We are Revolution Runners, a running community set up by me Paul. This was me. In this photo I was 22 stone at the age of 22. I was in an eating cycle with many moving parts. The only parts that weren’t moving were my legs other than take the rest of me to the fridge and back, or the front door to pay the take-away delivery driver. The cycle I was stuck in was one of eating, eating, then eating some more. I wasn’t happy, I couldn’t buy nice clothes. In fact, in this photo I was wearing elasticated trousers. I couldn’t walk the length of myself without breaking sweat and getting out of breath. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get out of the situation I had put myself in. The changing point came when I had to buy a pair of trousers for a new job and had to go to what I called “an ole mans shop” on High Street in Belfast City centre. I couldn’t fit into a size 38” waist trouser (the biggest that most shops sold), but I fooled myself that Next and Topman were just small fitting.
I went into the shop and asked for a 38, the fella serving me raised his eyes in amazement. After a while and a lot of embarrassment I left the shop with a size 44” waist trouser. That was enough to break the cycle (not that I would have ever got on an actual cycle without breaking it). From that moment I began to break down the habits and change the patterns of my life that were causing the overeating. I started walking up the Cavehill, being dragged up by Colm ‘Simba’ Girvan. He brought me and his brother Sean up with him. After a few weeks, my mood had lifted, the weight was starting to come off and I was starting to feel a lot happier than I had in years. We were running along more like navy walruses than navy seals, but it was working. I liked the running and from then that was me hooked.
Like an advert for a weight loss drink, where I stand in one of the legs of an old pair of trousers, holding a can of milkshake and a bowl of cereal, this is me now. From gradually making my way bit by bit up and over the Cavehill, I now run 10ks, half marathons, full marathons, with the aim of completing an ultra-marathon in the not too distant future. I can honestly say running has changed my life. It has made me physically and mentally stronger. The freedom that a pair of running shoes gives you is immeasurable. Running gives, you the opportunity to get out, get some fresh air and take a break from stress. Not by any stretch of the imagination am I saying that running is a magical cure for everything but it certainly gives people the opportunity to turn off the stress for a while, leave it alone and come back to it with a fresh mind and possibly a different way of thinking about it. Living in Belfast we are surrounded by so many good places to run, we are incredibly lucky. Saying that the weather isn’t always the best but sure once you’re out, you’re out and that’s it, when you are soaked through you can’t get any wetter so you may as well push on and ‘keep er lit’.
It is through my love of running that Revolution Runners came about. I talked long enough about setting something up, with a friend that owns a gym called Revolution Fitness in Mallusk Newtownabbey (hence the name). I have never joined a running club as I go out when I can fit it in, which is usually between 5:30 and 6:30 in the morning and no club I know around here goes out at that time, so I plodded on, on my own. I started to realise that I was meeting the same people on the roads at the same time in the morning, so thought there actually is other headers out there running in the dark cold winter mornings, when sunrise just means the clouds are a lighter shade of dark grey, and the hail stones pelt you up the face like golf balls. I got talking to a couple of the people I met and talked about trying to meet up and get a run together, it ended up being 4 or 5 of us talking about it, so I used the opportunity to form Revolution Runners We are a running club that isn’t a running club, and that’s how I like it. I run the show and am currently studying for my next level of Athletics Coach which would have been achieved already apart from lockdown and social distancing.
We offer a number of different options; we start from the start with a couch to 5k programme for people just beginning or wanting to get back into running. We welcome back with open arms, repeat offenders who claim they will see each programme through but fall out at the same point every-time (I am still very confident that I could train any of them or anyone else, from not being able to walk the length of themselves, to the finish line of a marathon)
After the Couch to 5k we offer the opportunity to go onto the next programme to get to 10k (this programme is open to anyone that has a bit of running experience and wants to try and get to 10k)
We have a group that trains for half marathons and full marathons. As I said though we are a club that’s not a club, so as far as the half marathon training goes, this is a group that WhatsApp’s each other saying where and when they are going for a run and anyone that wants to join in can. The type of run ranges from long slow runs through to hill repeats, sprints and any other strength and conditioning sessions.
If all that wasn’t enough, we offer individual programmes. This is broken down into two different types. A block plan or a bespoke plan.
The block plan is separated out into 8, 12 or 16 weeks, and is tailored towards someone that knows what they want in terms of an achievable time or distance. I listen to what you are looking for and build the program around this.
The bespoke plan is tailored to someone that may just be wanting to start running or trying to aim for a new distance and don’t know how to go about it. This is again broken down into 8, 12- and 16-week blocks. The plan involves regular open communication through social media or phone-call. The plan can be amended or changed depending on results from the training sessions.
The last option is a monthly plan, offered from 3 months (minimum) through to 12 months. This involves a new plan every 4 weeks, changing and adapting to build on results from training and any warmup races, full communication access and assessment of runs to help you achieve your goals is provided.
I know what it’s like to start running, I’ve been there, seen it and bought the xxxl t shirt, trust me stick with it, it is worth it. The freedom it brings is worth it alone, when you throw in finishing your first race and being part of a race day, you will be hooked. If you want to join the couch to 5k, or 10k or any other group, or if you are interested in any of the programs we offer get in touch. I am also more than happy to help provide advice at all.
I’m now going to repay the favour to Simba and indeed Gerry by helping out on the site. I aim to get ‘chocolate knees’ and ‘Mr. Football stories’ back fit again! Contact us through any of our social media outlets.