In May 2021, SJ Running launched their very own Couch to 5K programme. The programme was designed for beginners who have been wanting to start running but were either nervous or unsure on how to start. It was also aimed to gradually help runners be able to build up their running ability and be confident with their runs.

The programme was delivered over 9 weeks, with one coached run per week and the participant completing an additional 2 runs on their own in the week. The runs covered the Watford and Stanmore area. Alhamdullilah, we had great uptake and our running coordinators mentored and coached the runners over 9 weeks guiding, encouraging and providing tips to achieve their goals.


We asked two of the participants to tell us about their experience: 

‘Prior to joining the SJ C25K experience, I had always wanted to improve my stamina, embarrassed to run in case I needed to stop. I tried the apps for the Couch to 5K but would lose motivation when not able to run the specified amount of time. Joining the SJ C25K was so much more than I expected. I began to not only feel motivated but found myself looking forward to and counting the days until our next group run each week. Kayla, the group lead, was so patient and encouraging, always pushing me past the next hurdle and the blocks on my mind. Her useful tips helped me not only during the sessions but also to continue the running independently throughout the week. I was always so amazed by what I achieved and would not have been able to do that alone. Thanks to the C25K experience, Alhamdulillah I now feel confident to run outdoors and join park runs. The experience has helped me hugely. I not only achieved my goal of increasing my stamina but so much more. It improved my confidence, helped me lose weight and changed my perspective and attitude towards running.  Words can’t express how hugely grateful I am to the organisers and especially Kayla for boosting my confidence and pushing me to achieve my goals. Jazakallah’


‘The Couch to 5k with SJ Ladies was a fantastic programme that weaned many ladies into running, pushed us to get out of our comfort zone and great social engagement (made many friends along the way!). The programme was suitable for anyone who has never run before or has been a while since they have run, to get back into it. The best aspect I found about it is that it pushed me to achieve more but at the same time there was flexibility to take it at your own pace, if I felt I just couldn’t do the run, I’d take a short break and get back on track. With this I was able to complete 5K and feel enlivened. The support we got from the coordinators to ensure we stayed on track was amazing. Thank you ever so much for taking your time out and showing SJ Ladies that we aren’t women who will be swayed or daunted by challenges, we will rise up and smash it!’ – Abraar Mamdani


Why not join the increasing pool of SJ Runners?! If you would like to get involved please contact one of the coordinators, Sakina Sidik, Kayla Black or Tarannam Khaku or email