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Cabarrus Magazine

Couch to 5K: No Running Experience Required

May 26, 2016 04:52PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

The C25K group after the Bunny Run 5K

The City of Concord Parks and Recreation Department is taking the wellness program to the next level with the Couch to 5K Challenge. This group training and exercise program does not require any running experience and is designed to encourage, motivate and challenge ANY individual to compete with his/her peers. 

The final goal is to run the Streetlight 5K & Frolic  on 7/8. Along the way, there will be group exercises, group training programs, and group accountability. 

We were lucky enough to get in touch with the leaders and curators of these groups Sara Rodgers, Michelle Zelaya, and Fran Romain to learn more about this inspiring group program.

Fran Romain was kind enough to answer some questions for us.


Tell me about the C25K group. How did it get started?

FR: I have been involved in C25K for about 4 years. I started as a substitute coach for Michelle on nights that she could not make it.  She started the program as a participant about 6 years ago, and eventually took over the program as a certified coach. The program’s mission is to motivate adults of all shapes and sizes to live a healthier, more active lifestyle and participate more in the community. The program is designed for all levels of runners. We have had many people that had NEVER run before, and were at that point not exercising at all. After the C25K program, they were able to complete the 5K.  We also have many returning participants and others who are experienced runners that join for new knowledge and group motivation. 

Michelle and I are both certified RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) coaches.  Together we designed the C25K program and the 5K to 10K program. Each session begins with an information session where the coach teaches different aspects of running including but not limited to form, breathing techniques, stretches, nutrition, etc. 

What are your goals for the group and where do you see it heading?

FR: Our number one goal for the program is for all of the participants to finish and hopefully complete the 5K at the end of the 10 weeks. However, our informal goals are for the participants to develop motivation and knowledge through the program to be healthier. 

Another informal goal is to have the participants come back to future sessions and bring others with them (part of the community aspect). 

What's your personal favorite aspect about the group and its mission?

FR: My favorite aspect about the program is being able to motivate a variety of people to make better decisions towards living a healthier lifestyle.  I also really like seeing how confident and happy the participants are at the end of a run and especially at the 5K.  I also LOVE how welcoming and supportive the group is to one another.  The friendships and bonds that the participants make during this program are truly amazing. 

Are there any other events or programs that we should know about?

FR: Another program to know about is our 5K to 10K 6 week program. This program runs in between certain 5K programs and is designed for anyone that has completed at least 3 5Ks and can finish a 5K in under 45 minutes.

What if someone wants to get involved, where should they go?

You can find all the sign up information on our website here


If you are interested in joining the Couch to 5k group, visit their website. If you are interested in running along side them, or cheering them on from the sidelines, at the 5k, you can learn more about the event here

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