NEXT month’s Oxford Half Marathon might be slightly chilly, but Team Gladiator is hoping to warm runners up with an inspirational soundtrack.
The ladies of Team Gladiator met through their personal trainer Darren Davies, who runs Gladiator Fitness in Oxford.
Before they started training for the Oxford Half Marathon, some of them “couldn’t even run for a bus”.
Alison Burton, from Wheatley, turned 50 last year, and decided to get fit.
After meeting Mr Davies, of Oxford, she started running for the first time in her life.
She said: “Even as a child, running wasn’t something I enjoyed.
“I told Darren I don’t like running, and I won’t run, but as I got more confident I felt like it was something I could do.
“I was not confident about going out running in public because I had not done it before.”
She added: “Eighteen months ago if you had told me I would be running nine miles in one go I wouldn’t have believed you.”
Mr Davies will be leading a starting line warm-up to inspirational music – Chariots of Fire and Rocky theme Eye of the Tiger – to really get everyone going.
Most of the warming up for a half marathon is achieved during the first 20 minutes, but Team Gladiator will be charging the crowds with sporting spirit.
Charlotte Lattin-Rawstrone, 34, from Cowley, took up running because she was experiencing “swimming rage” with the paddlers at her pool.
“I think I might have gone a little bit insane,” she said. “I took up running and I thought I’m alright at this, I’ll do a half marathon.”
She signed up for the Blenheim Half Marathon and then Mr Davies persuaded her to run the Oxford Half Marathon the very next weekend.
“I have four children, and I like anything that gives me a little bit of endorphins and gets me out of the house.”
When Mr Davies started training for his first marathon in 2006, he was 36 and weighed 17 stone.
“I was disgusted that I could let myself get that way,” he said, “I said let’s do something about it.
“The more people said ‘you are never going to do it’, the more I wanted to prove them wrong.”
Now he has achieved his dream, and will even be leading other people in lunges and heel flicks to get their heart rates rising for the race.
“It is going to be fun and motivational so people say ‘I am ready for this race let me at it’. There is no better feeling than saying ‘I’ve done that’, you can’t go into a shop and buy that feeling.”
Oxford Half Marathon, which is supported by the Oxford Mail and Mini Plant Oxford, takes place on Sunday, October 14. It costs £33 to enter, and raises money for Helen and Douglas House hospice in East Oxford.
This year runners will set off from Grenoble Road near the Kassam Stadium and run through the Mini plant and down Iffley Road to pass through the city centre and return to the Kassam Stadium.