Meet this week’s Teacher Feature…
Name: Kerry Finley
Role in school: Subject lead of Geography
Years teaching: 21!!
What’s your favourite distance to run: 10-15km
How long have you been actively commuting for? since March 2020
How far is your journey? Approximately 10km each way
“‘Running: You may not always want to, but you’ll ALWAYS be glad if you go!’…”
21 years of teaching also marks my 21 years of running.
I vividly remember my first run, as it was a Race for Life 5km at Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield with one of my fellow trainee Geography teachers. We had trained a bit around Crookes Valley Park but had not taken it too seriously and I found the event itself quite tough. But so began my running journey and here I am today over 2 decades later and I find myself running further and probably fitter than I was back in my PGCE days.
During my own school days I never participated in any extra curricular sports clubs, I did not particularly enjoy my PE lessons and due to our school being in an urban area our ‘cross country’ route was all along busy roads, so running was not on my radar. Once at university though I knew I needed to exercise and so I started running short distances and joined a 5 a side football team but my running journey has only really taken off in the last 10 years, since I moved to Manchester. Here I have found a great running group in These Mums Do and through this I have some great running buddies who are always there to get me out when I need a bit of motivation. ‘Running friends make the good runs better and the hard runs easier.’ The Running Bible
However, it was in the first lockdown in March 2020 that I decided to try and cycle to work, alongside my running routine. I felt that with the quieter roads and with there being less pressure to be in work super early I could commute to and from school. It also turned out to be a massive help in regard to my mental health. Like most teachers I find the job stressful and with a young family teaching has taken its toll on my mental and emotional health many times. Cycling the 20km to and from work takes me along parts of the River Mersey and along the Trans Pennine Trail, so it enables me to enjoy lovely views and fresh air and to either get ready for the day ahead or to wind down. It takes me about 40 minutes to cycle each way and it provides me with a much better mindset than driving along the busy M60.
“… it was in the first lockdown in March 2020 that I decided to try and cycle to work…”
My cycling commute has continued since that first lockdown and I now aim to cycle at least 2 out of 4 days a week (I work 4 days). This has continued alongside my running and I have also taken up Pilates and I like to do Joe Wicks’ HIIT workouts on a regular basis too. Exercise is such an important tool for our mental health and back in July 2020 I was interviewed by the BBC in the first lockdown about the impact it has had on me (Coronavirus: How Joe Wicks’ fitness workouts ‘changed my life’ – BBC News).
My cycling, Pilates and HIIT workouts also enabled me to tick off one of the items on my bucket list last year. In October I ran the Manchester Marathon. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. There were many people who supported me on the journey. ‘A marathon is hundreds of miles. The finish is the last 26.2.’ Unknown. I had an amazing group of ladies from the These Mums Do running group, the @Teachersrunclub community, my cycle to work buddy and numerous friends and colleagues. I ended up raising over £1150 for Breast Cancer Now and this has to be highlight of my 2021, as it was a charity nominated by a close friend who underwent treatment for aggressive breast cancer last year and seeing her at the finish line meant the world to me.
So now it is 2022 and I want to continue my cycling commute, to enjoy my running again (now there is no marathon booked in to run!!) and my next challenge is to improve my swimming technique so that I can complete a triathlon!!!
Click the link bellow to follow Kerry’s active journey on Twitter!!!
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