Read all about why Ashley Wilks, of Fenton Stoke-on-Trent took to running…

It’s been a long day, your mind is doing overtime with a hundred and one thoughts whizzing around and your concentration is at an all time low. The long day soon turns into a long week, and an even longer month as you start to crumble with everyday life. But what do you do? For Ashley Wilks the answer wasn’t that simple initially, but  the solution he discovered proved to be invaluable when he pulled on the trainers and started to run.

“I started my own running journey four years ago when I suffered a spell of depression,” said the father of two.

“After visiting medical professionals, medication helped but being outside in the fresh air and having a bit of me time was the biggest help.

“When you run, your mind detangles all the thoughts and feelings you have going around in your head and after a few miles I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

“I always joke that running saved me and in a way it did. When I needed something it was there. It gave me something to focus on and gave me some structure.”

He added: “In my own training, I focus on my children. My mantra is Run Daddy Run. When I’m struggling in a race or long training run, repeating this focuses me on why I started my journey – being a better me for my boys.”

Ash Wilks
Ash Wilks

After 12 months of taking up running, Ashley along with friends David Bradbury, Chris Cobden and Jonathon Whittaker, formed Go Team Running Club, which holds weekly runs at various locations throughout Stoke-on-Trent.

Runs consisting of three and six mile routes start at 8pm and instead of membership fees the club helps to raise money for charity.

Ashley, of Fenton, added: “The club is like a running family, everybody contributes in some way.

“Some people volunteer to look after new runners, some contribute routes or suggest meeting places and others help with social events.

“Each week runners give a charity donation to our club chosen charity rather than membership fees.”

One of the important factors in taking up running, or trying any fitness boost, to Ashley is overall enjoyment which he stresses to members of the club.

He said: “Motivation is something I talk to a lot of runners about and personally I feel we all have to find our own focus.

“It may be for health, escapism, improved performance and challenge but every runner needs to enjoy it. Fun is vital and that is where being in a club can help.

“We all keep each other motivated. We are a collective – all I do is facilitate that.”

As Ashley has admitted, running turned out to be his saviour and he can’t encourage others enough to take part in the fitness regime. “Running offers so much, not only the obvious physical health benefits, but running brings people together,” he said.

“If Go Team or any other club can help then we are all pulling in the right direction. My advice to anyone wanting to start would be to enjoy it, put on some trainers and step out the front door – that’s the biggest hurdle.”

Ashley admits running has not only offered him a new lease of life but has also seen him be part of a community he loves.

A journey starts by putting one step in front of the other – just like Ashley did! Who will join Go Team Run next?

For more information about Go Team Run see on Baba here.


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