Running Training For Exeter’s Great West Run

Jul 9, 2019 | Jenni Ashford

Beginners Running PlansStrength Training For Runners
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Exeter’s Great West Run is a milestone in the Devon running calendar and with around 4,000 runners taking part, it’s one of the biggest half marathons in the South West.

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With over 2 million runners in the UK, the sport is fast becoming the ‘go to’ way to keep active. It’s free, it’s convenient, it’s outdoors (or in!), it’s effective and you can progress at your own rate.

With healthy body-healthy mind at the heart of the club and a team of experienced personal trainers eager to get the best of (or beast) everyone they get their hands on, we thought 2019 should be the year we enter a team into Exeter’s biggest sporting event.

Nine, willing and enthusiastic (ish), members of staff have stepped up to our 2019 team challenge (with two more in the pipeline), plus four personal trainers – two of whom are experienced runners already, making a motley crew of fifteen.

‘Team ExeterGCC’ has everyone from running enthusiasts to the running averse and this summer we’ll track the progress of each of them; the highs and the lows, the training plans, tips and advice from the PTs and basically…the blood, sweat and tears as they sprint, plod, crawl or drag themselves to that golden 13th mile.

If you’re running a half marathon, a marathon or even a 10K; whether you’re a running addict, or have just taken it up, we hope you will find our summer of running training helpful, insightful or even just amusing!

If you would like advice or have a question, simply get in touch with our Fitness Team who will be able to help you get started, progress to achieve a goal or offer advice on improving your speed, stamina and stretching, so you run like a well-oiled machine!

Scroll down for a special ‘Great West Run’ personal training offer.

Read the Beginner Runners Training Plan and Top Tips

Here are the runners in team ‘ExeterGCC’.


Chris Jones

General Manager

I am always up for a challenge and because I have never run any type of long distance ever before, this is definitely a challenge and a half.  I much prefer badminton, snowboarding and sometimes the gym, so long distance running is right out of my comfort zone.  I want to prove to myself that if I make the effort and the time to do the training, I will be able to achieve my goal of reaching the finish line.  It is great that I am doing this as part of a team as I very much doubt I could achieve this on my own.

Martyn Walker

IT and Systems Manager

I’m 40 years old and have never done any distance running. I think my fitness level is average for my age, but the idea of running any significant distance scares me. For me I want to be able to cover the distance, but also in a reasonable time (no point doing it if I could walk quicker). I play cricket and football regularly and go to our weekly staff fitness class, so this is a way to push myself that little bit further and see what I can do!

Lee Dellar

Fitness Member

Lee, one of our Fitness Members, started running just 4 years ago. He couldn’t run a mile without stopping a few times but over time, he upped his stance from 5K to a 100 mile ultra last summer! He loves trail running and trains on Woodbury Common, SW Coast Path and Dartmoor, often with his running buddy Max – his black lab. Lee says…”I’m really looking forward to doing the Great West Run as it will be my 1st half marathon actually on a road!”

Tom Smith

Maintenance Assistant

I heard about the run but didn’t give it much thought to start. Didn’t think I could do it. And forgot about it. A week or so passed and an opportunity opened up, I toyed with the idea of doing the run, back and forth and thought I would like to lose some weight. What better way to do it than with a group of amazing people from Exeter Golf and Country Club, with support and training from our amazing fitness team.

Cory Keatley

Bar and Waiting Assistant, Wear Park

I have signed up to Exeter’s Great West Run for a number of reasons. I want to kick-start a healthier lifestyle by getting more active, getting out in the fresh air, stopping smoking and eating a healthy diet. I want to improve my general fitness levels to increase my energy so I can keep up with my two daughters, Maddie, 4 years old and Kelsey who is 2 – they’re always running circles around me and I need to up my pace! I used to enjoy a bit of cross country at school, but since then I’ve been using the gym regularly with a bit of treadmill work, now and then!

Gordon Muldoon

Maintenance Manager

Why am I doing the half marathon challenge?

