Meet our team of friendly and supportive Running Leaders.
Lauren Gregory, Founder
Amateur Sportswoman of the Year, Coventry & Warwickshire
I have always had a passion for fitness and well being and running has become a huge part of my life in recent years. I wanted to share this passion with other ladies so I set up Run Like A Girl in July 2015 and I was thrilled when 23 ladies turned up to the first session. I am just as thrilled and proud now when hundreds of ladies turn up at a session!
I am a mum to two children and have a career as a Graphic Designer. Alongside these I am a keen endurance runner, having completed many events including half and full marathons and a 100km ultra marathon. I love a good challenge! I also run for Brayden through the charity ‘I run 4’- he is a 13 year old boy in America who has Cerebral Palsy, he doesn’t have the use of his legs but I do and so I devote my runs and race sponsorship to him.
I hope that my love for running will impact on others and encourage them to take on their own goals, showing that it is possible to fit running into your life alongside a family and career, gaining personal achievement along the way.
Liv Boucher, Group Manager
Finalist of the Power of Sport Award - Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire
In July 2015, this group launched its first session, and around the same time I wanted to get fit and be more active, so it seemed like a calling. Since joining the first session I've never looked back and I soon caught 'The Running Bug'. With the kindness and support I received from everyone at RLAG I completed the course and went onto become an Improver, reaching my own personal goals of a sub 30 minute 5km and completing my first half marathon just a few months later.
Through running, I've gained true friends that motivate me to keep going, the way I feel after a run is amazing. It gives me a chance to get lost in myself and see the improvement I've made. I love running because of all these things and more so now because of how it’s brought our community together.
Nicola Burroughs, Running Leader
I have always loved sport and enjoyed playing football, karate, yoga, running, going to the gym ... I even studied it at college and Uni. Since having children I put it all on hold. I couldn't find the time, energy or enthusiasm to find a way back in. But then RLAG was formed and after following the couch to 5k programme I have my mojo back and I recently completed the Warwick Half Marathon.
I am proud to be a role model to my children. I hope to be able to inspire others to love running, have fun and enjoy meeting others along the way.
Tejay De Kretser, Running Leader
The last time I ran regularly I was 20, even then I never did any real distance. Roll forward 27 years. I got married in May 2015 and then my waistline just got a little out of control. By August 2015 I set myself the challenge of making sure I was going to be fit at 50. I thought a target of 2 and a half years was pretty reasonable.
I joined the second cohort of Run Like a Girl in September 2015. I really thought I was going to die on the first session when we had to run for 90 seconds but I did it and then again the following week, and so on. I completed the programme and continued as an Improver, always at the back huffing and puffing but determined to get around. Run Like A Girl made the difference to me starting and then continuing, the support was amazing.
My 5k soon turned to 7k then I managed 10k and that was it, I was well and truly hooked. Still slow, still near the back and still puffing but loving it and finding I could do some distance.
I work full time for the County Council. I have two small sons and a grown-up daughter. I turned 48 on the 30th March 2015 and 4 days later I ran my first proper race, the Warwick Half marathon. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I'd be able to run 5 miles let alone 13.1 miles. But I did and I am already signing up to more half marathons!
Zoë McCrory, Running Leader
I have never been a sporty person, I never really enjoyed exercise. In June 2015 I attempted the Couch to 5K programme using the app – I made it to week 3 and could not progress any further, I just couldn’t run for more than 3 minutes, so I gave up! Then just before Christmas, I heard about RLAG through a friend and decided to join the beginners course in January 2016. Well, what can I say? It has changed my life!! I completed the 8 week course, which was so much easier as I was surrounded by around 100 other women who were all in the same boat. The support and encouragement from the group was incredible!
Since ‘graduating’ I went on to run Leamington Park Run, then the Regency 10k in April. I am running the Birmingham Half Marathon in October 2016 and I have gained a Charity place in the London Marathon 2017!!!! It is safe to say I have well and truly caught the running bug!!
Emma Wilson, Running Leader
I started running after a brief spell in the local gym on a treadmill. I had completed a couple of 5k charity events but was always a little disappointed as I walked around them. My mission, as a starting point was to run all the way round irrespective of time. I started doing park runs and quickly became a "Parkrun tourist", trying a new Parkrun each time I went away. To date this includes Dublin, Market Harborough, Basingstoke, Gunnersbury, Newbury and of course my home course Leamington Spa.
As my love of running increased I was told about RLAG and I have never looked back. I joined in October 2015 and each week I am amazed at the impact the group has had on so many local women. There are many reasons why women join RLAG but what astounds me every week is the support, encouragement and passion that is evident each and every session. I wanted to be part of this, which is why I am so proud to be a running leader and sport the ‘purple top’. If I can encourage one person to believe in their own abilities, push that little bit further and to feel that overwhelming pleasure from achieving something they did not think was possible, then my mission is complete.
This year, I hope to complete some 10k runs including two castles, complete a park run in another country (currently it is run in 12 countries) and my ultimate goal is to run a Half Marathon (date TBC).
Rebekah Grayson-Richardson, Running Leader
I joined the beginners course in July 2016, as a Mum to a daughter of nearly two I wanted some 'me' time, as well as something to help shed the last of the baby weight.
I have no running history pre this group and was terrified by the thought of joining. Spurred on by a friend I signed up and I have not looked back.
I have thrived with the support of the other RLAG ladies and pushed myself through runs l never imagined I would do. Half way through the course I tried my first 10k and now 10 weeks after starting my running journey I have completed my second official 10k in 56 min! An achievement I would never have imagined possible without this support.
I work locally as a GP and hope my story can help other RLAG members and my own patients push themselves to become more than you think is possible.
