In 2013, Suzanne Alcock-Thompson set up a free running group in Swords. She’d been walking the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon for many years, but was determined to up her game and jog it.
“I ran on my own, from lamp post to lamp post around my estate in Swords, but would only go when it was dark at night. Slowly, I tried to teach myself to run but I never got to a full 5k. It was then I decided to start a group called Sloggers To Joggers.”
Suzanne reckoned that if she had support and a reason to keep going, she’d reach her goal. Having begun with herself and five friends, the group now boasts 250 participants, all of whom are fundraising for Snowflakes Autism Support this year. “Our group has 250 active members made up of ages, sizes and fitness levels,” she says. “Our youngest is 16 and the eldest goes right up to the over 60's. We have 5k runners right up to marathon runners.”
She cites her mum as an inspiration to get up and get moving. “I remember as a young girl my mother doing the mini marathon with her friends and sisters, so it is also a special day for families of all ages to come together and take part. The buzz of the mini marathon is unreal, so many women taking to the streets in rain or shine. It’s a great feeling to see your name in print, that you were one of the thousands to take part in such an epic event.”
If you didn’t make it off the sofa this year, Suzanne exhorts you to “make 2017 your year! Do what we did in Feb 2013: we made a 16 week plan to get from couch to 10k and run the mini marathon and we are still going years later.
“Definitely grab a few buddies to join you. Together you can do so much more, like anything in life. It is best to share a goal with someone so you always have each other. Out on runs sometimes if someone feels not in the mood, the others help support them and encourage that person. If you were alone you’d go home and never return to the task, so running friends keep you going on good and bad days. Woman empowering each other does wonders!”