Melanie Leyshon is the editor of Healthy Food Guide magazine. She's a flexitarian and couldn’t get through the week without yogurt and yoga.

Running regularly can slow the ageing process, a recent study from the University of Colorado revealed. For me, that was reason enough to step up my weekly 5k parkruns to a 10K race. I only started running in my 40s, but research suggests this is a good thing, as it means I’m ‘young’ in running terms – fewer running miles on the clock add up to fewer injuries.

My issue with running is motivation, so I signed up for an organised event where I could raise funds for charity – that way I couldn’t back out! I chose to run for CLIC Sargent, which supports children with cancer. So on an early, but thankfully, sunny Sunday in March, I found myself on the start line of The Salomon Citytrail 10k and Half Marathon in Richmond Old Deer Park (along with 3,000 others).

Was I nervous? You bet! I’d failed to follow a proper training schedule (I blame work and the weather), and had never run that distance, ever. However I’d needn’t have worried. This was a relaxed, well-organised family event – not elitist or scary – and a fun warm-up helped put me at ease.

My general fitness helped. I cycle weekly, I’m 8lb lighter than I was a year ago and my blood pressure is healthy. I finished the race time in a respectable 1hr 3 min 28 sec, and I raised a cool £300 for charity (a big thanks to my colleagues and friends). By pacing myself I wasn’t a blotchy mess and didn’t collapse in a heap at the finish. Would I do it again? Too right! I’ve already signed for my second 10k in May. If you’re a beginner too, here are some tips to help you find your stride…

1. Sign up to an organised running event. The free parkruns every Saturday morning ( helped me get started and improved my stamina.

2. Join a running group. Many are free – my local sports shop organises a run every Wednesday evening for all levels with no charge.

3. Remember, you’re not Mo Farah, so don’t set unrealistic goals. For example, I know I’ll never run a marathon (period!).

4. Running needn’t be stressful. Unlike cycling, you don’t need to stick to the road, dodging pedestrians and traffic. I like to run in the park or along quiet streets.

5. A fitness tracker is a great motivator, as there’s nothing as uplifting as seeing your steps add up.

To register your interest in the 2016 Salomon CityTrail™ Richmond Half Marathon or 10Km event, visit