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Couch to 5k course
January - March 2024

Planning for our beginners course starts many months before as we organise how we market the course, set up a volunteer roster from our club members, send out application forms to interested parties, and set up email and WhatsApp circulation groups.

Then the magic starts on week 1 when a group of beginners gather together for the first time with no idea what to expect.

Our courses are limited to 36 as we are only allowed 12 runners to each Leader/Coach and inevitably we have to turn people away which always makes us sad.

Unfortunately due to ill health and injuries we lose a few along the way and one or two find the going a bit tough or realise that it’s not for them.

We also emphasise that to become a runner you need persistency and consistency and that goes for seasoned runners as well as beginners. 

Every week for the full 10 week course, Styal RC members turn up in force to support and encourage the beginners who really do appreciate it.

The course builds gradually and involves coaching about form and style, how to take on hills, a bit of speed work, learning about pacing and every week the group are given a help sheet to build up their knowledge about nutrition, hydration, shoes, kit, avoiding injuries and, most importantly, safety.


Coach, Tony Collier, wasn’t able to run with the group due to a forthcoming knee replacement but coached off a bike instead but that enabled him to support both the groups after we split them into two.

At week 9 we take the group to have a look at the parkrun course so that they know what to expect the following week on graduation day.

Then the big day arrives and the 22 stalwarts who persisted through 10 weeks arrive at Wilmslow parkrun all showing lots of nervous excitement. 

Lots of Styal RC members turn up to support wearing club colours and turning parkrun into a “sea of orange”. 

Every one of the 22 completed the parkrun with two of them dipping under 31 minutes but the course isn’t about times, it’s about finishing the course, completing a 5k and then joining the clubs 5k to 10k progression training on club nights that a good number have committed too.


                                     Tony says “I’ve had some great moments in my running life but find                                                          supporting the beginners group one of the most satisfying things that I’ve                                          ever done in running.”


We hope to run future courses so please check our website for news. 

Here's what some of the course members thought:

‘I cannot recommend the Styal couch to 5k enough.  Tony and the team selflessly dedicate huge amounts of time and energy to run it, it’s great fun & the results have been amazing. Not only have I met a wonderful group of people, but my fitness levels are the highest they’ve been in years.  I’ve managed to run 5k for the first time ever continuously and feel great in myself as well. I really would encourage anyone considering signing up to do so, it has had a very positive impact for me.’

'It has been an absolute pleasure completing the couch to 5k with Tony and Styal RC. From not being able to run for a couple of minutes, to then completing Wilmslow parkrun was beyond my expectation. I feel like I've found my old self again.

The group were so welcoming, being a newbie to the area and a little frightened of the challenge, I soon felt at ease with everyone's warm smiles, enthusiasm and endless encouragement!'


'A massive, heartfelt thanks to you for the couch to 5k course. I have never been a runner. I've tried many times to start running but always give up after a few weeks. Your sessions were so much fun,  and structured so well, that I enjoyed every minute. In January, I couldn't run for more than 30 seconds; I can't believe that 10 weeks later I am able to run 5k. The volunteers were so supportive and helpful and I've met a group of lovely people. Thank you for giving me the running bug! I cannot recommend this course highly  enough.'


'I joined the couch to 5k course to get fit and make new friends; I have done both. The course was brilliant, I have enjoyed every week. What I liked most was the positive and encouraging mentoring which we received, every week was fun and I have slowly built my confidence and fitness over the 10 weeks.  Thankyou to Tony and all the members of Styal Running Club who have supported us, it’s a wonderful community to be part of.'

Claire B

'Starting couch to 5K was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. No matter how much I felt like I couldn’t do it, there was always someone running by my side and encouraging me on.  No one is ever last, it’s a real team effort every step of the way. I’ve never been a sporty person, but I’m now probably the fittest I’ve ever been and have seen a huge improvement to my mental and physical health. If you aren’t sure if it’s for you, just give it a go and you might surprise yourself!'


'I would describe myself as a reluctant runner but was persuaded to sign up to C25k. I can honestly say it has been one of the best things I've ever done. The sessions were really enjoyable, well put together and supported by fantastic volunteers from Styal. We also had homework every week to help us develop into regular runners. I can now run 5k without stopping and walking which I thought would never be possible. I've met some great people who I bump into at parkrun which is brilliant as we can continue supporting each other. The running community is friendly and supportive and I would recommend giving it a go if you're thinking of signing up.'

Clare V 

'This running course is awesome. You are made to feel part of the Styal running family from day 1, everybody is so lovely and friendly. I have met new friends.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve not run before, the volunteers from the club are so encouraging and supportive, you gain confidence in yourself and quickly see the difference in your fitness level.  
The 10 week course is such good fun that you don’t even realise how far you are running, I didn’t ever want to miss a week no matter what the weather was like. 
I can’t thank Styal Running Club enough and would recommend to anybody no matter what fitness level you are or age.'

Jo W

'Running 5k from a standing start in 10 weeks was mission impossible for me until I met the Styal Running Club team.  Inspirational, supportive and a team.  Their commitment to the group and 'never say never' attitude was so inspirational – and I did it! Thank you.'


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