TEN weeks ago some of the new recruits at Walney Wind Cheetahs couldn’t run for more than one minute without getting out of breath, but now they are preparing to conquer this Sunday’s 5km race.

The transformation has been miraculous and beginners of all ages have been quick to sign up for the Energy For Life – Walney Family Fun Run, making it their first competitive run.

Families, colleagues and friends have all been motivated to take on the biggest challenge their legs will have ever faced after joining the Wind Cheetah’s beginners runners programme and the 10-week couch to 5km plan.

The award-winning run leaders have coached an army of new recruits to gradually build up their stamina and push themselves through the pain barrier in preparation of the fifth annual Energy For Life – Walney Family Fun Run.

Among those new recruits all those weeks ago were the Jacques family from Dalton, including mum Nicola, dad Gary and their six-year-old son Luke.

Together they have been attending the weekly sessions and have been amazed by the results.

Mrs Jacques said: “We joined just to get fitter as a family. It’s been brilliant, really, really good.

“You just feel better in yourself. It’s fresh air and it’s great exercise.

“We’ve gone from running two minutes to running 5km.

“The atmosphere is brilliant. Luke loves it.”

Mr Jacques said: “The targets are set every week. It’s really well organised and they build you towards the fun run.

“The club is brilliant. The support you get is great.

“We’ve looking forward to it.”

Eleven-year-old Hannah Leece is another one of the young recruits, joining the Walney Wind Cheetahs Cubs and taking to the shoreline of Walney every week with her dad, Andrew.

The Victoria Junior School pupil is excited about Sunday’s fun run which will be her first official 5km race.

She said: “It’s a challenge but it’s fun. I’m a bit nervous.

“The best feeling is when you finish a run and you know that you’ve done well.”

The Walney Wind Cheetahs beginners runners programme started off with participants walking five minutes and running one, with that balance slowly shifting in favour of the latter as the sessions go by.

Dozens of new recruits signed up the programme, adding to the growing team who can regularly be seen running along Sandy Gap in their bright running gear.

The club will be well represented at the Energy For Life – Walney Family Fun Run, which is set to attract record competitor numbers and crowds.

Karen Herrington, catch-up tutor at Ulverston Victoria High School, was inspired to join the 10 week training plan and get fit quick. She will be taking part on Sunday.

She said: “I thought about taking up running for a while but I didn’t have the motivation to keep up with it on my own. When you are part of a club and you don’t feel like going out you do because there’s an expectation to be there.

“I never thought I’d be running 5ks so soon. Every goal is a step up and you soon get there. I really enjoy it.”

Helen Haney, who has gone from not running at all to completing Barrow Parkrun in 36 minutes 33 seconds, will also be taking on the fun run this weekend.

The community respiratory nurse at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “I’m looking forward to it. I just hope I can do it. We’ve been doing the Parkrun so it’s motivated us.

“I never ran in my life before I did this.”