Bowhill Running Group Couch to 5k

A group of parents from Exeter embark on a journey from couch to 5k in 9 weeks as part of a community running group.

The challenge of getting young parents to engage in physical fitness has long been recognised as a difficult one.There are many barriers to participation: cost, time, childcare to name but a few. However Active Devon have been working with community partners to set up a range of different local informal physical activities targeted around the specific needs of hard to reach groups. Working with Bowhill Primary School, a larger than average primary school with a larger than average percentage of children with a disability, they set up a Couch to 5k beginner runner group.

“My mum said when I was born the doctors said I would never walk and now I’m running”. Sam, beginner runner with 2 children

“It’s helped with engaging some of our harder to reach parents who are now up and getting physical”. Kate Williams – Parent Support Adviser,

Parents at Bowhill Primary School came together to discuss setting up an informal group around getting fitter and decided on a beginners runner group. Flyers were sent out in the children’s book bags and the response was extremely encouraging. 12 people signed up to a 10 week course, which was led by the School’s Parent Support Adviser, Kate Williams. Almost without exception, when interviewed an important criteria in choosing an activity was cost. It had to be free!

“We were both looking for something to do that was free and not on our own” said Sam and Janine.

Most of the participants had never done any running before, or if they had, their only experience had been their local Race for Life.

Benefits of running

“I’ve actually noticed that I can go for longer, started to feel the benefits of feeling a bit more energised”. Ella

“I don’t get out of breath as much now” Sam.

“Now we go for a run during an evening together and it’s quite nice to escape from the family”.Janine

“We’re all quite close now as a group and have a laugh” Melissa

“I’ve met new people from the school” – Ella

“I’m definitely a lot fitter than I was and it’s not too bad because it just builds you up week on week so it’s not horrific like you’ve just run from nothing to 10 miles!”

For more information on setting up a group contact us or click this link for podcasts with a week-by-week description of the 9-week set of Couch to 5K podcasts. Each week involves 3 runs.


Active Devon supported a group of parents from Exeter embark on a journey from couch to 5k in 9 weeks as part of a community running group.
Be inspired as mums go from couch to 5k in 9 weeks!