Jennie Crandon - Running Leader
I first heard about RLAG through Facebook. I had tried the couch to 5K app before and struggled to complete it on my own. It was actually my husband who urged me to join RLAG in September 2015 and I haven't looked back. I soon found out that I loved to run!
I ran my first 5K in November and have since run 2 10K races. I've now signed up to do my first half marathon in October! I've met some amazing people and made some really good friends. Running has also given my children and I something we can all do together. I have now completed Park Run with the 3 older boys and even my toddler has taken part in her first race!
If anyone had told me this time last year that I would be a running leader, I would have laughed at them. However, the support, enthusiasm and positivity of RLAG has turned me into a 'runner' and is honestly one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
Sharlene L Troth - Running Leader
I started running after pregnancy and managed to complete the couch to 5k programme. Once I completed the programme I felt confident joining a running group, I tried several running groups and felt that some groups were competitive and didn't have much support.
Then I came across Lauren's Facebook post asking if anyone would be interested in a running group in the local area and I was so excited to join Run Like A Girl. I completed the 8 weeks course and in a couple of weeks signed up to Blenheim 10k.
The group is fantastic and because of the support, the group encouraged me to train for my first half marathon, Warwick Half.
Karen Parkinson, Running Leader
Early in 2015 my friend and I decided to start running sociably. In August 2015 we heard about a running group that had just been formed for ladies only and so I decided to go along to see what it was all about. It turned out to be the best thing I ever did! When I started running I never felt comfortable about running alone, but by joining this group I started to gain confidence and now really enjoy my running either in a group or alone, and can definitely say I have the running bug!
In January 2016 I achieved my first 10K run and that inspired me to enter my first ever running event "The Two Castles" I was very apprehensive at first, but I didn't feel alone as other ladies in the group were running with me. After this 10K event I felt that I needed another challenge and so I entered the Birmingham Half Marathon and completed this in October 2016, my greatest achievement yet! Not stopping there this year I have entered the Liverpool Rock & Roll Marathon in May 2017. Running has also enabled me to combine another passion of mine raising money for Mind a charity close to my heart.
Being with RLAG you are supported and encouraged by so many other ladies, it feels like being a part of one big happy family, so much so and because of my love for running I decided I wanted to become a running leader in order to help others to get the most out of the group, be it just for enjoyment, to keep fit and healthy or to help build self confidence.
Annalisa Smith, Running Leader
I first joined RLAG in January 2016 about 6 months after having my 3rd son. I was following the Slimming World plan and wanted to start an exercise programme to help me achieve my target weight. Luckily, RLAG had just started a Thursday beginners group which I was able to join. I had tried to run before but had always given up soon afterwards just thinking that running wasn't for me. I had all sorts of excuses, I was the wrong build/shape etc...
Initially, I nervous about running with other people because I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up. There was no need to worry as everyone was so friendly and supportive, I was hooked from the start. Since graduating beginners, I have taken part in a couple of 10km races, ran a sub 30 5km and a trail run. I love being able to run with my 2 older boys and would like to think that I am inspiring them to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. In 2017, I hope to take part in more 10km races and hopefully finish one in under 60mins. I'd also like to complete a half marathon (one day!)
I am so excited to be part of the RLAG Running Leader team and helping other ladies achieve their running ambitions. It's a real privilege.
Beverley Anne, Running Leader
Having joined RLAG in 2015, returning to running from injury, I started from the beginning, completing Run30 then onto the Improvers. The support in my return to running days was so motivating that I so wanted to give the same to others.
Being a running leader and part of 'team purple' is such a privilege and I love every second of it. Helping other ladies to progress from Beginners to Improvers and seeing their achievements motivates me to run on to achieve my own goals.
Louise Roberts, Running Leader
I started running in 2014 after my mam suddenly passed away. A Facebook friend was doing c25k and posting her progress. I felt inspired. I needed to do something so I did! I never looked back. After a couple of years I got an injury. A friend encouraged me to join RLAG to get back into it. I did. I loved it. I made new friends, I lost weight, I felt great! Life was great! Until the day I discovered I had breast cancer. However, I kept running. Not as far, not as fast, but I got out there and kept going through all my treatment. I do believe running helped me stay positive and got me through it. It was during this time I saw Lauren was launching a new Wednesday morning group. I offered to help as I wanted to inspire others to fall in love with running like I had.
So here I am! After finishing my treatment I became a running leader and entered as many events as I could that year. In 2018 I fulfilled my life long dream of running the GNR. Running has literally changed, and I do believe, saved my life, and to help others find that same love for running I have, is the best! You will mostly find me at the back tail running! I’m certainly not the fastest and never will be but I’m doing my bit and loving it. So if you see me, at the back, come and say hi!
Julie Easton, Running Leader
I joined Run Like a Girl in November 2015. I was already doing a bit of running but didn’t really know what I was doing and hadn’t managed to establish a routine. Through the group, I discovered a love of trail running, learned how to take on hills, and gained the confidence to explore new routes and run longer distances.
What I love most about Run Like a Girl is that it isn't about who runs the furthest or the fastest; it’s about having fun. I've learned from and been inspired by everyone who has been bold enough to try a new challenge, whether that is 5k or 50k.
Susan Symonds - Parkrun Ambassador
Susan is a keen advocate of Parkrun, who organise free, 5km timed runs around the UK every week. She can usually be found on a Saturday morning running around the local Leamington Parkrun course at Newbold Common, and knocking out some pretty speedy times in the process!
If you have any questions about Parkrun then Susan is your lady. Anyone is able to take part in Parkrun every week, but Susan also organises special RLAG events where our ladies can go take part in Parkrun as a group together or get involved in marshalling the event, so keep an eye on our Facebook group for these.