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.
Becky Chumun, Co-Founder
I would not describe myself as a ‘natural athlete’- I spent most of my life very overweight and did no exercise. After I had my kids I decided to finally do something about it, so I joined Slimming World and lost 6.5 stone going from a size 20 to a size 8. I still didn’t exercise but then in a moment of weakness I let my best friend Lauren talk me in to doing the 5k Colour Run and I thought I’d better try and get round it without dying, so I downloaded the NHS ‘Couch to 5k Programme’ and got stuck in. I was shaking the first time I stepped out to do a run, but then out of nowhere running became something that I love and I didn’t want to stop!
I’ve been running for 2 years and it has very much become part of who I am. I run because with a hectic life filled with a family and a career, running gives me some much needed ‘me time’ and helps me hold on to my sanity.
In July 2015 Lauren asked me to run RLAG alongside her, I said yes and then the adventure started. It’s been an amazing few months watching the group and our team of running leaders grow, but I’m loving the crazy ride!
I have a particular soft spot for supporting our new Beginners as they start their running journey – because I have been that slow, unfit person struggling at the back so I know what it feels like, but I also know where it is possible for you to go.
Liv Boucher, Running Leader
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.
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.
Lindsay Blair, Running Leader
I first found running through the Couch to 5k programme and after completing the course I was keen to take on the next challenge. So, in February 2014, I signed up to do the Great North Run and discovered the amazing satisfaction of achieving distance goals, overcoming mental fatigue and believing that the jump from 5k to 22k is possible if you believe it. I experienced that same sense of achievement when I ran the Warwick Half Marathon alongside my RLAG friends in April 2016.
I love running as a way to exercise, socialise and wind down after a hard day.
Kelly Bates, Running Leader
I joined Run Like a Girl when it first started in July with the aim of getting a bit fitter and having more energy to run around with my 3 sons (oh, and to lose that last bit of baby weight before going back to work!). I have never been a runner (or even a sporty person!) and I was nervous about whether I would manage the programme but I needn't have worried. The support I received from the group was amazing and I quickly made some great friends.
Fast forward a few months and I somehow found myself signing up to the Warwick Half Marathon which I then went on to complete in April 2016, something I never imagined possible.
I have developed a real passion for running and regularly enthuse about it to anyone who will listen. I am proud to finally have a proper hobby, one which strengthens my mind as well as my body. I am even prouder to have become a Running Leader so I can share this passion and enthusiasm with other people and help them achieve their goals.
Michelle Mumford, Running Leader
I have always been into fitness but running was always something I found difficult. Last year however, I joined Run Like a Girl as a way of meeting people and doing something as a group and after that first 5km run I never looked back! I love how running makes me feel and the sense of achievement after every run. I want to do something good with it and prove to myself that I can take on a challenge, and at the same time raise money for charity, so I have signed up to the Great North Run for Bowel Cancer UK this year. To help prepare for this I ran the Coventry Half Marathon, my first ever half! When I joined Run Like a Girl I never dreamed of running that far, but it soon became possible.
Running has become a huge part of my life and I can't wait to see where it takes me. It's an honour to be a Running Leader for such an amazing group. Join Run Like A Girl and you won't just be joining a running group but you will become part of something much bigger. A supportive group of friends, running for fun!
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!
Vicky Poland, Running Leader
I have been running for several years and I run because it gives me some much needed me time and peace and quiet to escape from my 3 children! I like feeling fit and healthy too.
I love signing up to a good race! Last year I took part in the Race For Life 5k, Two Castles 10k, Blenheim 10k and organised it for over 30 RLAG ladies to dress up as Santa and run the 5k Myton Hospice Santa Dash. In 2016 I am challenging myself further with the Great North Run Half Marathon and the 3 Peaks Challenge (walking, I am not crazy enough to run the 3 peaks!).
I like to show people that running can be fun, it doesn’t have to be a chore!
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).
Caroline Abid, Running Leader
If you told me 2 years ago that I would be running I would have laughed at you. I've always liked exercise but hated running. Then after having my kids and being pressured by my sister I went for a run with her and that was the turning point. I love the fact it's free, fits in easily with my busy life and that it's versatile. Just before Christmas 2015 my friend persuaded me to go to Run Like A Girl with her and I haven't looked back. The variety of the sessions has helped increase my stamina and speed and I finally plucked up the courage to do my first race (Warwick half marathon) in April. I loved it so much I have signed for another half in October and London marathon next year. Not sure what had happened to me but I have become obsessed and even read running magazines.
I am a a great believer that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and dig deep. This mindset mixed with the support of the ladies in RLAG is pushing me to test my body further and reach new goals that I never thought I'd have.
I really want to pass this enthusiasm for running and exercise onto others!
Rachel Burdus-Cook, Running Leader
I’ve always loved sports & would happily run round a tennis court for ages but always thought I couldn’t just run for the sake of running, it just wasn’t my thing. My husband is a keen runner & I often wished I could just pop out for a quick 10k like he did!
Then one cold, rainy winters night in January 2016 I turned up for the new RLAG beginners course & that’s when my love of running began. My only goal was to be able to run for 30 minutes… By week 5 I was running 5k & 2 weeks after graduating I ran my first sub 30 minute 5k. I’ve honestly never looked back. RLAG is so much more than a running club, through it I have found a new passion, improved my fitness & made great friends.
Now I feel so proud to be a running leader, supporting other ladies on their running journeys to realise their goals.
We’re now a running family & I love how our running is inspiring our little boy to lead a fit & active lifestyle too.
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.
Fran Martin - Running Leader
I started running more than ten years ago having signed up for a marathon. I’d never been a sporty person (in the slightest!), but running gave me confidence in - and respect for my body and mind – not to mention those amazing post-exercise endorphins.
While I’d love to say I haven’t looked back since, I found getting back into running after having my daughter two years ago a huge struggle. I was lacking in energy, confidence and motivation. I heard about Run Like a Girl through friends and attended my first session in September 2015.
It’s been a game changer. I never thought I was a group running person, having always run solo or with a friend before. Running clubs either seemed to be a big commitment or intimidating, but I’ve found RLAG to be nothing but welcoming.
With a toddler and a busy job, RLAG keeps me running - and sane! I hope to share the warmth and encouragement that RLAG has given me with other ladies.
Erica Randall, Running Leader
I have been running on and off for about 10 years, but started really focusing on it as a way of becoming fitter and healthier after the birth of my two children. I used the Couch to 5k program to build up my stamina and confidence and have continued on from there! In January 2016 I was lacking in motivation to run through the winter months and needed something to get me out of the house. In my search for a running group, I came across a post about Run Like A Girl and thought I liked the sound of it!
Since then, I haven't looked back and have enjoyed every single run with the fantastic ladies in the group, finding myself signing up for the Warwick half marathon only a couple of weeks after I joined! Run Like A Girl has such a special atmosphere, and I want to help to bring that support and inclusiveness to other women in the area. I am looking forward to supporting the next intake of beginners in Coventry in January 2017!
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.
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.
Jemma Shepherd, Running Leader
In January 2016 I joined the RLAG beginners group mainly due to wanting to shift the baby weight but also I really wanted to be able to run 5k without stopping -something I had never previously been able to do. After that first 5km I’ve not looked back and love even now the sense of achievement I feel after completing a run.
I still have a way to go in improving my speed and distance but I have now signed up to my second 10 km and feel great.
It’s an honour to now have the chance to become a running leader for such an inspirational group and support other women on their running journey.
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.