#BristolGirlsCan – Fleur’s Story

#BristolGirlsCan is a web-site run by Bristol City Council which encourages girls and ladies in Bristol to get involved in sport. Reproduced below is a piece from Fleur Cockley who is a Bristol & West Athletic Club run leader and assistant coach who is working towards her full UK AThletics Coachees licence which appeared on the #BristolGirlsCan web-site recently:

“At School I struggled in the classroom as I had and still have a very short attention span. Doing sports was the one thing I really enjoyed and felt I was good at. As a teenager I ran for Cornwall County and I won lots of races. I really loved running but inwardly I was very shy and by the time I was 16 I had given it up. I was struggling having to travel to races in mini buses with lots of boys. Although I had a fabulous time I found it really hard.

So for years I never ran, although I missed it. It wasn’t till about 12 years ago I decided to put back on my running shoes.  I remember feeling really self-conscious as I left my front door and started to jog because I had thought about it for so long. I had to keep telling myself just go for it you’ll be fine! I remember thinking everybody was looking at me and laughing, thinking how rubbish I looked. But I kept going and when I got home I felt so good and proud of myself for actually doing it that I decided to carry on.

Shortly after some friends asked if I wanted to join them in entering the Bristol half marathon which I agreed. If I’m honest I didn’t train for it, I just went out and did it telling myself I would not walk. I loved every minute of it. The crowd cheering us on and getting my amazing medal at the end, although the next day I could hardly walk and had to go down the stairs on my bum-that’s why it’s definately good to train for a long run!

I lived near a running track and used to regularly watch the runners go there. They all looked like they were having a great time and I presumed they were all really good runners and that I wouldn’t be good enough to join. I was too nervous to even ask. So another 3 to 4 years passed until I plucked up the courage to ask and I’m so glad I did. They were lovely and said come along on Thursday which I did and this was about 3 years ago. 

Since then I’ve made some amazing friends and have never looked back. I was asked to become a Run Leader and have enjoyed working with beginners and seeing them progress – some people have never even put a pair of running shoes on before! In a world of photo shop and pressure to be a certain size or look a certain way I love that I can help people to feel good about themselves and it’s also helped me build my own confidence. I now coach the under-17 girls.

I love working with females so if anyone is reading this please feel free to come along to Bristol & West running club at Whitehall. The club is very inclusive and caters for all abilities. There are people of all ages and it’s something the whole family can be involved in. All you need are comfy trainers a good sports bra (supermarkets sell them) and clothes that will allow you to move. It doesn’t have to be Lycra! As long as you are comfy then come along.

To get hold of Bristol and West you can go on the web site which is Bristol and West Athletics club www.bristolandwestac.org

Or come along to recreational running at the club which is Whitehall on Monday and Thursday at 7pm any problems please email Alice at  membership@bristolandwest.org “.

Fleur is one of the club’s characters and is doing a great job with Paul Owen coaching the under-17 girls endurance group. There is a lovely photo of Fleur at the following link: http://www.bristolandwestac.org/social/fleur-cockley/