How I went from non-runner to running coach!

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Meet Shelley Meyern, a Level 2 Coach in Running Fitness, who has run three marathons to date. However, it’s not always been that way. Shelley didn’t catch the running bug until she was in her 30s, proving that you can start, and excel, at running at any age. This is her story…

From non-runner to first race

I was always sporty, but never a runner. I was diagnosed as asthmatic at the age of 11, and running just always seemed like hard work and never went well. The bleep test at school (don’t remind me!), the cross-country (being chased by dogs and ending up face down in the mud? I’ll forget that too, thanks)… me and running just didn’t seem to work. I stuck to team sports until 2012, the year I turned 30, and it’s been a full-on running adventure ever since!

In 2012, I watched some friends running the Brighton Marathon. I was inspired! Not to run the marathon – that seemed like an impossibility – but to start running. My first goal was a 10K, seven months later on the very same roads those marathoners had trodden back in April! I completed my first parkrun that summer, Tilgate Park in Crawley, and in the November, following a homemade plan, I completed the Brighton 10K.

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I hated that race. I was proud to finish and to raise over £600 for Dementia UK in memory of my Nan, but I paced it wrong and the last couple of KMs were hard work! I swore, literally, I would never do it again.

A few months off over the winter and into the spring, I decided it was worth another go. Something clicked over that spring and, since that point, I can proudly say running is not something I do now just to keep fit. It has impacted so positively on my asthma; I sometimes forget I have it! Running is part of my life, a passion, one that enables me to continually develop myself and now, through my coaching, help others.

Shelley Meyern

Moving forwards

Since that time, I have run more races than I can recall; each medal tells a story. This has included three marathons and over £5,000 raised for charity. My proudest marathon being in 2016 when I snuck under four hours at the London Marathon.

I have also completed my Level 2 Coach in Running Fitness qualification and my Leader in Running Fitness course. I have now helped hundreds of individuals to start running and progress their running. This includes taking someone from zero to marathon within a year. I have run in different countries, made new friends, lost weight and am healthier as a result.

In October 2016, I co-founded Crawley Run Crew, an all-ability club, and we have since gained over 200 members. In November 2018, we were awarded the England Athletics South East Region Club of the Year Award – a truly proud moment.

Shelley Meyern

I now offer freelance running coaching services, as well as maintain my voluntary commitment to the club and also coach locally for Everyone Active. I love progressing my own running, but I love helping others to achieve their goals just as much.

Next up will be a parkrun in Orlando. I mean, if there is one locally on holiday, why not check it out?

Fast facts

Favourite race? The Great South Run! I love a 10-mile distance.

Running mantra: ‘Don’t think. Just run!’

Furthest travelled for a race: Las Vegas Half Marathon – what an experience!

Future goals: To help more people to achieve their goals through running, plus continually improve my own running! I’d also love to do more races abroad and a few are in the plan!

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