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*Full Testimonial Version of Laura’s Rise to the Top*

Deciding to run the Manchester 10k in 2009 seemed like a good and meaningful challenge to take on. Putting a target time limit of sub 50 minutes seemed to take my self-imposed challenge into a whole new dimension. I decided to seek help by joining the newly formed and well recommended running club at David Lloyd. Turning up apprehensive of my 1st session I was greeted by instructor Mike Jones. I instantly warmed to him and his passion for running. Instantly, it brought a warm feeling about the challenge I was to face in the coming May. I had 3 months to train for my race. Mike took the time to evaluate where I currently was in the way of fitness and form a program suited to my preferences.

Mike Jones - Running Coach

Mike Jones – Running Coach

The 1st session consisted of interval training. I found the session really tough, it hurt but I couldn’t wait to come back for the next session the following week. Now written regimentally into my regime along with various other longer runs, tempo 5k’s and a track session Mike evolved my training plan. Race day came…. and I smashed it! 49 minutes with goose bumps and a smile on my face the whole way. Within 9 months not only had I maintained my running, I now had a passion. With Mikes fantastic mentoring I entered my 1st half marathon 6 months later hitting a time of 1.49! Hoping for bang on 2 hours I was over the moon with my achievement. Mike worked hard on my endurance and speed combined and after 2 months I completed The Wilmslow Half Marathon in 1h 38mins…I’m not ashamed to say that I was actually crying as I crossed over the finish line!

Wilmslow Half Marathon

The Wilmslow Half Marathon

I now needed a bigger, even harder challenge. Mike felt I was ready for a full marathon and I scored a place at the Dublin Marathon in the October. Following Mike’s training programme, ensuring I was not doing too much (something I am afraid I was guilty of doing) I was ready for a sub 4 hour! On the actual race day I felt great. I listened to all Mike’s advice. He said “start very steady and take it easy early on”, at the halfway point I felt awesome so I kicked and then at 23 miles I saw my parents. My dad was shouting “You are sub 3.30 Lau!!” and I noticed my Mum crying! I kicked again. The crowed were roaring (just for me of course!) and I finished with a sub 3.24! I was totally elated!!

On the hunt to better the full marathon challenge, I decided that because I can swim a bit, I fancied taking part in a triathlon. Once again, Mike set me up with a great program with a wide variety of strength building, speed work and endurance on all 3 disciplines. I was flying and hitting the top 5 in most triathlons. My next step was hitting the longer distances. Training was progressing so well that I signed up for an Ironman! Around 4 weeks before race day I did a training long course race in Wales. I picked up 2nd place, even after having to contend with a mechanically terrible bike, but due to my fantastic run and swim my performance was noticed. Incredibly, the British Triathlon Federation contacted me to ask me to race as a professional.

Triathlon Involves a Swim

The Triathlon involves a swim too!

This applied pressure but I stuck to my race plan of the Ironman UK 2013. With a smile on my face the whole way I completed my challenge in a time of 11.27. Mike stood at the tough part of the run course cheering me on for 3 hours!

Mike has brought sport to my life. He has taken me from someone who struggled to runs mile into a professional long distance triathlete. Not only has he done this for me, both my parents have been coached by him and done sub 1.54 half marathons. Without his encouragement, belief, fantastic skills as a coach I would not have experienced the most awesome and amazing days of my life.

Thank you Mike,


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