Elinor Doherty, 35, from New Mills only started running a few years ago. After initially finding it hard she caught the running bug. She became a Jog Derbyshire leader and the confidence this brought gave her the push she needed to pursue a career in something she was passionate about – supporting people to become more active and achieve their goals. After kicking off with a Christmas themed exercise class at the end of last year she’s now holding a regular movie themed classes with lots more ideas in the pipeline.
Elinor said: “I’d only class myself as an average runner. I started a few years ago because my mum pushed me to enter a 10k. I found it really hard and nearly gave up but in the end I did it and I felt so pleased I’d achieved it that spurred me on to keep going.
“I used to go to couple of other running groups and knew how great it can make you feel. It’s especially been good for my mental health as I’ve had problems with anxiety in the past.
Setting up the Jolly Joggers
“When the opportunity came up to do a leader course I decided to go for it and set up the Jolly Joggers group in New Mills.
“I gave it a bit of a silly name because I didn’t want it to be intimidating. I wanted to target normal people who just want to give running a go.
“I’m a strong believer that you don’t have to run a whole course for it to be worthwhile. You should do it however you enjoy it. If someone had told me I had to run the whole of that first 10k I’d never have done it.
“The group has worked really well. We get lots of types of people who think they can’t do it and it’s such a nice feeling when you show them they can.
“When I started Jolly Joggers I’d only done a one-day leader’s course and didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. But a year later and lots of research and talking to people I feel like a pro now.
Gaining the confidence to turn my passion into a career
“I was then in a position where I couldn’t go any higher in my main job in a school and I thought, I’d love to be able to make a job out of what I do with Jolly Joggers – helping people be more active.
“Being a leader with Jog Derbyshire had given me the confidence I needed so I did my fitness instructor qualification, took the plunge and left my job. It was big decision to leave after 10 years.
“My main aim is to show people exercise can be fun. So many people are put off because they think it’s boring, and some exercise can be. But I like to make it a bit silly with things like fancy dress.
“I’ve started out with a Christmas themed exercise session which went really well, even though I worried no one would want to come. Lots of Jolly Joggers also came to support me. I’m now doing ‘Jolly Movie-cise’ which is movie night dance fit. I hold classes in New Mills and Hayfield and I’m loving them.
What’s in store for the future
“I’m just starting to get a feel for what people want to do now for future sessions. Lots of people want things where they can bring their children, because childcare is a barrier for a lot of people to attend classes.
“There’s also been a lot of interest for younger teenagers who are too young to do gym classes. I’m hoping to get qualified to teach younger people and also do gentler classes for older people.
“I still do some supply work at the school and I’m hoping to do some ‘jog mentoring’, taking students on a short jog while having a chat about how they are doing. I was inspired even more by the recent Mental Health Awareness training I was able to do with Jog Derbyshire and Derbyshire MIND.
“Seeing people achieve stuff makes me feel really emotional. I love how many friendships have formed through the Jolly Joggers group – it brings people together, it feels like magic.”
Find out more
You can find out more information about the New Mills Jolly Joggers including when and where they meet here.