Dumbell lifter, protein shake drinker and wishful thinker Adeel has never been a fan of running. However this May it was the Great Birmingham 10k and the perfect time to wrestle those demons away.

“Two years ago and five stone heavier I was holiday shopping in Bullring all excited, when I see a crowd of people running in the Great Birmingham 10k and thought what’s the point of this? Fast forward to last Sunday and after running 5k in 23 degrees heat, I was still thinking the same!

It felt like the finish line was years away and the shade of Cannon Hill Park never felt so cool. But the encouragement from the crowd, volunteers providing water, young children with water pistols and Run Birmingham activators meant I wasn’t going to give up, not this time.

Running has never been on my agenda, I lost that battle many years ago. In school I somehow always dodged cross-country, running on a treadmill was the most boring thing ever and the odds of me running on the street were similar to me winning the lottery.

In October 2016 – March 2017, I had a major lifestyle change and lost five stone in weight, mainly from consistent circuit training, weight-lifting, sports and a strict diet. There was some running but nothing more than 5-10 mins. The only form of cardio I ever did was walking, bike, cross-trainer or general sports.

Around the same time I started working for Sport Birmingham & Run Birmingham – despite losing so much weight, my colleagues were still surprised I didn’t catch the running bug! I preferred the gym and believed if I ran, all those hard-earned gains would melt away!

This year things changed, I ran out of excuses and despite no training and a few injuries from cricket and the gym, I decided to enter. The Run Birmingham team are always talking about running and I wanted to see what all this hype was about.

So there I was 5k in, the most I’ve ever ran, but at the same time ready to give up with the deadliest stitch ever! I look over to my left and I see guy similar to me, he was wearing a vest and it was obvious he goes to the gym. I tell him I’m struggling here and ask him do you run often? He’s like yes helps me a lot in the gym. I’m like ‘How?’ and he’s says it helps blood flow, stamina, strength, sleep, etc.

Although there might be some scientific evidence that long distance running may burn some muscle as well as fat, there are still many other benefits to running which are often ignored by gym-goers.

I think the biggest benefit is that running makes you feel better and happier. It felt great running with others, all different ages, and abilities but with one common purpose, running.

So the last few kilometres I hustled over the finish line using my interval skills gained from circuit training. But it felt great, I think I overcame an obstacle and mental barrier. This was the furthest and quickest I’ve ever ran and started to understand why people I know enjoy running and I felt some of the many benefits!

So if you’re a regular gym-goer who doesn’t do “cardio”, I’d say give it a try. You’d rather aim to be an all-round athlete who can move as well as turn heads in the gym.

Running is good for your health, mentally stimulating, and the challenge builds character. Run Birmingham groups are a bonus because being in a group makes it easier, you feel part of something big and the activators are very supporting. Click here  to find out how you can start.”

We’re keen to hear from people on how they started their running journey. 

If you’d like to do a guest blog for Run Birmingham please email adeel.khan@sportbirmingham.org