Lyndsay’s “Couch to 5k” to Half Marathon Challenge.

October 7th, 2019 Posted in Supporter Stories

Lyndsay Burder took on the “couch to 5k” challenge as an incentive to get fit and out and about in a new location. Just 18 months later, Lyndsay, along with one of her best friends, Ali, would take on 13.1 miles of a half marathon to raise funds for our Hospice in memory of her Grandad.

This is Lyndsay’s story.

Lyndsay and Ali on a training run

My running story coincides with our move to beautiful Bridestowe, West Devon in Winter 2017 with my Husband, Paul and our children (Elin who is now 7 & Tommy, 4) to seek out a little “work – life – balance”.  At the same time I started a new job for an amazing employer (hi Vetro Recruitment!) who allow the flexibility to work part time “remotely” from home.   I am also lucky enough to live around the corner from one of my best friends, Ali. Ali and I also went to the same university together where we met our husbands and pretty much followed a similar path in life; from being the last ones on the dance floor at a party, to settling down and having children at near enough similar times.

After a couple of months into the new job role / house … the dark nights started to draw in as did cabin fever!  With Ali now in the same village, it  was quite easy to look for an excuse to escape the juggling act of children and work and catch up post bedtime over a g&t or two…

So this is when it happened. In a bid to get fit and reign in gin drinking as a sport, we exchanged gin and peanuts for trainers and the “couch to 5k” app!

From couch to 5k….

Fast forward a few months – we did it! Taking one step at a time we completed the couch to 5k programme – come rain, wind, hail and even snow! We grew in confidence and challenged ourselves to train for our first 10k, which was a race for life in July 2018. We continued with our running after this point but 10k was our limit. We definitely noticed the benefits of running after time, both physically and mentally.

Needless to say, we became quite comfortable running this distance so the next challenge we set ourselves, earlier on this year, was the Cardinham Summer Series Half Marathon 2019 on the 17th August 2019. A trail run set in the idyllic Cardinham Woods near Bodmin in Cornwall. Squeezing in the time to manage longer runs was our biggest challenge but somehow managed to stick to a training programme fuelled by Haribo and on open moorland to prepare us for the big day!

Running for Rowans Hospice

Lyndsay’s Grandparents with Elin and Tommy

As we were pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, I really wanted to incentivise the challenge and what better way to do this and run to support a charity. Running this for Rowans Hospice is the icing on the cake, as my family are indebted to them for the care and support they gave to my lovely Grandad, Fred Malcolm. A proud man, with so many stories of past adventures to tell. Alongside my beautiful  Nana he has been such a huge influence in my life, as they helped raise me from a baby to the the 36 year old lady I am today.  Grandad sadly passed away June this year at the age of 92. Prior to this, Rowans provided end-of-life care to enable Grandad to be surrounded by his loved ones and remain at home for as long as possible before his needs progressed. The care he received was second to none, 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.  The support was amazing, not only so attentive to his personal needs but also supporting my family and Nana at such an emotional time.

Every bit of pain we go through on race day will be nothing compared to all those patients currently under the care of the hospice and it will be the thought of them and my Grandad that keeps me going!

Race Day:

When the destined day came, I tried to go to bed early and get plenty of sleep but failed horribly.  I absolutely cannot sleep the night before big events in my life, whether I’m nervous or not! Also with school summer holidays in full swing, training beforehand was unfortunately winding down! We figured our longest run to this point was 11 miles so surely we can find the extra two on the day?! Despite it being mid August we had a week of rain so prepared ourselves for being muddy underfoot!.

Miles 1-8

I felt really good for the first part of the race. However, we were going in a little bit blind and really should have taken note of the elevation …. Oh the HILLS… !!  The race had lots of encouraging volunteers, who cheered us on which was really helpful, along with water and Haribo stops! We saw our families at around mile 6. The children cheering us on enabled some super magical powers to push us up the next hill!

Miles 9-13.1

Ahhh I hit a BIG wall! The variation of terrain and elevation really was a killer! Luckily Ali found the strength for both of us.  Drip feeding me Haribo and managing motivational talk between breaths whilst also trying to push on herself. Ali you were a real trooper!  I struggled, especially in mile 11. It just seemed like it dragged on forever! The last mile was the best of course … knowing the end was near (!) Ali took my hand at this point and pushed me through the mental battle of ‘I can’t’ to ‘you can’! I’m sure I had a similar conversation when having my two children!


We did it! Our aim was … well to complete it! Coming 44th in senior female category in 2:52 covering 2000 metres of elevation! But I really have achieved things I never thought I would be able to, from my first 10k in 2017 to my 10k PB of just over 58 minutes earlier this year. And now, making the move into longer distance trail running, with my first half marathon race, all for an amazing cause and in memory of my hero. Grandad.

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How we celebrated after

6So despite the blisters and tired legs we fought through the pain and what would be more fitting than to dance the night away to some live music at our local festival ‘Leawoodstock’. Of course we toasted our achievements with our old friends Gin & Tonic. I looked at my Garmin watch at the end of the night and our 13.1 miles from earlier on in the day increased to 21miles … so we really did dance our socks off!!



So to anyone thinking about taking their first steps into running, or pushing their goals to the next distance, event or challenge, I encourage you to just go for it!  Find your motivation that will get you through those tough runs on a cold Saturday mornings or dark winter nights, find those running buddies that will turn your training into a weekly catch up, and most importantly, lace up those trainers and get going, and keep going.

Thank you for reading my story, I fundraised for Rowans Hospice in South East Hampshire.  At Rowans Hospice they honour life and offer hope by providing the highest quality specialist end of life care.  They guide and support patients and those closest to them through the journey of their illness every step of the way.  This year it will cost £6.5 million to provide hospice care – only 12% of which is NHS funded. Delivering quality end of life care is impossible without the fantastic fundraising support – every penny counts.

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Thank you Lyndsay for sharing your story. If you would like to share a story with us about a fundraising event you took part in, please get in touch. Find out how you can get involved in fundraising for your local Hospice here.


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