From Beginner to Volunteer Run Leader – Dan’s Story

Dan
had never focused on his health and wellbeing. He had struggled with his weight
since his teenage years and had battled with low self-esteem.

At
his heaviest, Dan weighed over 22 and a half stone. Despite losing some weight,
he struggled to maintain his weight loss and found himself putting it back on
again after a few months.

Dan
was introduced to run-leader Taz at the Edgbaston Reservoir run group, after
his fiancé encouraged him to join. He was weary, and felt self-conscious about attending,
but was pleasantly surprised when he was met by friendly faces and
encouragement.

“Because
of my weight I had always been judged. I thought ‘Are people going to judge me?
What are they going to think? Am I going to be too slow?’ But it was the total
opposite to what I thought.”

“The
group were fantastic and everyone was so friendly. They didn’t judge me for how
far I went or how fast I was, it was just the taking part and getting active
that mattered.”

Dan began to attend the run group every week, and
began to see improvements.
He started getting better week by week, running a little
further each time and also running without taking breaks or stopping.

 

As
well as improving his physical health, running gave Dan the boost he needed to
feel better mentally. He adds:
“For people
suffering with their mental health, get them out in open spaces, go for a run,
out for a walk around the block. Just get out, it will help you.”

 

Being
part of the run group gave Dan the support he needed to keep running
regularly. With a healthy diet and encouragement from the group,
he was able to lose a
significant amount of weight and keep it off.

 

Dan not
only runs 3 times a week, but has now built up his confidence and ability
enough to
volunteers as a run leader for his local run group.
Leading the run session something he never thought he’d be able to do.
He explains:

 

“I’d always been shy
and found it difficult to approach new people. Once I started volunteering, all
that changed. I was able to welcome new walkers or runners to the group,
without feeling uncomfortable.

“The smiles on people’s
faces and their sense of pride is what keeps me going, week in week out. 
I would recommend volunteering to anyone; it’s a great way to meet new people
and brings you out of your shell.”

3 years later, Dan
still runs regularly and cannot imagine his life without running and physical
activity.
Since beginning his running journey,
he has even gone on to take
part in 10k runs, half marathons and even full
marathons raising over £1000 for charity. Dan adds:

 “My run journey
has really boosted my confidence. I’ve managed to do things I’ve never done
before.
I’ve
made so many new friends while running, it has truly changed my life.”

 

Interested in getting involved in a social running group? There are lots of group sessions all over the city, such as the Hall Green Monday Evening Running group. 

Click Here to find out more about run groups that are local to you!  

 

(Dan pictured in purple)
Zaima Khaliq
Author: Zaima Khaliq