Publish date: 27 September 2022

Kielder runner stories - Sarah Muparutisa

I started running properly during the first lockdown of the COVID Pandemic. I had started the Couch to 5K (C25K) back in 2017/18 when I knew that I needed to stay fit, but I had also started my Master’s degree and clinical training as an APNP and the demands of the job and university work choked running out of my schedule - plus I had had a knee injury due to having started running without giving much thought about form and technique and warm up/cool down and rest days - so, I’d given up in week six.

Although I still had the demands of the job and university work, it was during the lockdown that I realised that I needed to be doing something, not only to enhance my physical health but also my mental health.

Northumbria Staff Wellbeing had advertised a C25K where, different people with different abilities and from all walks of life would run virtually and come together on Facebook to share experiences and encourage each other, as well as be in for a chance to win a prize weekly. That was a great incentive!

Team-working within the FB group and with my then 11-year-old daughter certainly enhanced the experience and made me determined to see the 9-week running programme through. I received my very first running medal from the trust and this was the icing on the cake. The trust even acknowledged the efforts of my daughter and gave her a medal too.

Post the 9-week experience, I felt that I just couldn’t go back to the couch and lose everything I built up for 2 months, so I continued running on my own but also still receiving and giving support to our FB running group which became C25K graduates and is still ticking away in the background.

I took part in the Kielder 10K race last year and absolutely loved it, although the hill was a massive challenge. In fact, because of this challenge, I decided, I will be coming back in 2022! The scenery is amazing, the atmosphere gave me a buzz and certainly just being able to complete the race and go past the finish line was so fulfilling.

Warming up is very crucial as it improves blood flow to the muscles and best prepares you for the race and also helps with recovery and injury prevention. Some people achieve this by doing dynamic stretches before a run for 5-7 minutes and/or a mile warm up run.

Cool down stretches are also very important to help with the recovery and injury prevention. Good sleep and diet are crucial for well-being and help in running much better. Exercises that strengthen the core and other muscle groups are also important in achieving a good race, but also for a healthy life and mental well-being.

My advice to you is to do it! You’ll never regret it! The fresh air running, the great atmosphere and the beauty of the environment and the benefits to mental health are so worth it.