THE RELUCTANT RUNNER: My first run - can I make it to 5km?

Charlie Kilburn with the Reluctant Runner at the finish line.
Charlie Kilburn with the Reluctant Runner at the finish line.

I could not put it off any longer. I had to run. Proper running. Outside.

Fortunately, I had an expert willing to coach me for my first time. A personal trainer, Charlie Kilburn runs ShipShape Lifestyle.

As someone who has completed a 100km run in the past 12 months, Charlie is not someone who takes things easily.

So I should not have been surprised when we met up on Tuesday evening and he said ‘your goal is to do the 5km at Parkrun, so let’s go and do a 5km run now’.

Once I was over the shock, we were off, heading from East Riding Leisure centre to Charlie’s pub The Ship Inn at Sewerby...and back.

At first, the pace seemed slow to me. If I had done this on my own, I think I would have bombed off far too quickly.

By the slope up to the coastguard station, I had got a stitch, but nothing worse, and Charlie said I just had to ‘run through it’. He also gave me some advice on posture to try to avoid injuries and wasting energy.

I got to halfway and my legs were feeling heavier. I asked if we could have walk fo a short while, and that was my first mistake.

Once I knew that option was available, there was always the temptation to reach out to it.

By the time we got back to the coastguard station, I was back to a walk and the finish line seemed a long way off.

I will be honest, the last kilometre was really hard work for a novice like me.

At times, along the promenade, we were walking to one lamppost and running to the next.

As we approached the leisure centre, Charlie had bad news...we were about 300 metres short of 5km and would have to carry on to Garrison Square.

I could have cried.

“Clock is ticking,” shouted Charlie, leaving me behind.

Somehow, I dragged myself there, crossing the finish line in 32 minutes and 59 seconds.

It was better than expected.

Despite the inevitably aching muscles, not only did I have my very own personal best, I also had a real sense of achievement.