Up and running

By Dr Wirin Bhatiani

The notoriously tough Bolton Marathon returns in May after more than 30 years.

But if a marathon seems a bit of a challenge – especially one with hills like the infamous Plodder Lane – there are plenty of less daunting options as the smiling faces at last year’s Bolton Night Run proved.

The fun 5k returns to the town centre on July 10 and if this has inspired you to lace up your trainers, then why not join a local running club or group?  Don’t worry that they are just for ‘super-fast athletes’; they are friendly and welcome people of all standards.

Some run ‘Couch to 5k’ programmes for those who are running for the first time. Check out the England Athletics website to find one near you.

If you do prefer to run on your own, the NHS has training podcasts to get you running 5k 

Parkruns are also a great way to start your weekend. The free, friendly 5k events are held at hundreds of locations at 9am every Saturday, including Leverhulme Park.  You can run, jog or walk – or even volunteer - simply visit parkrun.org.uk/ to find out more.

And with women less likely than men to take part, Bolton parkrun is supporting This Girl Can to celebrate International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 7.  Regular participants are being encouraged to take along a female friend, colleague or family member to show that parkrun is for everyone, no matter what your age, background, fitness level or gender.

After being lucky enough to run in the London Marathon 15 years ago, I know how tough the training can be both physically and on your social and personal life!

But you don’t have to commit to 26.2 miles to reap the social and physical benefits of running.

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