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Teenagers encouraged to sign up for Couch to 5K programme

Runners including JEP editor Andy Sibcy and his daughter (right) take part in the new Couch to 5k programme

ARE you struggling to get your teenage son or daughter off the sofa – or possibly that gaming chair – for some healthy exercise?

If so, help will soon be at hand. Next week, Move More ӣƵ, a government-sponsored initiative to promote healthier lifestyles, is launching a Couch to 5k programme designed specifically for teenagers – and they are looking for young people who want to sign up.

“We know that physical activity provides multiple benefits especially connected to mental health, and this year we are teaming up with Run for Kezia to deliver a Teenage Couch to 5k pilot programme,” course co-ordinator Claudia Andrade, who is the inclusion and intervention officer at ӣƵ Sport, explained.

“This will start during the second week of July and finish in the first week of September, just in time for the Run for Kezia, which takes place on Sunday 15 September. It’s all about having fun, socialising and creating new friendships.”

The programme for teenagers will complement the successful and long-running Couch to 5k course for adults, a free nine-week get-fit regime aimed at people who have never run before or need support to get started on their running journey, taking them to being able to run or run/walk 5k.

“The aim of the programme is to take participants from being a complete beginner to running to being able to complete at least 30 minutes, approximately four-five kilometres, of continuous running or run/walking, in just nine weeks,” Claudia said.

“It’s not about speed. The idea is to get people used to running in a fun and supportive environment. Our team of qualified run leaders and assistant run buddies will support everyone from week one throughout their journey.”

To date this year, 217 people have succeeded in going from the couch to crossing the 5k line.

Volunteer run leader Elaine Brady started helping out in 2022.

“It’s no secret that I love running, so I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to share my passion with other people,” she said. “I’m a huge believer in the physical and mental benefits gained from physical activity. I have a young family so for me it is very important that we encourage and educate more people on these benefits to help the next generation be a more active generation.

“One of the best ways of doing this is leading by example. As run leaders, we are here to guide our runners and to give them the self-belief that they can run 5k. It is such a pleasure to watch their journey over the course of nine weeks, seeing their determination and hard work paying off.

“I say to people that if there is even a small part of you that thinks you can do something, whether that is taking your first step embarking on a new activity or volunteering, then give it a go. What have you got to lose? Chances are, you might even enjoy it.”

Details

– Mixed-group run: Tues 9 July-Tues 3 September. Meet at 4pm at the Freedom Tree. Sessions last for one hour.

– Girls-only run: Thurs 11 July-Thurs 5 September. Meet at 4pm at the Freedom Tree. Sessions last for one hour.

– For information, visit movemore.je/run-more or email claudia.andrade@jerseysport.je

Andy’s experience

The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak (…and the mind easily distracted).

I have been meaning to embark on a get-fit journey for as long as I can remember but, with children and work, I have never quite found the time.

A chance conversation in the office with Elaine Brady, who recently joined the company, changed everything – and last week I graduated with my first ӣƵ parkrun. And I loved it.

I signed up to the course having talked my daughter (11) into coming along with me for moral support.

It was great fun from the outset. The volunteer leaders were very welcoming and knowledgeable.

Our group was a diverse selection of people of all ages, shapes and sizes.

Often the hardest part about getting off the couch is breaking established routines and forming a new habit. The course was just the incentive I needed to get me started.

The other great thing about it was learning how to warm up my 49-year-old body.

Elaine, Claudia, Mindy and the other volunteers coached us through warm-up routines – and do you know what, it really helps.

My daughter also loved it. I couldn’t recommend it more. Maybe see you at parkrun sometime soon…

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