Melissa McDonnell from The Press Newspaper in Christchurch wrote an article about my running business Extra Mile Runners. Check it out. If you are in Christchurch you can find out more here: www.extramilerunners.co.nz
It’s 9:30am on Saturday morning. You take a sip from your large cuppa coffee, feeling relaxed yet slightly unmotivated after a large cooked breakfast. You contemplate the rest of your day - it’s nice to have down time.
You consider the prospect of getting in some exercise, but think twice. You reminisce on your last attempt to get fit. It was just too hard. You think back to all of the different times you started up some fitness routine only to fall off the wagon within a couple weeks. It seems that every time you have tried, you have failed. Yet you wish there was something in you to keep you going – to keep you motivated and on track.
Your train of thought is suddenly disrupted by the sight and sound of a group of people jogging past your house. Some fast, some slow, some walking, some talking. A couple of women in their mid-40s run at a leisurely pace and a stream of people of all ages, shapes and sizes soon follow – all chatting, smiling and having a good time. Fun, while running? How does that work?
If they are doing it, why can’t you? You know you enjoy exercise, but it’s always so hard to stick to a programme. What was so different to what you had tried in the past?
So you make enquiries. You discover a new running group called “Get Up To Five” where participants of all fitness levels run at their own pace, supported by qualified running coaches, and team-train towards the ultimate goal of completing a 5km race.
You simply can’t imagine what it would be like to run to the end of the street, let alone 5000metres.
But fast forward only eight weeks, and that’s exactly where you could be – embarking on a whole different Saturday morning. Rather than a late start and fry-up, you instead wake at dawn, eat a nutritious breakfast and head out the door confident and fit to run your first ever 5km race.
Imagine how good you would feel?
Christchurch running club Extra Mile Runners is helping turn such dreams into reality for many Cantabrians who have tried and given up, yet still hold on to their desire to get off the couch and get fit.
World leading fitness professional and Christchurch based Bevan James Eyles heads up a team that has created a number of fitness programmes with a totally different approach to running and exercise.
As a former Ironman and a current international fitness trainer, Eyles knows how it feels to be fit, healthy and accomplished. And feedback over the years indicated there were many people out there with exercise and fitness goals, but who lacked in knowledge and motivation to achieve them.
In response, Eyles created his first running group “RaceTeam” five-years ago which provided runners with a programme, motivation and support to train towards completing a half-marathon. Although successful, he soon realised the group attracted people with an existing passion for exercise, but which appeared too daunting for non-exercisers – people who wanted to get fit but didn’t know where to start.
And so he and his team created a new training group called “Get Up To Five” – a running group dedicated not only to helping people learn to run 5km, but which empowered them to set new goals and break through fitness barriers they never thought possible.
“Many people have tried and failed at getting fit,” Eyles said. “But many people who have completed the ‘Get Up To Five’ programme have told us this was the first time they’d ever achieved success with a fitness programme.”
In the eight-week programme, participants meet three times per week to simply do their best and work to their own limits. With a ratio of one-trainer to every 15 participants, there is consistent motivation, encouragement and advice tailored to suit differing fitness levels.
“It’s not about pushing the runner to achieve their best time; it’s about encouraging them to set their own pace, to train at the correct intensity, and simply enjoy the fact they are out there exercising,” Eyles said.
Eyles believes that people are feeling more confident to tackle longer races due a sense of belief in their ability to build fitness levels at their own pace, in their own time and with achievable results.
“The steps are small and the progress is believable and achievable. We aim to challenge the traditional exercise environment by creating a social, fun and supportive environment”, he said.
Mother of three Robyn Murphy has been part of the team for almost 12 months and said that completing ‘Get Up To Five’ was the best thing she had ever done.
“I have 3 teenagers, work full time and seem to drive "mum's taxi" constantly,” she explained. “This September I turn 50 and I don’t believe I have ever felt so fit and healthy in all my time on this planet. Words can’t explain the gratitude I feel for being part of such an awesome community.”
As the programme had a particularly strong focus on team-training, great friendships are established as participants motivate each other to achieve their goals.
“Knowing there are others getting out of bed at 6am makes it easier for people to commit to the schedule,” explained Eyles. “Not only is it as a chance to exercise, but a chance to catch up with friends and start the day in an energising way.”
The fact that Extra Mile Runners offers four levels of running programmes enables participants to build on their success by moving onto the next level of running. Once they have completed ‘Get Up To Five’, they can move into the ‘Club 10k’ group and work their way towards completing a 10km race, and then eventually onto RaceTeam and train for a half marathon. And for those who simply wish to maintain fitness levels and stay connected, a ‘Saturday Runners’ group has been set up for every level of runner, create a sense of community, and simply have fun.
Eyles puts the success of Extra Mile Runners’ down to its vision of helping people discover a lifetime love of exercise – of having fun, getting involved in the community and experiencing individual growth.
“The majority of people usually socialise around food and alcohol,” he said. “So why not create a new social environment of like-minded people with a shared philosophy of trying to achieve their best?”
It’s this sort of ethos that’s seen over 350 participants complete the “Get Up To Five” programme since it started 18-months ago, with 120 continuing on to train for the half-marathon “RaceTeam”, programme, Robin Murphy being one of them.
“It’s about real people achieving real things,” said Eyles. “We have seen some amazing transformations in so many of our runners, not only in their running, but also in their confidence and self-belief they can succeed. That’s pretty powerful stuff.”
If you want to join Extra Mile Runners and are in Christchurch you can find out more here: www.extramilerunners.co.nz