Someone please remind me.

The last time I ran anywhere was for the ice cream van, when I was 9 year old…and I missed it!

Now I’m 41 and I doubt I’m any better.

I attempted to go for a run with ma boyz [Gordon is Scottish] last winter. That was embarrassing. They’re only 12 and 14 and they left me standing. After that eye opener, I’ve been thinking about getting going with some exercise, for some time, so this is the perfect opportunity to get into shape .

They do a 5K Park Run every week – so my ultimate goal is to beat them! Haha!

Well that’s the plan anyway.


Wear Park Restaurant Manager

Why am I doing the Great West Run?

Peer pressure.

But after thinking about it, I realised, in fact, it was more like peer motivation

I would never have thought about running a half marathon…ever. Doing it as a team has given me the confidence to take on the challenge – having never really ran before. In all, for me, this is about personal development through self achievements and accomplishments.

Steve Knight

Golf Member

With a good six mile run under his belt, Steve joined the team late so is working to a four week intensive training ahead to up the miles ready for 13 on the 13th!


Elaine Lerwill

Wedding and Events Coordinator

Having started running a couple of years ago, it’s become a regular activity for me, alongside my gym sessions. I have ran the London Marathon twice, along with a couple of half marathons. I completed the Great West Run in 2018 in a time of 2.12 and the marathon in 5.2. I have decided to run again this year to try and better my time – under 2 hours if possible!

Zoe Griffey


I’m doing the run to test myself. I’ve always enjoyed running but want to push myself to try something harder and running with colleagues seems like a good plan – especially having the help of the personal trainers on hand to help me run further and faster. It’s about that all important motivation and having someone push you to give it more! The furthest I have ran so far is 10K, so I am looking forward to upping the miles!

Jenni Ashford

Marketing and PR Manager

Having started running around my 40th birthday, 3 years ago (*mid-life crisis!!*), I now love it and it’s a big part of my life. I have completed 3 half marathons in around 1.49 and a marathon in 3.51 and although I was happy with my times, I would like to take on the Great West once again to (hopefully) knock a few more minutes off! I’m also really keen to encourage others to give it a go, as if I can do it, anyone can.

Amber Austin

Spa Manager

I am doing the Great West Run training to get back into running after a break of two years, after having my daughter, Avalon. I hope to increase my fitness level and return to a regular exercise routine. I completed the Plymouth Half Marathon in 1.57 a few years ago, got hooked and then took on Exeter’s Great West and the Cardiff Half Marathon. I would love to beat my previous times and get in back in action after my break!

The Personal Trainers

James Wetherell

Personal Trainer

I want to help others push through the barriers to running – like I have done before. The benefits of running improve both body and mind and I hope the other runners feel these benefits and enjoy the sport. I started running a few years ago, and have found a love for off-road and trail running with Dartmoor and the South West Coast Path as my main stomping ground for training!
Previous events include: Plymouth Half Marathon, Exeter’s Great West Run (x2), Bideford Half Marathon, Torbay Half Marathon (x2), The Great South Half, Chichester Half Marathon, Exeter Half Marathon, The Hell-Runner Half Portsmouth, Hope 24 Ultra, Barcelona Marathon, Exmoor Marathon and the Dartmoor Marathon coming up in September.

Nick Rose

Assistant Fitness Manager

Over the years I have completed a few fitness challenges but never a half or full marathon. I know that by doing this half marathon, I would’ve ticked another challenge off of the list. I am looking forward to working with the beginners group to help them build their confidence, endurance and cardio through work in and out of the gym and classes.

Free Personal Training Session

Buy 5 personal training sessions, and we’ll give you a 6th one free!

You can choose one of four trainers depending on what you what to achieve and the style of training you like best: Lee Cooke – Gym Manager, Nick Rose – Assistant Gym Manager, James Wetherell – Personal Trainer and Becki Drew – Personal Trainer.


£26 fitness members
£28 club members
£30 non members

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