Following a training course funded by charity donations, Jessica Owens - an office administrator at Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest - aims to start a staff running group in Pembrokeshire.

Thanks to local donations, Hywel Dda Health Charities has funded courses so that six Hywel Dda University Health Board staff members can become running coaches to mentor work colleagues.

Dan Blyth, Culture and People Specialist at the health board, said:“This is an important accredited qualification. The six staff will be setting up running groups across the health board’s three counties to encourage staff to take up running for their fitness and wellbeing.”

Jessica said:I decided to put myself forward for the Leadership in Running Fitness course as running has always been a hobby of mine and I felt it was an opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and gain confidence.  I also needed some self-motivation after having a baby, to get myself back into running. 

“Now that I am qualified, my aim is to start a relaxed and informal staff running group in Pembrokeshire where people of all athletic abilities can get together to encourage and motivate each other to get out running for the benefit of our health, wellbeing and happiness.”

Jessica Owens
Jessica Owens (Hywel Dda Health Charities)

Rachel Davies, a Clinical Pharmacist at Prince Philip Hospital, also completed the course.

Rachel said:“I started running to improve my fitness and for weight loss in 2016. Since joining a running club, I have completed multiple races over all distances from 800m to a marathon. At the start of the pandemic, I started cycling and have competed in multiple duathlons, most recently representing the GB age group team in the duathlon championships in Romania and Bilbao last year.

“I hugely value the benefits that running, whether it be for fun or competitively, can have on both your mental and physical wellbeing. I hope to use my experience in helping others improve both their physical and mental wellbeing. I hope to introduce a weekly running group which will cater for all abilities including those who are completely new to running.”

Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said:“The support of our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda and we are extremely grateful for every donation we receive.”