Durham Couch to 5k courses are starting in September 2019 - here's what's involved, where they take place and how to register for them.

The Couch to 5k courses in County Durham are designed to help people who want to get fitter by providing structured, fun courses to get healthier and happier. Here's the information you need if you want to get involved.

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What is the Durham Couch to 5k course?

The free Couch to 5k course is a way into running and fitness, to help people be more active. It offers structured sessions, risk-assessed routes, information on recreational running opportunities across County Durham, and the option of taking part in a Durham Parkrun at the end of a course.

Who is Couch to 5k aimed at?

It's for people who either want to start running or want to get more out of their runs. Sessions are open to everyone, including people with no previous running experience. It features a mixture of running and walking, gradually increasing the amount of running each week until participants are able to run 5k.

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How long does it last and what happens each week?

Each weekly session is led by a qualified and supportive group leader, and sessions last approximately 45 minutes, including a warm up and cool down session to help prevent injuries.

Couch to 5k lasts for 10 weeks, and starts with a mix of running and walking to gradually build up your fitness and stamina. For instance, week one involves a target of running for two minutes at a time, followed by walking for four minutes.

Where are the Couch to 5k in County Durham and when do they start?

Durham Couch to 5k courses starting on Monday September 9 2019

Coundon: meet at Community Gym, Grey Gardens DL17 8LZ, 6pm

Spennymoor: meet at Tudhoe Cricket Club, St Charles Road DL16 6JY, 6pm

Lanchester: meet at Lanchester Social club car park, Newbiggin Lane DH7 0PF, 6.15pm

Esh Winning: meet at Esh Winning Library, The Wynds DH7 9AD, 6.30pm

Chester-le-Street: meet at Riverside Sports Pavillion, DH3 3SJ, 6.30pm (men only)

Durham Couch to 5k courses starting on Tuesday September 10 2019

Stanhope: meet at Durham Dales Centre car park, Castle Gardens DL13 2FJ, 6.30pm

Durham Couch to 5k courses starting on Wednesday September 11 2019

Crook: meet at Crook Community Leisure, Peases West, Roddymoor DL15 9AH, 6.15pm

Durham Couch to 5k courses starting on Thursday September 12 2019

Newton Aycliffe: meet at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre, Beveridge Arcade DL5 4EH, 5pm

Langley Park: meet at the community gym, Langley Park Primary School DH7 9XN, 6.15pm

Durham Couch to 5k courses starting on Monday September 16 2019

Crook: meet at Hartside Primary School, DL15 9NN, 9am

Durham Couch to 5k courses starting on Wednesday September 18 2019

Spennymoor: meet at King Street Primary School, High Grange Road DL16 6RA, 9am.

To book, head to the booking page.

Three years ago, 58-year-old Graham Stockdale was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer. Over the next few years, Graham underwent several major surgical procedures and cycles of chemotherapy to shrink and remove tumours and address other clinical issues related to his condition.  

Having previously enjoyed cycling, running and other sports, Graham decided that he would like to begin exercising again and in May this year he signed up for a Run Durham Couch to 5k course in Lanchester, where his wife Beryl is one of the run leaders.

After initially struggling with the first week's aim of running for two minutes, Graham built up his fitness and stamina over the course of the programme and in July successfully completed the Durham City Run 5k, alongside his wife Beryl and fellow members of the Run Durham Couch to 5k running groups.

Graham is now hoping to inspire other people to join a free Run Durham Couch to 5K course.

He said: "I really enjoyed the Couch to 5k. Having the camaraderie of a group environment with everyone encouraging each other on and supporting one another helped ensure my success and got me to the finish line of the Durham City 5k."

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