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Everyone active, enjoying sport
and achieving their personal best

How Jog Leader Gaynor Lost Five Stone

Gaynor Bickley from Chaddesden, Derby has set up Jog Oakwood near Derby with her friend Caroline Rusga. They describe themselves as "middle-aged Mums who've lost the equivalent of a human being in weight" between them since starting to jog.

If you've ever wanted to jog, but been worried about not being fit enough or not looking good in lycra, read on. Gaynor and Caroline are a true inspiration.

Gaynor leads a run.

Why I started

I joined a gym and as part of the membership I had a half hour personal training session a week. I was allocated a brilliant personal trainer, Pim who took me outdoors for my sessions.

It was a strange feeling I'd been a member of a gym for years but never exercised outdoors. She took me jogging and I just found I really, really loved it. I loved the outdoors.

What I hoped to achieve

I was really overweight when I started running so my ultimate goal was to lose weight. I have since lost five stone and still have a fair way to go. I am probably the fittest I've been in my adult life.

In my head I'm an athlete. Who knows what I can or will achieve? I high five myself every time I overtake someone younger than me in a race. Although I guess my goals have changed in that I want to share with others what I have found.

I feel like I have found a secret that I want to share with everyone. I know running isn't for everyone but I want to find all the people it is for, who aren't currently doing it, and spread the word.

Ganor is spreading the word about jogging.

About Jog Oakwood

Jog Oakwood has only been running for six weeks or so. We are based at Springwood Leisure Centre in Oakwood, Derby.

Our routes cover much of Oakwood - a local housing estate which has some fabulous park areas, as well as Bluebell Wood which is a lovely, almost exactly 1km circular route.

Our group has grown from a group of six or seven to twenty in just those few weeks. We are aimed at beginners.

We use the walk/run method. So we jog for one minute, then walk for one minute. Everyone in the group seems to really enjoy this method of training.

Who comes to the jog group

Although we are aimed at beginners, we will never turn anyone away. The sessions are such that the faster ones can go slightly ahead but then they run back to meet the rest of the group to ensure everyone has a good session and no one feels pressurised to keep up.

The best feedback I have had is that people keep coming back. What I'm also astounded by is that they have also been turning up for the local (Saturday morning 5k) Darley parkrun. Everyone in the group is so supportive and friendly.

I love seeing people enjoying running, being in good company and being part of a supportive group. Although we have only been together for a few weeks I know we are going to go far.

Members of the Jog Oakwood Group.

Being a jog leader

I run sessions with Caroline Rusga. Caroline has undertaken the UK Athletics Jog Leader course this weekend and runs the group with me.

We are not the typical jog leaders in that we are middle aged mums whose children are older now and although we have lost a human being in weight between us we still have quite a bit to lose.

However we run, we do stuff and never stop. We laugh a lot. In the last year I have done four 10ks (including one in Barcelona), two half marathons as well as lots of 5ks. We both have places in the Great North Run Half Marathon and are in the ballot for the London Marathon.

We are also bloggers. With our blog page we lovingly call fat2fitbitch.com we have quite a few followers. We are also on Twitter @fat2fitbitch and we also have a Facebook group (facebook.com/groups/Jogfit/)

Start jogging with Jog Oakwood

Every Wednesday, 7pm Springwood Leisure Centre, Derby DE21 2RQ. (Full Details on JOG Derbyshire Jog group search).

Or call or email Gaynor.Bickley@ntlworld.com / 07879 054043.

You can also click on the relevant link to find your nearest JOG Derbyshire group or sign up.