham ever since.
“Joining the ‘5k group’ is the best decision I’ve ever made and I have achieved so much. I’ve lost weight, I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been and I have even completed a half marathon. I can now say that I enjoy running. That’s something I never thought I would say.
“I keep running because of the other people in my group. They are so inspirational. I’ve never really been much of a fan of exercise but running as a group is different. It gives you the push you need and you feel better after every single run.”
Inspired by Cheryl’s story? Find an activity to suit you. Go to https://theaws.co.uk/activities/ and load up which day and type of exercise that suits you and find your nearest group:
Here’s Sadaf, 41 from Birmingham. Before she came across our running project, Sadaf says she never believed she could become a runner and struggled to run for 30 seconds without feeling out of breath. Here’s her running story…
“I was feeling really stressed so I began walking with friends in the neighbourhood as a way to relax and lose weight when we encountered local activator Taz Parvaz at our park.
“We enquired about running as Taz was leading a group and he welcomed us to that running group in an amicable way.
“The fact that it’s free helped me decide to come along and pluck up the courage to get involved. After all, I had nothing to lose from trying it out.
“Running has made me feel happier and helped me find friends from my local area. My running group is great. We are comfortable with each other and understand that we all have different running abilities. The social aspect of running is amazing and it is something I look forward to every week.
“The run leaders are there to help and support everyone by motivating and encouraging the group to persevere, helping to change any doubts you had before about running.
“Running makes you fitter, stronger and happier. Your life problems might not go away but running makes you feel better about yourself and your outlook of the world becomes more positive. Well that’s how it makes me feel at least!”
Do you want to feel comfortable trying a new activity just like Sadaf? www.theaws.co.uk/activities
If you haven’t already heard, Stechford arts trail launched in July 2018 and is a new art and walking trail with sites dotted around the East Birmingham neighbourhoods of Stechford, Glebe Farm and North Yardley.
All 10 new public art pieces have been created with the help of residents, community groups and local partners. Along with two existing pieces, Arts In The Yard have formed a free, fun and family-friendly art trail that is best explored on foot.
All artists are Birmingham based with many having links to the trail area. The project is delivered by Arts In The Yard; a grassroots, community-led arts organisation who are part of the city’s Local Arts Forum network supported and funded by No. 11 Arts and Birmingham City Council.
This Saturday Stechford Neighbourhood Forum are offering 3 chances to come and get involved, no need to book, just turn up!
Stechford Art Trail – Super Saturday
Saturday 27th October
11.45am – 1.15pm /// St Edburgah’s Church /// B33 8PD
Join Arts In The Yard and Run Birmingham for a led walk of the art trail, suitable for adults and families, meet at St Edburgah’s Church
1.00pm – 3.00pm /// The Green, outside North Star Pub /// B33 8BD
Stechford Sounds Half Term Jam
Free music, food and activities at Stechford’s Bandstand
2.00pm – 3.00pm /// Glebe Farm Library /// B33 9NA
Free Halloween Craft suitable for families
For more information about the event contact Tahir Parvaz on 07903 789665 or email email@example.com
For other information about local activities please visit our activities page here