Andy Raju

It was actually being accepted via ballot entry for the 2014 London Marathon that got me into running. What I learnt over time is that no runner started off by being a runner, it takes time and dedication. As a runner you have to expect both good days as well as off days as it takes time, but like with any physical activity, you must never give up! I had to be patient, and explore and try different running routes until I found a few that I enjoyed.

You will have some aches and pains but you must always respect the distance whether it is 5k or more. I therefore realised that all of these reasons are all of what can be applied for not only in running, or in any other activity or sport, but in life. Another lesson learnt is that running can be a great stress reliever, and helps to keep your mind at rest, as well as keeping your body in shape. After the marathon, I really got the bug, and felt encouraged to sign up for more races of varying distance such as 5k, 10k, and half marathons in order to build up my experience as well as my confidence in running, and setting goals. This included beating my best times and in general aiming to better myself.

My motto is ‘make running and walking a lifestyle’ it is not just a motto, I really do try and live by that. The way I see it, is that physical activity is a necessity in life, and being active is also about being healthy and feeling better. I have always tried to make physical activity a fun habit instead of a chore, which is what I tell others too who walk and run with me. I feel by doing this, I will continue enjoying this healthy habit and maintain and build upon.

Since running became a big part of my life, friends and neighbours kept asking me to help them get started. I completed a Leadership in Running Fitness Course (LiRF) back in May 2017, and became a UKA Run Leader. I have since started and have continued my local walking & running group ‘Run with Andy®` where running sessions take place twice a month, and walking sessions take place once a week from One Tree Hill Recreational Ground, Alperton, Wembley.

My aim is not only to get people out and active, but to also help make physical activity enjoyable and rewarding. I provide various trail walking routes and on my running sessions, combine the use of the outdoor gym located at various parks in Brent to keep it interesting.

Since I first started my group we have gained recognition from Brent Council, Won our 1st award in 2018 as RunTogether Group of The Year, (London Region) which is governed by England Athletics, and in 2019 we gained further recognition for both RunTogether Group of The Year as well as Run Leader of the Year! This journey grows from strength to strength!

I feel a sense of responsibility in my neighbourhood to help people reach their fitness goals whatever they may be, and to give encouragement and to maintain, in a fun and meaningful way.”

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