Our Leaders

Erika Fitzgibbon

How did you get into running?
I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and put on medication to help with this in my early 50s. To also do something to strengthen my bones, I started jogging and joined a group from the women’s running network, but the group leader gave up and the group soon disbanded. After training to be a leader I re-started the group. Unfortunately, we were let down by ‘the women’s running network’, the umbrella organisation. This is when I got together with some other ladies and founded Women Running Penarth. That was in May 2011. I love introducing ladies to running and especially doing the beginners courses.
Over the last 12 years I have enjoyed racing many 5ks, 10ks, 1/2 marathons and full marathons, including 5 of the 6 Marathon Majors.
What has been your favourite event/race so far?
The Marathon Du Médoc which is like one big party and you drink wine.
What’s your favourite distance to run?
I enjoy all distances, but most of all enjoy helping others to achieve their goal.
How else do you like to train?
I like to cycle to see sights further afield than I can run to.
Are you a morning or an evening runner?
I like to run really early morning when it’s quiet and often beautifully clear weather
Do you prefer road or trail?
Road running is for me, because I got injured the first time I tried to run off-road which put me off, but on holiday I will run anywhere, even on the beach.
What’s your next goal?
Getting back to running. At the moment I am recovering from two hip replacement operation, one in January and the second in August 2020.
What’s your best piece of training advice you can share with others?
Run occasionally without a sports watch, just for the enjoyment of it.

Sue Lazarus

How did you get into running?

Started running 9 years ago with my husband, who was very patient with me, I was never sporty, was always the one who found excuses not to exercise.

I used to watch this group of ladies all in blue running past my office window, chatting and having a good time, and that’s how I found Women Running Penarth.

How long have you been with the club? As a leader and a member?

Joined September 2012, became a leader November 2015.

What has been your favourite event/race so far?

Favourite event has to be London Marathon in 2016, followed closely by Rock n Roll Philadelphia half marathon.

What’s your favourite distance to run?

Having run 39 half marathons, all for the bling, this has to be my favourite distance.

How else do you like to train? (Your second favourite sport?)

Until lock down I only ran, over the last couple of months have been introduced to Yoga, which I find tough but am enjoying and would recommend.

Are you a morning or an evening runner?

I prefer to run longer distances in the morning, but happy to run at any time, especially with company.

Do you prefer road or trail?

This question made me laugh, I don’t like mud, being honest here, so road, but have run 10k, half and ultra marathon on trails.

What’s your next goal?

Registered for an event in October covering distance, elevation and speed, this is a virtual challenge, with three amazing medals that interlink.

You got it I love my bling.

What’s your best piece of training advice you can share with others?

Patience is a virtue, we all learn to walk before we can run, so believe in yourself and you will do it.

Debi Richards

How did you get into running?

I did couch to 5k with Curves Gym then joined Women Running Penarth

How long have you been with the club?

I’ve been with the club since July 2018 and have been a Leader since March 2020

What has been your favourite event/race so far?

Snowdownia Marathon, love the hills and the scenery.

What’s your favourite distance to run?

My favourite is a half marathon

How else do you like to train?

Yoga is my main other sport but I do try and through in some strength training through the week.

Are you a morning or an evening runner?

Probably mornings if I’m running on my own

Do you prefer road or trail?

Trail running – less pressure on time and more physically challenging.

What’s your best piece of training advice you can share with others?

Listen to your body and rest when you need to.

Bron Calnon

How did you get into running?

I joined a social running club in uni called Cool Runnings and signed up to run a half marathon with them!

How long have you been with the club?

I’ve been with the club since September last year and have been a leader for about 6 months

What has been your favourite event/race so far?

Cardiff Half is definitely my fave but I really enjoyed the Resolution Run in my first photo too! (It helped I was first female )

What’s your favourite distance to run?

You can’t beat the sense of achievement after a half marathon but I also love a 10k (it’s over quicker)

How else do you like to train?

Cycling! Far lower impact than running and you can sit down the whole time – what’s not to love?

Are you a morning or an evening runner?

Definitely an evening runner – I always say I need at least two meals before I can even think about going for a run!

Do you prefer road or trail?

Trail, though I don’t do very much of it. Trail seems to go hand in hand with hills, and hills and I are not best friends

What’s your next goal?

I’m hoping to do a duathlon as soon as lockdown is over!

What’s your best piece of training advice you can share with others?

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just enjoy it!

