About us

Where It All Began

In April 2013 Rick Wilson agreed to run for charity in the Pennine 10k Road Race. Rick was 46 years old, weighed 19.5 stones, had never exercised in his life and was breathless when climbing the stairs at work. He had 8 weeks to somehow get fit enough to run the 10km route (6.2 miles) and was determined he would not walk any of it.

He knew someone who had done something similar, using the NHS approved Couch to 5K plan, and decided to give it a go – but searching for local Couch to 5K groups drew a complete blank. At the time, nobody offered these sessions as a way of starting running.

Also, to stand a chance of successfully learning to run, he needed to train at least 3 times per week, but beginner running groups only offered one session per week, leaving you to complete additional runs on your own, as ‘homework’. To further deter him, all the photos on the beginner running group websites were of “fit, athletic looking people”, with runs being advertised as “3 miles, steady pace” – it certainly wasn’t what Rick would have considered ‘beginner running’ and he didn’t even consider attending one!

Not wanting to give in, Rick followed the Couch to 5K plan on his own and, despite it being hard, he completed every single session and ran 5km, without stopping, for the first time after 6 weeks. This plan really did work! Over the next 2 weeks he put in a massive amount of effort to quickly increase the distance he was able to run. On June 2nd 2013 he successfully completed the Pennine 10k Road Race for his chosen charity and he was 3 stones lighter than when he had started 8 weeks earlier.

He immediately founded Blackburn Couch to 5K, which is informal, free to attend, meets 3 times per week, meticulously follows the NHS Couch to 5K plan and offers support to people who are inactive or are doing very little exercise at all. It’s made possible by a large team of amazing volunteers who all give up their time for free to help new runners.

Couch to Marathon

Rick has since ran numerous 10km races, has supported thousands of new runners through the Couch to 5K plan, runs regular half marathon races and has completed numerous full marathons, both at home and abroad.

Anyone Can Do It!

The multiple award winning Couch to 5K sessions at Witton Park are the largest in the UK, and possibly the world, with hundreds of people attending each session three times per week.

The Couch to 5K plan is designed to get you off the couch and gradually work you up to running 5K or for half an hour, in just nine weeks. We know its difficult to start the Couch to 5K plan on your own, and we also know that if you start the plan with others, then you have a far greater chance of completing it.

That’s why we have come together to offer you an opportunity to embark on your Couch to 5K journey alongside other people. You also have the additional support of our volunteer mentors who attend each session and, most importantly, have all successfully completed the plan themselves.

The ethos of the Blackburn Couch to 5K team is generosity, support, encouragement, collaboration, action and commitment; if you come down to visit us it can be seen in many different ways.