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Keeping it in the family

It’s not just an Amazon Prime account, occasional life advice and cutlery shared by the Slaters, but a real passion for running.

Take a precious five and read on to learn more about how Kim Slater has inspired her now-not-so-small children, and why you will indeed always see her smiling when she is running up a hill.

When asked how she initially got into running, Kim explained “I loved running at school but the turning point for me was when I started running with my dad, I was about 13. My dad had been in the army, and he ran on and off to manage his weight but I think also it helped his mental health. I found quite quickly that it helped me to deal with a lot of teenage anxieties as I always felt so much better mentally and physically after a run. Since then, I have always run, so it’s coming up to 42 years now!”

Kim’s previous roles involved a lot of shift work which left her constantly juggling time, however she found that running was something she could fit in, even with a busy schedule as “with running you can just put your trainers on and get out, and the world is always a better place when you get back.”

For a long time Kim ran alone however she was inspired to join Preston Harriers after a friend - who was not by any means a ‘seasoned runner’ - joined one of the training groups, stumbling upon it during lockdown as an alternative to the gym. Although Kim was initially resistant to the notion of group training, she eventually caved. “I thought running clubs were for people who couldn’t motivate themselves to run which I had never had a problem with - I went just so she would stop asking me - I wasn’t expecting to stay!”

Luckily for us, however, Kim was very wrong…”I loved it. I have met some of the best people since I joined and I can’t imagine it not being part of my life.”

It is not just Kim who has become a seasoned runner either, with Kim’s drive for the sport inspiring her children too. Kim tried hard to ensure her children were active however she never forced running on them. Her son Jonny was obsessed with playing football, whilst her daughter Jess was really into swimming.

“Jess decided to try a 10k during her first year at university, so we started to run together when she was home. Initially, she found it a challenge, but she progressed quite quickly. I ran her first marathon with her in 2016 in Dublin. At the time she said ‘never again’, threw her trainers in the bin and walked around Dublin in bare feet!”

Since then, however, she has run a number of marathons as well as other events (and obviously bought some shoes in which to run in) and openly stated how she “can’t imagine her life without running”, with her mum’s influence undoubtedly having an effect. 

Her son Jonny is now also a valued member of the club, with his introduction to the sport being borne more out of his competitive streak than curiosity…

It all started one Saturday morning with Jonny taking it easy and laughing at Kim for being up so early, getting ready to bound down to parkrun. “His dad overheard this and bet him that he wouldn’t be able to do it!” Never one to be proved wrong, Jonny decided to have a go too.

“I waited at the finish line for him at the end and he collapsed on the ground in a dramatic fashion. I thought he would never do another one, but he loved it and it started him on a running journey.” 

Jonny has improved rapidly, taking on a number of events including his first marathon back in 2021 where he ran alongside Kim, and he now regularly flies around Preston parkrun. His  partner Chloe has also caught the bug and certainly not allowed him to get complacent! It is fair to say that running and the Preston Harriers have also become a big part of their lives too.

Kim has had quite a few shared challenges with her children which have all been proud moments. “Training with them has also been lovely - we have had some great

conversations and it has helped me feel close to them both”

Last year Jonny and Jess ran the London marathon together and finished holding hands so despite their five-year age gap, running is now a shared passion. 

Kim leaves us with the wise words that ‘running is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child - it will set them up physically, mentally, and socially for life.’ She also notes how children will not do what you tell them, but do what they see you do…. so pull on those trainers, guys and gals.

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