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Dudley Ladies Beginners Course 2009

Dudley Ladies now infamous beginners running course started on Tuesday 21st April 2009 at 7.30pm at Wombourne Leisure Centre.

Every year, club founder, Rita Vanes organizes this very popular beginners running course for women who have either never run before or else haven’t run for some time and it has proven to be extremely successful.

The course costs £25 for adults and £15 for people under 16 years and at the end of it, everyone get a well deserved medal, certificate and a tee-shirt.

This year, nearly 200 ladies turned up to take their first steps towards achieving their goal of running 3 miles within 10 weeks and practically everyone does it, with some even going on to run the London Marathon.

Rita has been running these courses since 1996, first at Dudley Kingswinford where she established their ladies section and now at her own Dudley Ladies group based here at Wombourne Leisure Centre, in Ounsdale Road. 

Dudley Ladies Running Club has grown to become the largest ladies only road running club in the Midlands and following a number of high profile articles in various national running magazines and newspapers, Rita has been inundated with requests to set up ladies running clubs and beginners courses in areas as far a field as The Outer Hebrides, The Isle of Wight, Wales and Norwich. 

Rita’s Beginners courses set a target of running 3 miles within 10 weeks and the way the training is structured ensures that most people achieve it. People are allowed to progress at their own rate within the group and do as little or as much as they are capable of until they achieve or exceed their target and with no men around, there is no pressure to compete, be intimidated or bother what you look like. You just be yourself and you do it.

Rita makes the course as flexible as possible so that ladies can come either on a Tuesday and Thursday evening or just once a week on whichever night suits them. 

Rita says:-

“This beginner's course is the full monty where we start people off from absolute scratch and get everyone up to running 3 miles or over within 10 weeks. 

On top of that we show them all the basics of stretching, warming up and warming down, what shoes, bra and clothes to wear etc. 

The course is basically aimed at people who have either never run before, haven't run for some time or simply can't run for a bus and we teach them all the basic things that they need to know. 

During the course we have various people come in to give talks or demonstrations or promotions etc just to keep things fresh and interesting. 

On the physical side, I start them off with a little bit of walking and a little bit of running around the football field. 

This is so that they are not running on hard surfaces to start with and it gently eases you into running and builds you up slowly..

When I'm satisfied that everyone can cope with the field, we then take them out on to the Wombourne Railway walk to do an out and back type run. 

This is where I get you to run out for a certain number of minutes before turning around and running straight back. 

Over the weeks, I increase the amount of time until everyone either reaches or exceeds the one and half mile turn around point to achieve your 3 miles. 

Some of the runners will of course go on and do a lot more in the allotted time but believe me; everyone does it in the end. 

The beauty of this system is that no one ever finishes last or feels silly or that everyone is waiting for them and of course you progress up to doing the 3 miles in your own time at your own rate without anyone standing over you telling you that you've GOT to do this that or the other. 

I've been using this system for several years now with beginners and people will tell you that it works very well, hence the very low drop out rate. 

But having said all that, if you’re a runner who can already run about 3 miles regardless of the speed and want to run with the established group then just come along and join us whenever you can and see how you get on. 

You don’t have to come twice a week because I try and make things as flexible as possible because I know the way things are for a lot of people but obviously, the more often you run then the fitter you will become. 

You don't have to register or pay or anything if you don't want to, when you first come, you just turn up, either for the Beginners or the normal club. 

Then after a couple of runs with us, if you think that running and Dudley Ladies is for you, then you pay your subs which will see you through until September 2009 and that's it.

So when you come along, and I hope you do, we'll have a chat and ascertain your fitness level and then you can either go out with the beginners or if you think the beginners is a bit too easy for you, I'll integrate you with one of the main groups. 

Whatever you decide to do, because of the numbers you'd best aim to get to Wombourne Leisure Centre, Ounsdale Road, Wombourne, where we meet early, in order to get a parking spot and allow me time to fill you in on what's in store for you. 

Again because of the numbers, the leisure centre have asked us to use either the adjoining Ounsdale School carpark or the slip road outside, so best park there. 

Do Not Park on The Leisure Centre Car Park, I'll tell you why and more about that when I see you. 

We cater for women of all ages and abilities from absolute beginners up to seasoned marathon runners, so if the beginner's is too basic for you, as I said, I'll integrate you in to the main group and you can carry on from there. 

We are all shapes and sizes and from all sorts of backgrounds.  

Ages range from under 12 to over 60 and weights range from 8 stone to over 18 stone. So you’ll very probably be the smallest there and a lithe spring chicken compared to the rest of us. 

It's women only so there's no men around to pressurise you into racing or running faster or further than you want to and in the summer, most of the running we do is done off-road; either along the Wombourne Railway Walk or the local canals. (That's so that no one will see us suffering when we're not at our best.) In winter however, we have to use the roads and street lighting around the village in the week but still manage to go off road on a Sunday. 

You'll thoroughly enjoy it and make loads of new friends. 

It's not a club for poseurs, there's no little clichés or cattiness, you don't have to fit in to a size 8 leotard, you won't be pressurised into racing and once committed, and once joined nobody ever really leaves. 

When you see how we organise the group, you'll understand how simple and effective it is. No one is ever left on their own or feels as if they're holding everybody up or finishing last, believe me, even the bigger ladies do not finish last, so no one loses confidence and they always have someone to run with and progress at their own rate. 

People in the club will tell you that you don't have to be a world beater, there is no stress and no pressure to compete or race if you don't want to and as I said before, there are no men around to make any of the less confident women feel self conscious or run faster or further than they want to."

"A lot of people ask what the secret of our success is", says Rita, “but all I can say is that it works by building up people’s confidence and making them feel comfortable with running whatever their size, age or fitness level.” And it certainly works – the 10-week beginners’ programmes are now so popular that there are waiting lists for them.

 “We have large ladies looking to lose weight and smaller ladies looking to build themselves up. The youngest is about 12 and the oldest over 65. We have numerous Nurses, Teachers, Doctors, Council Workers, Office Workers and Housewives. In fact the whole spread of society”. 

Rita goes on to say “No-one can believe how fantastic the atmosphere is until they come and experience it for themselves and because it’s an all women’s group,  everyone is in the same boat and there’s lots of laughing and talking but most of all, it’s fun and because we’re out doors there’s always something different to see. 

But it's much more than a running club and we regularly go out for social evenings and trips to Baltis, Discos, and Skittle Evenings etc, and one year, some of the girls even stripped off for a Calendar Girls type photo shoot."

So if you are a beginner that wants to join in with the fun and learn to run or you're an established runner that would like the safety and companionship of running within a large group, you can get further information by emailing Rita on rita@dudleyladies.co.uk

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For More Information Contact:

Dudley Ladies Running Club
c/o Wombourne Leisure Centre
Tel 01902 898202 or
Email: rita@dudleyladies.co.uk

Site Last modified: January 29, 2016