Louise was inspired by her children to be a fit and healthy mum and in 2014 she started her journey. Louise took part in a range of activities within the Health and Wellbeing programme delivered at Truro & Penwith College, and also used technology by downloading the Couch to 5k app to help. She heard about the 'This Girl Can' Campaign last year and thought it was amazing, so when she saw the advert for coaches she decided this was something she wanted to be part of. She wanted to help other women who felt like she did, and show them that their goals can be achieved with a little hard work and encouragement. Louise has now lost 6 stone, dropped 5 dress sizes and is now running a weekly running group for females.
Read her full story below!
"In the summer of 2014 I had dropped my son off at the local youth club and me and my daughter went for a walk. She started to run around shouting 'catch me mummy', but I found I couldn't catch her. I was really out of breath and found it difficult to run, I was also really overweight. For me that was the push I needed to realise I wanted to be a different kind of role model for my kids. I wanted them to see a fit and healthy mum and I wanted to enjoy running around with them.
I work at Truro College and discovered the Health Wellbeing and Sport programme where staff and students could access a range of activities during lunch time and after work, so I signed myself up for a spinning class. It was hard, and I couldn't walk properly for 3 days afterwards, but I went back the following week. It was here where I met Julian, the College's Sports-maker, who gave me loads of advice and encouragement.
I also decided to download the Couch to 5k running app after talking to some friends who had recently started running. At first I never thought I would be able to run, I felt so unfit, but the app was great and I only had to run for about 30 seconds at a time to start with. I gradually built it up and before I knew it I was running for 10 minutes continuously, although very slowly. I persevered and worked up to 5k. It was an amazing feeling when I realised I had run 3 miles.
It was at this point I was considering my first 5k race, but I was really nervous. Emma, head of the sports department at college encouraged me to take part and offered to run with me to help me train.
We started to run during lunchtime at work and I managed to get a pretty good time. Then, 1 week before my race I had a really bad fall and ended up in A&E with 2 torn ligaments in my ankle. I was totally gutted. All that hard work and I was going miss my race. I really was heartbroken.
However, by this time I had also lost about 4 stone and there was no way I was going to let all that hard work go to waste. I picked myself up and listened to all the advice I had been given about recovery and got back in the gym, doing every exercise I could to maintain my fitness without putting added pressure on my ankle.
Gradually I started to heal and after 10 weeks I was ready to run. More determined than ever I decided to enter another race. This time I wanted a new challenge though, so I opted for a 10k night run around the Burrator Reservoir in Dartmoor! I hadn't run in the dark before so I bought a head torch and some high-vis running gear and started practising. I completed the run and the feeling was overwhelming. I was hooked! I wanted to do more and entered myself into lots of other races. I also managed to complete the original 5k race.
Emma and I continued to run and a few other colleagues started to join us. Before I knew it we had a little regular running group. I had also lost more weight, now totalling 6 stone and had dropped 5 dress sizes.
Friends and colleagues heard about my achievements and started to ask me for advice about healthy eating and running. I was also invited to become a volunteer sports activator for the college and asked to lead a running group for staff and students.
I heard about the 'This Girl Can' Campaign last year and thought it was amazing, so when I saw the advert for coaches I decided this was something I wanted to be part of. I wanted to help other women who felt like I did and show them that their goals can be achieved with a little hard work and encouragement.
I am still looking for new challenges. I have just completed my first half marathon and I am looking to do a full one within the next couple of years."