Sarah Wymer

How did you get into running? I’ve been running on and off for about 20 years. There wasn’t a big life changing moment – it started gradually and in a fairly haphazard way. From what I could see it looked like a good way of keeping fit as it’s relatively inexpensive, easy to get started and could slot neatly into a busy life. Since joining the club I’ve got more interested, committed and now find myself signing up for events and scrolling through websites for running bits and bobs. At times life just gets in the way and I take a break but it’s always lovely to get running again.

How long have you been with the club? I joined soon after we moved to Penarth in 2016.  I wanted to put down some roots, put a bit more structure around my running, meet like minded people and make new friends. 

How long as a leader? I completed the Welsh Athletics Leadership in Running training in December 2020. Not the best timing! I’ve led a few sessions in the real world, worked out some solo runs which you can find on the WRP Facebook page and I can’t wait to throw myself into the role as soon as we’re able to get together again. 

What has been your favourite event /race so far? It’s so hard to choose – they’re all special in their own way. I love the excitement, crowds and enthusiastic support of the big events. I loved Swansea Half – it’s so pretty (and flat!) and I was a student there.  Cardiff Half was wonderful  as it’s home and there’s lots of support from  family and friends. Complety different was the Castle to Castle in aid of Velindre. It’s 11 miles along the Taff Trail between Caerphilly and Cardiff Castles.  Like me, I imagine everyone running had their own Velindre story –it was a privilege to be running and raising money for the hospital but it felt bitter sweet too.  The route was really pretty, the WRP girls popped up along the way to support me and Alison Dacey, and Patrick was waiting for me at the end. It’s a lovely memory.

Favourite distance? 10k – it’s an achievable challenge!

How else do you like to train? I’ve recently started strength and resistance work with a Personal Trainer. We started sessions at the gym but for now I’m following a plan from home.  I’m conscious that strength is as important as aerobic fitness – I’m hoping that it will deal with a few niggling aches and pains, improve my running  and set me up well for later life!  It’s really hard but I’m enjoying trying something completely different and in its own way I see it as a bit of self care.

Morning or evening runner?  Morning –It’s a big struggle getting up and out the door but it gets the day off to a great start.

Road or trail?  I mostly run on road but want to give trail running a go once we’re able to get out and about again.

Next goal?  I’d love to run a 10 k in under an hour. That’s quite a stretch for me – if I don’t that’s fine but I’ll give it my best shot!

Training advice? If it’s feeling too much break the distance down into manageable chunks – step by step,  the next lamppost, another mile, the next water station. I’ve found this works well in other areas of life too.

Clare Jones

How did you get into running? 

I drifted into it in 2014 when the Zumba classes I’d enjoyed were cancelled. A walk turned into a jog and I realised I enjoyed running. I decided to train for a 10k, managed that, and then a colleague suggested I try a half marathon. I didn’t think I could do it, but gave it a go and got the bug for races.

How long have you been with the club?

As a leader and a member? I joined the club in 2017. I’d become pretty bored with running alone all the time but had been worried that I’d be too slow for the club. I saw some WRP ladies at Grangemoor parkrun and realised that we were running at a similar pace which gave me the confidence to join the club. Since then, I’ve really enjoyed going to races and running with the club. I became a leader in December 2021. I never thought I’d be any good at leading as I generally have no sense of direction but I seem to muddle through!

What has been your favourite event/race so far? 

The race I’ll never forget was the London marathon. Due to the pandemic, I’d ended up training for it for 18 months, dealt with numerous injuries and was actually not looking forward to it by the time it came around. I felt like I wasn’t well- trained and it had started to feel like a burden. When I got to London, I went to the Expo (where you collect your bid and wander around pop-up running shops), met other people running it, and rediscovered my excitement for the event again. I enjoyed every minute of the race, managed a marathon PB, and had a lovely weekend in London.

What’s your favourite distance to run? 

This is tricky! I enjoy all of them for different reasons, but I guess I do enjoy a marathon for its challenge. I enjoy having a plan and trying to stick to it!

How else do you like to train? (Your second favourite sport?) 

I do Pilates twice a week. It’s nice being able to work-out in the warmth for a change, and I hope it keeps my muscles as strong as they can be too.

Are you a morning or an evening runner? 

Definitely morning. It’s great to get up before the roads and pavements are busy and I think I have more energy in the mornings. If I leave a long run until the evening I never feel very enthusiastic about it.

Do you prefer road or trail? 

I find trail running hard work and much prefer road running where you can switch off and not worry about where the next step is going.

What’s your next goal? I’ve booked on for the Newport Marathon in October so I’ll be digging the plan back out for that!

What’s your best piece of training advice you can share with others? 

Set yourself a challenge or an event and go for it. There have been plenty of times when I haven’t been able to run due to injury or illness and really missed it. Make the most of the times when you can get out there and run, and enjoy it.