Andrew, aged, works as a quantity surveyor and has five children, aged 12, 9, 5, 4 and 1…so he leads a very busy life!

Making time for himself was very difficult and he found that he was putting everyone else first, which of course he didn’t mind, however, he wanted to do something that focused on his health, so he could be there for his family.

When Andrew was younger he had played rugby for a long time at quite a good standard but he had sustained several injuries whilst he was playing and that was part of his driver to stop playing.

Andrew had been physically inactive ever since he stopped playing Rugby and describes himself as ‘pretty unhealthy’. He had tried several activities to try and get back into exercise, but he failed to keep motivated at any of them.

The psychology of an individual sport was what attracted Andrew to running initially and he tried doing ‘Couch to 5k’ and the ‘Couch to Marathon’ via an App but he didn’t enjoy either of them, so he didn’t stick with it.

Then he saw an advert in one of the free papers for the Great East Run programme and so he called Carol.

He was quite nervous and apprehensive when he turned up for the first session and he didn’t know what to expect or what the coaches were going to be like and then he was met by Bridgett and was instantly put at ease within five minutes of being there and he knew he would want to see this programme through.

Andrew recalls “There were elements of the programme that were harder than others such as the homework; the length of running on your own which was difficult, but then we started doing that homework together as a group which made it so much easier.” Andrew strongly believes that the expertise of the coaches shouldn’t be underestimated and they were key to the success of the group.

During the 16-week programme, Andrew slept much better and felt altogether healthier. He would look forward to getting out and running – it became addictive. He lost a little bit of weight during the programme but that wasn’t part of his motivation. His motivation was to improve his physical fitness, his mental health and importantly he wanted to feel like he used to feel when he was playing rugby and he hadn’t felt that way for years.

Andrew said, “When you run in a group you’re out with people for a couple of hours and you run slower so you can talk through it and that’s deliberate because it helps with your cardio, so you get to know people quite well, the running becomes a social event in itself and this helps so much with the team spirit.”

“Throughout the programme, at any point when I felt like I was struggling or not in a good place – the coaches would just know and they would instantly, have a chat with you, make you laugh or give you a big hug and within seconds – you felt back on track.

You take the lessons you learn from the coaches and they stick with you.” On the day of the Great East Run, he did struggle with the heat as it got hotter and hotter, but he completed it in 2 hours and 47 minutes and he felt euphoric.

“I wanted to make sure we all kept running together or those of us that wanted to and so off the back of this programme, we’ve created a new running group to keep the momentum going and we just sort it out through Facebook and organise a run somewhere, based on what people want.”

“The programme has got me into a habit of doing physical activity again. Ironically, I didn’t do it to be part of a team sport, but I’ve come out with a brilliant team around me – a team that I run with.”

Andrew is still running independently and with the group and is determined to carry on doing organised runs. He has completed the Landmark half marathon since the Great East Run, and he’s planning on doing the Twilight and the Great East Run again in 2019.

In 2020 he wants to try and do a full marathon.

“The experience has made me learn to think about myself a little bit more and look after my own health which in turn allows me to look after the people I love.”

Great East Run outreach programme

Delivered by Suffolk County Council and supported by, Active Suffolk, Allied Health Professionals, COES, and the University of Suffolk the programme supports inactive residents, who want to make a positive change to their physical activity levels, using a mass participation challenge as their motivation.

The programme, provides 16 weeks of supported coaching, encouragement, fast-track physiotherapy support, gait analysis, exclusive discounts on running equipment, nutrition advice and entry to the Great East Run ½ marathon.

The programme is open to people over the age of 18 who are classified as inactive, doing less than 1 x 30 mins of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week.

More information on the programme and how to apply for a place can be found on the Active Suffolk website.

Many of the programme’s previous participants are continuing to exercise on a regular basis and have made a positive change to their health and physical activity levels.

Read more case studies

Subscribe to our updates

Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates from the Most Active County team

You have Successfully Subscribed!