Staying motivated for the Town and Gown run

thisisoxfordshire: Kelly Sambrook Kelly Sambrook

PREPARATIONS are already well underway for this year’s Oxford Town and Gown run. The May 12 run, backed by the Oxford Mail, will raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

Over the next few months we will be following novice runner Kelly Sambrook, 37, who has a personal reason for taking part in the 10k, which makes its way through famous city landmarks.

Her nephew, John Dickson, nine, of Bledington, near Chipping Norton, is one of the many youngsters who could benefit from the work done by the charity.

Here she talks reporter Fran Bardsley through her second training diary.


I’m over a month into my training now and starting to feel like I’m making real progress.

My training app has me running for five minutes between intervals and a total of 15 minutes per session.

That may not sound like much but trust me, when you’ve spent the past 20 years avoiding any form of exercise, it’s quite an achievement.

I’m using an interval, or Fartlek (really – look it up if you don’t believe me) training programme, which means alternating running and walking.

The idea is that the variety prevents your body becoming complacent and over time allows you to run faster for longer.

To me, it makes training bearable, and apparently it burns more calories, which can only ever be good news.

It seems I have work to do on the speed part though – my boyfriend, who ran a 5k recently and is therefore a pro in my eyes, has to keep jogging on the spot to allow me to catch up when we train together.

My life is pretty hectic, so I haven’t managed to create a routine around training and am fitting it in when I can, aiming for every other day.

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Each session lasts only around 30 minutes, so it hasn’t been too difficult.

My usual slot is straight after work, but there have been some weekend runs and I’ve even managed to drag myself out of bed early a couple of times and go before work – definitely worth it as I do have more energy for the rest of the day.

Motivation for those sessions can be an issue, however – especially when it’s cold.

At times like those I have to remind myself why I’m doing this.

It seems my nephew John’s story has touched plenty of other people too.

To date there are 12 of us running in the Town and Gown to support him, a variety of friends and family, adults and kids, experienced runners and complete beginners, and even two of the research nurses at Great Ormond Street, where John has regular treatment.

Angela, John’s mum, is one of the runners.

She completed the London Marathon two years ago as her first ever run and says their village will soon need road signs reading ‘Beware running mothers’ as they’re becoming so prolific. Angela and my brother Paul’s Go Johnny Go campaign, to raise the funds needed to buy John an all-terrain wheelchair, has reached the milestone of £9,000.

Raising the money needed for equipment like this is a battle. I hope Town and Gown runners will remember that their efforts help the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign to provide equipment grants to families like ours to help them reach their totals.

To date more than 1,200 people have signed up for the run.

Why don’t you join in too and help raise money for a fantastic cause?

  • To find out how to help fundraising efforts for John’s powered wheelchair, please visit http://gojohnnygo.co.uk For more information on the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Town and Gown 10k, or to register for the run, visit http://townandgown10k.com

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