friends racing together

Last year, Connie Gillespie began a new journey towards healthy living. “I was overweight and suffering from all kinds of issues: diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol,” she shares. She wanted to set an attainable but challenging goal for herself.

Around the same time, Dianne All saw a sign for an upcoming Couch to 5K (C25K) group at the Robertson County Y. The C25K was a nine-week running program designed to get a racer from the couch to the Holiday 5K finish line. On a whim, Dianne RSVP’d to learn more. She was interested, but she was hoping to train with a partner.

Dianne and Connie met in a strength training group exercise class at the Y. “We barely knew each other at the time,” Connie shares. Dianne reached out to Connie in hopes of persuading her to join the C25K group. “She quickly agreed, and we were set to start a new adventure!”

two friends

The training was challenging. Dianne shares, “I was not a runner so I began to question my sanity in completing the program—much less a 5K." The duo benefitted from coaches and veteran runners who encouraged them every step of the way. “They often completed their training session early and then came back and walked with us,” Dianne says. “Having the group and an accountability partner kept me focused on improving.” On non-training days, Connie would reach out to Dianne to see if she wanted to go walking. “I would be thinking ‘Not really!’ but always ended up going,” Dianne says.

When the Holiday 5K came around, both women felt excited. “The energy was so positive,” Connie shares. “Couch to 5K had prepared me so well. During training, I had set small, attainable goals for myself. Dianne and I wanted to finish the race in under an hour.” Dianne was a little nervous. “I knew I was prepared,” she says, “but I was also anxious about finishing in under our goal even though I had done it multiple times in training.”

As other members of the C25K family passed Connie and Dianne on the course, they shouted encouragements. “I cried when I crossed the finish line,” Connie says. “Everyone was cheering us on. I felt such a sense of accomplishment.” Not only did the women finish under their goal—Dianne placed third in her age group. “Connie and I began this journey together, and we crossed the finish line together,” Dianne says. “This program made me realize that, regardless of your age or physical condition, you can do anything as long as you have a good team with you.”

running group

Connie says that she would encourage anyone to try the program and take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle. “There’s a saying that says, ‘If your hike does not have obstacles, then the view is not worth seeing.’ A lot of times, life is like an uphill hike. We try to veer off on the easy path, but good things come from hardships, struggles, and climbs that we feel like we cannot make. I knew this C25K journey would not be easy, but it was so worth the hike!”

Join Springfield's favorite tradition: the Holiday 5K hosted by the Robertson County Y! We are so excited to be back both in-person and virtually this year for Tennessee's earliest Christmas celebration. Due to COVID-19, our race will look different, but our goal remains the same: To provide you with the best race experience possible in a safe environment where you strive to cross that finish line. You won't want to miss it!