Sixteen ladies, five children and a dog

A heart warming tale of the power of human connection

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At 47 I have found something that is not only liberating but something that has allowed me to feel much more free than I have in a long time. I have a body that was built for comfort rather than speed and I have never been a "sporty" person.  All that aside in December I began the nine week journey of Couch to 5K.  I have blogged about that journey, this time I wanted to blog about the next step of that journey.

I completed my challenge and was able to endure a 5k Park Run and now I get out in the fresh air to run twice a week for about 40 minutes each time.  I have completed a Virtual Marathon (26.2 Miles) in three weeks (my medal is on its way).

I am lucky enough to be a Mindfulness Practitioner and Meditation Teacher in my job and I have my best ideas while out running.  I enjoy running through woodlands and fields and I get transported back to being a child without my back story as it is.  I don't feel defined as a person when I'm running, I have no ailments, I am powerful and I am proud. The brain is a muscle and needs to relax to be free to travel into the background of life - so in the middle of running through a wood, my idea sprung.

I decided to set up a Couch to 5K ladies buddy group for anyone who wanted to improve their wellbeing in a tribe of like minded people.  I made it quite clear it wasn't a running club, people knew I wasn't a running coach, they knew I was a size 18, a Mum in her late 40s with asthma and a will of iron.

I was bowled over by the response and I chose the route carefully through woodland and fields away from the streets. On the first session we had a tribe of 16 ladies, 5 kids and a dog. I will never forget that first session - the feeling of running with the sun in my face, through a field in a group of 21 humans of different shapes, sizes and ages. (Not forgetting the lovely doggy).

My twelve year old daughter comes out with us and when we were talking about the first session at home she was close to tears.  She said the emotion and empowerment she felt running as a group and supporting each other was like nothing she had every experienced.  Human connection in nature - what more do we need?

I thought I was much happier running alone until I experienced the empowerment of running in a group.  I felt freedom that I had never experienced before.  To this day I still hold onto that tribal feeling. We have a long way to go with this Couch to 5K, I'm sure some people will drop out others will fade away - our end goal is to complete the challenge as a group then those of us who want to will run a Race for Life 5K in July.  Wish us luck. x


Gail Donnan

Owner and Author, The Mindfulspace Wellbeing Company

I have been working in the holistic/well-being industry since 1995. In this time I have trained as a traditional counsellor, holistic therapist, Mindfulness Practitioner, a Teacher in Further Education, Meditation Teacher, Bach Flower Essence Practitioner, Qi Gong Instructor, Reiki Master Teacher Practitioner and life coach. I have spent ten years teaching others and own The Mindfulspace Wellbeing Company in Ripon, North Yorkshire which is an accredited training centre in wellbeing modalties. I have written a self-development book, offer workshops, Retreats and a study program to help people inspire change in their lives. I specialise in mental health issues, anxiety, depression and inspiring others to make life and career changes towards the well-being industry. I am a published Author of "The Gateway - A journey to re-claim your power from Stress and Anxiety".

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