What makes us “runners” is not the number of times we run a week neither is it the number of races we run, rather it is the journey we take, a journey which we all know can at times be tough leaving us in need of some motivation and inspiration to keep going.

With Running Clubs, Groups and communities a plenty, we don’t need to look far for support and motivation, but to me, that inspiration sits right next to me every day at work and her name is Sonia Edmonds. For anyone who runs within Shropshire, you’ve probably met Sonia either running or volunteering but I wanted to tell you all about this inspirational lady who has helped so many start their running journey and has been there to encourage and support them along every step of the way.

You cannot mistake Sonia’s passion for running, something which is nothing less than infectious. As part of a Company health promotion at work in 2016, in her own time, Sonia introduced a Couch to 5KM programme, seeing her colleagues graduate to their local Park Run in Telford. Seeing the positive impact this had on her colleagues and the friendships that had built, Sonia launched another Couch to 5KM in 2017, done not because it’s her job, but because where running is concerned, Sonia just wants to share her passion.

Sonia has completed numerous running events from marathons, cross country, relays and her local park run travelling within the UK and overseas to fulfil her passion. Despite being a busy runner (I get exhausted just thinking about all she does), Sonia is equally passionate about volunteering as she firmly believes as a runner, the events she enjoys so much can not happen without volunteers. This has seen Sonia become a regular volunteer at Telford Park Run, be part of the organisation team for The Iron Bridge Half, and part of the committee for her local Running club, Telford Harriers. Sonia was even a volunteer at UK Run Chat’s Shrewsbury Half Marathon in 2017 where she greeted runners at the finish line with their medals and her infectious smile.

When I attempted to start running, I did so to lose weight. I soon started to get the running bug but when I saw on social media people publishing their runs and beating their PB’s I simply became deflated and wanted to stop (we probably all know that feeling), I was stuck on 10 minute miles and nothing I did improved it. However, Sonia would often ask me about my running and she gave me the lift I needed to keep going and complete my first 10km a few months after. Sonia gave me the confidence to keep going and through Sonia’s encouragement and support she taught me that slow and steady is just as good as having a fast time and that running isn’t about getting the fastest time, it’s about whatever you want it to be; a stress release, some “me” time away from the kids or spending time with friends. The fact it was exercise was a bonus!

The greatest thing about Sonia is the fact she is so humble. Those who know Sonia know what impact she has had on so many people in the running community. She’s selfless and will often put aside her own plans to help and inspire others, this is why I wanted to share with you all what an inspirational lady she is. Over the years, her running has been for fun and being part of a community but this weekend Sonia will be running the inaugural Birmingham Marathon in memory of her mum who died 10 years ago following a short battle with cancer. This is a very special event for Sonia as Birmingham was her mum’s hometown, so a massive high five to Sonia, and wishing you all the very best with the run I know you’ve training so hard for!