Anna Junping.jpg
Anna Running.jpg

What made you want to start a running club?

I love to run… I also love to eat. Morning, noon, night - Feeling tired, feeling happy, feeling under the weather no matter what else is going on if I have the boys covered and 20 minutes or more to run and the trainers are on. Running hasn’t let me down yet, always making me feel alive, happy, energised, de-stressed and also allows me to be outside in the fresh air and keeping fit. Bonus!!

I started RLJ 6 years ago with 4 ladies when my babies were small. My youngest started nursery for 4 hours a week and in that time I decided I would run and even better run with other lovely ladies and build a business out of my passion. The group has gone from strength to strength in the last 6 years and I have loved every session. It’s been amazing getting to know so many interesting and amazing ladies. Not one session is ever the same and I love it.

While at University I got Meningitis and Septicaemia and with the illness at its worst I was told I would lose one if not both of my legs. I was very lucky and didn’t. Every day since I have thought I need these amazing legs (sometimes hairy, of course with some lumps and bumps etc.) but I’m never going to take them for granted again. If they can help others as well then even better. That’s where post recovery my love for running really took off. It also stuck in my brain the A & E team saying if this girl wasn’t fit, she wouldn’t have made it. They didn’t know I could hear them but I’ve never forgotten it.

Honestly if I can, you can too.

What other hobbies do you have outside of running?

My other hobbies are spending time with my family and my friends. If I can run with them then double winner. Any free time I have not thinking about RLJ, working on new ideas for RLJ, running with RLJ I’ll be enjoying time with family and friends. Work hard, play hard.

I also love to dance. Not ballet, tap etc my body isn’t built for that. Crazy dancing with the kids to good old tunes or in a cheesy bar with buddies. Skiing is a new found passion and hobby discovered in the last few years too.

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Do you ever have bad running days?

Honestly I never a bad run with RLJ gang. We have some tough ones, we have emotional ones, we also have ones where the plan may change but never bad ones. They all give back something no matter how big or small.

I do sometimes feel bad when running but that normally is self-inflicted or means I need to get my butt out and train harder which I then see as a new challenge. Wind, rain, shine, hail, sleet, snow, sun. Never bad, just different.

I’ve fallen, tripped, been chased by cows, witness accidents, got lost (a good few times) had to bush wee and more (frequently) helped look for missing children, looked for lost keys in a wood, witnessed people doing the walk of shame on a Sunday morning, crossed ravines, dropped lost property into a police station. Every run is different. That’s why I love it.

If you could describe your perfect day, what would it look like?

My perfect day would be laying on a beach with a bottle of fizz in a hot county then a dip in the sea with my family, having been for a gorgeous scenic run first thing in the morning.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I can honestly 100 percent say it’s being with such lovely ladies from all walks of life, jobs, stages of life every day. Each lady brings something great to our RLJ family without even knowing it.

I love seeing ladies progressing from never running before, gaining, fitness, losing weight, coming back to running after a break and helping with mental health issues. We laugh lots, sometimes we have tears, we run and so much is shared together stories, experience, and happiness. I don’t see it as a job, it’s a pleasure. Feeling a bit emotional ladies!! Writing this is re reminding me why I love doing what I do. I look forward to continuing to see the group go from strength to strength over the years ahead.