Meet this week’s Teacher Feature…
Name: Helen Witty
Teach: Ages 4 – 18
Years teaching: 21
Time running: 10 months
Favourite distance to run: 10k
I have been at various levels of fitness in my life. From very fit to extreme couch potato. But, I had never tried to run. I believed it was from a lack of stamina; in which there was probably some truth. But the real truth was that I didn’t want people to look at me. If I was to describe my body shape, I’d say, think of a typical runners build, then think of the complete opposite. Comments from passing idiots hit home, though. You can only pass them off as idiots on the surface, but deep down you remember the things that have been shouted at you.
Then, two things happened.
Firstly, being in my forties happened. Now I could not care less if I ran through a crowd of Tom Hardy lookalikes. I’d still be wearing my scruffy old running gear. I enjoy being a woman in my forties. I wish I’d had the confidence to run so freely in my twenties.
Secondly, during the first Covid-19 lockdown, I knew something had to give. Suddenly the whole world was mourning their old lives and freedoms. Like everyone else, things happened during that time that affected my capacity to think straight. So, after doing a lot of walking, I downloaded C25K. Off I went.
” Now I could not care less if I ran through a crowd of Tom Hardy lookalikes. I’d still be wearing my scruffy old running gear. I enjoy being a woman in my forties. I wish I’d had the confidence to run so freely in my twenties. “
The first week was unpleasant. I was so sick after running for just 30 seconds, I started to walk home. I wanted to give up. But, I didn’t. And I’m so glad. Apart from that really tough bit on the programme where all of a sudden they ask you to run 5 minutes or so, I managed it pretty well. I ran at times when no one would see me and in quiet (but safe) places.
I try to get out 3 or 4 times a week but that’s not always possible with school commitments. Speaking of school, I openly shared my journey with the students. They are incredibly supportive and I’ve spurred a few on to run too. Apart from a smirk or two or a “What you? Run?” I like to think that I’m being a role model. I’ve even seen one or two when I’ve been out and about and they cheered me on! I stretched myself in terms of distance and set myself a challenge. At the time of writing I am one week away from a Half Marathon. I’m doing the Edinburgh Virtual Run. I’m scared but I’m absolutely determined.
I have joined a Running Club for women like me. We are all ages, shapes and sizes. We support each other in all ways and I want to thank them all! Hello Herts Girls Can . Also, Teachers Run Club has really helped. It’s so nice and so important to have a strong, genuine support network.
If you had asked me a year ago would I be doing a Half Marathon in May 2021, I’d have laughed. A lot. But here I am. I’m Head of Learning Support & SENDCo in a wonderful school and along my journey I’ve raised and continue to raise much needed funds for AFASIC who do brilliant work.
You know what, it’s like this: I’m never going to be a prima ballerina and I’m certainly never going to beat any world records, but I CAN run. It has strengthened my mental health, my body confidence, and my physical health. I never EVER weigh myself because I don’t care about that anymore. I am able to practice what I preach to my students. I know for sure I could not have managed the turbulence of teaching during the last year without the increased energy running has brought me. Please, if you’re thinking about it, just get out there and just put one foot in front of the other, everything else will follow in time.
Follow the link bellow to support Helen’s fundraising challenge!!!
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