A team of staff at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) are celebrating crossing the finish line, after successfully completing the NHS Couch to 5k programme.

The group – dubbed the RJAH Rockets! – launched back in September and have spent the past nine weeks completing the programme, to celebrate their graduation by taking on Oswestry’s parkrun – a 5k route at Henley Wood.

The Rockets were guided through the plan by experienced run leader Marion Pavitt, who guided the group through the basics of running with the eventual goal of completing the parkrun together.

One of the eleven members of staff to complete the plan was Heather Thomas-Bache, Head of Fundraising, Volunteering and Communications for the League of Friends to the Oswestry-based hospital.

She said: “I’ve really enjoyed doing the Couch to 5k programme – I’m planning to carry on with running and have booked a 10k race in April 2023 to give me another target to work towards.

“I think my favourite part has been completing it alongside, and getting to know, different colleagues from around the Trust. A huge thank you to Marion for her guidance and support, I speak on behalf of the whole group when I say we couldn’t have done it without her.”

Marion said: “I am so pleased for all the Rockets – they have come such a long way and should be extremely proud of their achievement.

“I’ve loved running with them for the past nine weeks and look forward to seeing where their running journeys take them. I am so pleased and proud of them all.”

Couch to 5k is a running plan for beginners. It was created by new-runner Josh Clark who wanted to help his 50-something mum get off the couch and start running too.

The plan involves three runs a week with a different schedule for each of the nine weeks which involves a mix of running and walking at the start, to gradually build fitness and stamina levels.

Stacey Keegan, Chief Executive, said: “Congratulations to all the staff who completed the Couch to 5k programme – what an achievement!

“I’m a huge advocate for running and the impact it can have on not only your physical health, but also mental wellbeing. Having a hobby or activity which gives us time to destress and have headspace is so important.”


Pictured: Alongside Heather, the staff members who completed the programme were Karen Biggs, Chloe Ellis, Lorraine Fearne, Anwen Harper, Claire Jones, Amanda Laing, Ruth Longfellow, Julie Smith, Victoria Sugden, and Ren Yates.