14 July 2022

'Finding the community I needed at my local running club'

Laura-Jane Kingscott

Laura-Jayne Kingscott running in a half marathon and smiling
Laura-Jane Kingscott running the Great Birmingham Run half marathon
Laura-Jane Kingscott, divisional youth specialist for the West Midlands and member of Droitwich Spa Corps, shares how running has helped her recover from a difficult season and meet new people.

September 2021 is a month that will always define my life. I was going through a difficult season and I had lost my joy for most things. One of the few constants in my life was running. So, I decided to change the narrative and joined my local running club.

I have always had a passion for running and it has benefited me not only physically but also mentally it has taught me to always push forward, especially in the most difficult times. However, I have always run on my own so I wanted to find like-minded people and ultimately make new friends and get to know my community better.

I remember walking over to the group on the first night I joined. I felt very nervous but from the moment I started to run with members of the group I felt instantly welcome.

The following week one of the runners joked about them not scaring me off the previous week. My response was: ‘Not at all, you’ve made me feel welcome.’ I will never forget her response to me: ‘You are welcome. You are welcome in this space.’ From that moment on a sense of community was built.

Since joining, I have journeyed alongside members of the club and got to know their struggles, challenges and joys. I have benefited from their support and have also found myself having conversations where I am able to support others.

Recently, LGBTQ+ issues have become a regular discussion topic. Many members have said they want to understand how they can better support family members and friends who identify as LGBTQ+. This has led to people asking if they can come to one of the training events I run.*

Laura-Jayne Kingscott running in a half marathon

I could’ve quite easily got a group of fellow runners from my corps together and created a little running club, but I’m not sure community would’ve been built in the same way.

By joining an existing club in my area, I truly believe many more opportunities will come up where I am able to share my faith, my life story and support others. I have been able to get to know my community and their needs better, while also continuing my recovery from that difficult season in 2021 through the love and support I have received. Plus I continue to enjoy all the physical and mental benefits of running.

I used to say I didn’t know the community I lived in very well but, by becoming a part of it, I can now say I have a better understanding.

*Divisional Youth Specialists have been trained to deliver An Introduction to Pastorally Supporting LGBTQ+ Young People, a resource from Youth and Children’s Ministries at Territorial Headquarters.

Written by

Lauran-Jayne Kingscott running and smiling

Laura-Jane Kingscott

Divisional Youth Specialist

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