Starting jogging can be a daunting prospect for most people, but even more so for 45-year-old Joanne Holmes from Ripley who was living with the physical effects left by cancer treatment.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, Joanne has been cancer free for the past five years and joining her local Jog Derbyshire group, Rogue Runners Ripley has improved both her physical and mental health.
Joanne explains: “As you can imagine with all the chemo I put on quite a bit of weight. The first thing I did was slimming world which did help, I did lose it but unfortunately it didn’t help the mental aspect of everything.”
Starting jogging with Sofa to 3k
Having started walking a lot during lockdown and after seeing an advert for a Sofa to 3k programme at Rogue Runners Ripley, Joanne decided to give it a go.
“I saw Rogue Runners advertised about the sofa to 3k so I thought I would try that. I was very nervous in the beginning because I’d never been a runner. Swimming was more my thing or walking. But Rogues were so friendly and really helped me.”
Personalising Joanne's running journey
Being part of Rogue Runners helped Joanne learn what style of running would work for her – leading her to discover jeffing, a combination of running and walking intervals.
She said: “I’ve now been five years clear [of cancer] but unfortunately the chemo’s made a big effect on my body and I have asthma as well. I’m still on medicine so I do struggle quite a lot with side effects.
“One of the Rogues, Tessa, she mentioned to me that I might find jeffing a bit easier because my body just wasn’t liking continuous running. So I gave that a go and I haven’t looked back, I absolutely love it.
“The leaders, especially Sarah, were brilliant. She really tuned in to every single person there so you didn’t feel like you were failing. Everyone is at different paces and people sometimes think, oh I’m not going to be as fast as them, but they sort of drummed it into us that it’s your pace.”
Running in memory of friends and family
Having lost four friends to cancer over the past few years, and from her own experience, Joanne took on her first 10k Race for Life earlier this year and is now planning on a half marathon to raise money for the Heart Foundation in memory of her uncle who passed away suddenly due an undiagnosed heart defect.
She said: “One of my friends, Katie, she kept me going in my head. She got diagnosed two weeks before me so we went through the whole journey and remission but unfortunately hers came back and she passed two months after that. So I was doing it in memory of her because we used to keep each other going through it all.”
Meeting new people and improving my fitness
The benefits Joanne has got from joining a jogging group are wide reaching – from a physical and mental boost to the social side.
She said: “For the last six years I’ve been a nanny, so the people I’m talking to are aged five and under. So it’s quite nice to get out and meet new people. It’s a bit of time to yourself and something for you, not for everyone else.
“It came up on my memories that I did my first jeff a year ago. I did three and a half km in 50 minutes and I can now do 5k in 43 minutes. I’ve noticed on simple things, because of working with children and being with my children at home, just the fitness and running around more, it’s not wearing me out.
“I’m going through a forced menopause at the moment and mentally it was really getting to me but I find, even if I don’t want to, I force myself to go jeffing. It really clears my mind. I highly recommend it to anyone.”
If you’d like to join Rogue Runners Ripley you can find out more about them here.
Are you somewhere else in Derbyshire? You can find your nearest Jog Derbyshire group here.