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.
year, nearly 200 ladies turned up to take their first steps towards
achieving their goal of running 3 miles within 10 weeks and practically
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.
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.
“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
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
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
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
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."
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”.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org