In October 2012, I was almost 3 stone overweight and had never run in my life. I looked terrible, felt terrible, and considered exercise to be something I kept in a box marked “Things I Did Before I had Children”.

If you had told me then that less than two years later I would be setting up Your Running Mate, I would have laughed myself sick. I just didn’t do running, and moreover, I didn’t want to.

Biscuits for breakfast

One morning, I found myself eating biscuits for breakfast for the third time that week, and decided something had to be done. But what? I didn’t want to join a gym as I felt embarrassed about my size and lack of fitness, and I certainly didn’t have the confidence to join the super-fit individuals I had seen being put through their paces in the park.

I wanted to find something that I could do on my own at my own pace, where I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew, and which I could do without having to fork out for a load of expensive clothes or accessories. More than anything, I wanted to find something that I would stick at.

I can’t even remember why I decided to give running a go, but on Friday November 2nd 2012, I threw on an old t-shirt and leggings, a pair of trainers I’d had for over 10 years, and headed out to a nearby woodland track where I knew I wouldn’t be seen.

Ten rounds with Mike Tyson

I had heard that alternating running and walking was good for building up your stamina, so I started with a 25 minute workout – a 5 minute warm up walk, then alternating 60 seconds running with 90 seconds walking (repeated six times) and finally with a 5 minute cool down walk. I had run a grand total of 6 minutes and was hot, sweaty and SHATTERED.

But I also felt absolutely brilliant – it’s difficult to explain how amazing you feel after your first run, and how that feeling grows and grows with each subsequent run, but I felt on top of the world. I was so proud of myself – I had taken the first step to getting fit and although I looked and felt as if I had done ten rounds with Mike Tyson, I knew I wanted to carry on.

From that moment, I started falling in love with running.

I had done it, I had become a runner

For the next 8 weeks, I returned to my woodland track three times a week. No-one I knew saw me, could judge me on how out of breath I was or how difficult I found it, and certainly no-one could have prepared me for just how much I was loving each sweaty breathless step towards fitness.

Each visit, I increased the amount of time that I ran, at first ensuring there was lots of walking time too, but eventually I was running non-stop for what seemed to me to be incredible amounts of time – 5 minutes – 10 minutes – 20 minutes – half an hour!

Finally, on Saturday December 29th 2012, I ran non-stop for 35 minutes, which, at the speed I was running, was almost exactly 5k. I had done it, I had become a runner.

Your Running Mate is born...

The knock on effects of my new running obsession were huge – I was happier (how had I never before heard what a huge stress-buster running was?), and healthier (for some reason I stopped craving junk food and my eating habits improved immeasurably) and as a result within 8 months I dropped 3 dress sizes.

I was so much more confident in my fitness and was happy to share with my friends exactly what I had done. Some of them asked me to show them how I learned to run, and it was from there that the idea for Your Running Mate developed.

Fast forward 18 months and I have seen my story repeated several times over and consider my proudest moments to be when I am instrumental in helping previous non-believers fall in love with running.

I would really like my next convert to be you.

Emma Al-Jumaili
Founder of Your Running Mate
You can call me on 07958 727465 or email me if you have any questions.

It's not just me. Read my client's stories