Everyone can be a runner

“Everyone can be a runner….” – Jamie Jones, an accomplished runner and work colleague.

Yeah, right! Well, I suppose he has a point. I can technically run but it’s far from fast, smooth or graceful. I tend to waddle along, moaning about how everything hurts and wishing I never signed up for this.

In January I was really feeling the post-Christmas blues. I was feeling the effects of over indulging and going back to work over the holidays to my sedentary office job wasn’t going to help. When it was announced that Simplyhealth were to be the title partner of the Great Run Series, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to get fit and active. Part of my role as HR Coordinator is about employee Wellbeing, so this partnership gave me the opportunity to understand how we can give our people more opportunity to be their own version of healthy, using myself as a case study. We all know that being more active benefits us both physically and helps our mental wellbeing, so I wanted to put this to the test.

Running is difficult and starting from scratch is never a great place to be; it’s embarrassing, you feel like people are staring at you as you trundle along. You pull muscles in places you never knew you had, your feet swell up and you realise just how uncomfortable ill-fitting underwear can be! However, every time I finish training I am so proud of myself and I feel amazing.

It’s easy to put off exercise and eat convenience food when life gets busy or hectic. I don’t know about you but I tend to prioritise my life around other people’s needs and schedule, rather than focusing on my own. This is where things get a little dangerous and we can get run down and burnt out.

Someone once said to me ‘how do you think you will be able to look after other people, if you don’t look after yourself first’ and there is a lot of truth in that!


It is really refreshing to work for an organisation that puts health and wellbeing at the top of the agenda for employees. Since Simplyhealth have sponsored the Great Run series, it has been easier for me to manage a good life balance by;

  • Going for walking lunches
  • Attending work run clubs and running with my amazing colleagues
  • Working flexibly to fit in a PiYo class on Tuesday lunchtimes.
  • Providing free fruit to help me make better snacking choices.
  • Utilising the Physiotherapy element on my Simplyhealth cashplan to prevent me from any injuries.
  • Providing me with free spaces to join any of the Simplyhealth Great Run’s around the country with my colleagues.


My goals are personal to me and I have designed my training around what is realistic for me, time and capability wise. I would like to live a long and healthy life and one place that has been a huge inspiration for me is the Countess of Brecknock Hospice in Andover. So in raising money for the hospice I have challenged myself to;


  • Simplyhealth Women’s 3k Run in Glasgow (June)
  • Countess of Brecknock 10 miles at 10pm walk in Andover (June)
  • Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen 10k (August)
  • Simplyhealth Great South Run 10 miles (October)


I am currently achieving 5k runs on a weekly basis which take me between 32 – 42 minutes. My Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen run is in a couple of weeks’ time and I am so excited but so nervous to run my first ever 10k! Who knows how long it will take me, but I will cross that finish line!


Watch this space!

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Vicki Parkinson

Author HR Team Coordinator & Great Run Champion Published on