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Making a splash

Swimmer turned all-rounder finds a love in the social side of running

28 year old Emily Webb was a star swimmer at school before getting into running at university. She fits in exercise five days a week and is now gearing up for the Simplyhealth Great North Run, with a sub-two hour half-marathon time in mind.

“I was a competitive swimmer throughout school and college, but took up running properly at university as it was cheap and I also joined the uni netball team.”

Whilst many students fail to keep up their sporting hobbies after graduating, Emily has continued to play netball since, and also is still running to maintain her match fitness.

“At least five days out of seven I do something – usually a simple 30-40 minute run in the morning before work. I train for netball on a Tuesday and then play matches on Thursdays. Then it’s a Parkrun on a Saturday and cycling or a South Downs walk on a Sunday if it’s nice weather and the social calendar is free!”

Emily has found that having a friendship group filled with people that have similar interests and are up for trying new things, like her, means that staying active keeps her happy. 

— Sport is just part of my weekly routine. I do it to keep fit, maintain my weight but also because I just like doing it and love the social aspect. A lot of my friends are like minded and up for a challenge too. We also try the occasional new activity – it was hot yoga last time – not for me!

“I always need something to aim for to keep up the motivation, so I enter a few races a year – both 10ks and half marathons. My biggest achievement to date was the 2012 London Marathon that I completed with a group of colleagues from Simplyhealth.

“A small group of us would train together on the weekends with my boyfriend tailing us on a bike with drinks and snacks when we were out for the long training runs.

“I have recently started cycling after getting myself a good bike! I’m not massively into cycling – a leisurely cycle to a pub on a Sunday is about where I’m up to at the moment.

“I don’t swim as much as I used to, but I try to do a swimathon each year for charity. In the past I’ve done an open water season, which was…fresh!”

As well as having friends with similar interests, Emily has grown up in a household where exercise was encouraged and as a family they would take on challenges together.

“I’m fortunate that my family is very active and also very supportive; we grew up all loving sport and regularly take on challenges together. My dad, sister and I are very competitive against each other – in a good, healthy way!”

When Emily found out her employer was to become the title sponsor of the Great Run Series, it inspired her to do even more to fill her down time with something active, and also to get her fellow colleagues trying something new.

“Ever since Simplyhealth organised a group of us to take part in the London Marathon in 2012 I’ve been waiting for something similar, something sporty – because that’s what I love!

“Although it was just a small group of us back then, we still talk about it and will always share the experience – the scale of the Great Run Series is just huge – I hope everyone gets the bug or gets involved in some way because it’ll create such a buzz.

“I plan to do the Simplyhealth Great North Run this year. I fancied the half marathon as I’ve set myself a goal of completing one in sub two hours this year. Plus, it’s the big-un!”

As well as staying fit, Emily has had extra motivation of late to keep active, as a big family occasion is on the horizon.

“Running a lot in recent months has helped me lose quite a few pounds ahead of my sister’s wedding.”

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