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From zero to marathon in a matter of months

What happened when people told K2 staff member Lauren she wouldn’t be able to run a marathon? You guessed it… she ran a marathon.

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Lauren’s motivation behind signing up to the marathon was to help raise money for the MS Society – a fantastic charity, and a great cause. Her ultimate goal was just to finish the 26.2 miles and, if possible, complete this in less than 6 hours.

Lauren admits she underestimated the challenge she had signed up for but the motivation she got from people saying she wouldn’t finish the race inspired her even more to succeed.

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She was completely new to fitness and had never trained at any level – she only started training 6 months before the marathon date, in November 2017!

Lauren said:

“My first training sessions were on the track doing intervals of 60 second running and 60 second walking, and eventually moving into small distance runs split between walking and running.

“Three months into my training, I started taking part in indoor cycling classes as these are low impact, which I found helped so much with my fitness. I continued to run but had ankle and calf injuries in January and February which set me back. After a few Osteopath sessions with Jonathan from David Such Osteopathy here at K2 Crawley, I stated to see improvements and was able to keep training.

“I also participated in a lot of staff classes and went out for runs with my friends and colleagues at freedom leisure, who operate K2 Crawley, who were also training for the Brighton Marathon (Sarah Roberts and Georgie Martin). Without the support of both of these girls, I don’t think I would have been able to complete this massive challenge.”

Moving into the last couple of months of training Lauren started upping the miles, doing 2 to 3 runs a week with the longest distance being 17 miles.

“When the day itself came around I still didn’t think I would finish the marathon. I was so scared and nervous but having the girls with me at the start really helped.

“For the first half of the race, I felt good, but when I got to around the 10 mile point I started feeling pain in my knee and it became more and more difficult. At around 16 miles I felt like I wouldn’t be able to finish. I’m lucky I had so much support from friends and family on the day which really encouraged me to keep going.

“The last 6 miles or so were horrible, and I would say the worst pain I’ve ever been in. Somehow I managed to find the strength to keep going, and when I got to mile 25 my uncle and dad ran the last mile with me and at this point I knew I would finish.

“I was in shock that I finished and was still in such pain I couldn’t take it all in. It wasn’t until the next day when I got all the messages from people congratulating me that my achievement started to sink in.

“I now feel healthier and better within myself. I’ve lost lots of weight and have gained confidence.

“I want to say a massive thank you to Georgie and Sarah for all their support and a huge well done for their amazing marathon times!  Also, to everyone who helped with my training including Owen Callaghan, K2 Crawley’s Fitness Manager, who took me out on runs around Tilgate Park. I couldn’t have done it without you, and all the staff at K2 have been so supportive and helpful. I must say a special thank you to everyone who donated. Between me, Sarah and Georgie we raised a whooping £1766.50 for the MS Society.”

Lauren managed to smash her target finishing the marathon in 5 hours 54 minutes! This was a huge achievement and something she should be super proud of.

K2 Crawley General Manager, Jon Hodgson said:

“We would like to all say a massive well done to Lauren, Georgie and Sarah for their fantastic achievement! It’s a great event to take part in, and they raised a lot of money for a great cause. All the staff at K2 Crawley are proud and have enjoyed taking part and helping them through their training throughout 2018 so far.”

To see how K2 Crawley, operated by freedom leisure on behalf of Crawley Borough Council, can help you on your own fitness journey, go straight to their website.

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Health & Wellbeing

‘I’m not ok and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that’ says Crawley Councillor as he opens up about mental health

As part of Mental Health day a Crawley councillor has opened up about his own mental health issues to show local people that it is ok to open up and talk about the issue.

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Liam Ascough is a councillor for Gossops Green in Crawley

Gossops Green Councillor Liam Ascough has written an open letter to his colleagues at the council to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Addressing directly the Council Leader and the Chief Executive, Liam writes:

“Dear Peter and Natalie,

After watching the ‘Every mind Matters’ TV advert, supported by the Duke and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, I felt that I had write this open letter of apology but also to help continue the conversation on mental health issues. 

I want to apologise to the both of you, members of staff, fellow members of the council but most importantly to the residents of Gossops Green and North East Broadfield because it’s ok not to be ok and I should have said something a long time ago. 

I have suffered bouts of depression since 2015 but I put that all on hold when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2017. This happened in the same week I was unceremoniously let go as a Conservative Parliamentary candidate, finished with the partner I thought I’d married and buried a great friend of mine who had died of cancer. October 2017 wasn’t my best month!! 

When I stood as a Parliamentary candidate in 2015, I was on top of the world. I was doing what I’d wanted to do since I was 14 (yes I know, I’m a geek). It was such a full on campaign and I felt I was at the centre of it. After that though, it felt like I’d been dropped like a hot potato. Like I’d been on X Factor one minute and then you were nobody. The Party wasn’t interested in you anymore and suddenly you go from being a somebody to be a nobody again. 

I carried on as if nothing was wrong, although inside I felt deeply depressed and used. Then October 2017 happened and it all got a lot worse. 

Sadly I lost my best friend in my mother on January 4th this year after a monumental battle with cancer. She put up such a great fight but not a day will go by that I don’t miss my mother. Watching her in so much pain, was beyond heartbreaking. 

I put a brave face on, as I always do and tried to get on with things. Sometimes not so well though, as I remember a very kind family in Gossops Green took me into their house whilst canvassing, after I started to cry. I should have known at that point that I wasn’t really coping. 

It wasn’t until my birthday in July that it finally all hit me. Again, I tried to put a brave face on and project the image that everything was ok. The thing is, I’M NOT OK!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that either. I should have said it a long time ago! 

I am sorry for the meetings that I’ve missed and the emails that I haven’t replied to!! I should have said something before. I just couldn’t admit it to myself let alone anyone else! 

The thing is, now that I’ve admitted that I’m not ok, I can finally start to get help and to get back on track.

That’s why I wanted to write this open letter. To say sorry for letting people down. To explain what’s been going on and to be honest about it. Probably most importantly, to let others know that’s it’s ok, to not be ok. I needed to be honest with myself.

The help I received from St Catherine’s Hospice has been invaluable! I am also incredibly blessed to have an amazing network or friends who are my family. 

I am getting through this and I will recover.

Some will think I’m just feeling sorry for myself and that I should ‘man up’. To be fair that’s something I would have said before. Regardless I still think it is ok to say that I’m not ok. I encourage anyone who isn’t feeling ok, to talk about it.

You are not alone and don’t have to ‘man up’ so to speak.”

If you would like more information and help on any issues to do with mental health you can find out more at:

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

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