Meet our instructors
All of our instructors hold the Leadership in Running qualification and many are Personal Trainers in there own right BUT they also have their very own unique running story and they come from ‘everyday’ women like yourself, their a mum, an employee, a business owner and wife. They have come from I can’t to I can to achieve the unthinkable and almost all have started off as members of Elite Conditioning running groups.
That’s how they know how you feel, how taking that first step is daunting. Am I too old, too overweight, too unfit, will I be too slow? We have all been there and started from the beginning and know how you can overcome these worries in a friendly, supportive group of like minded women.
Here are our Running Journey’s ….. (who knows you might be here yourself one day!)
About me – Karen Burles
Cantley Park Instuctor and Technique Specialist
Personal Trainer, Running Instructor, Running Technique Instructor, Insanity and RPM Instructor and mother of 3 children aged 11, 8 and 7.
From the age of 13 when I was ‘spotted’ at a school’s yellow pages athletics meeting I have always been involved in running. I ran for Reading Athletics Club from the until I was 26, competing across the country for my club and Berkshire. I was a sprinter back then and my biggest achievement was coming 7th in the National Championships at 400m when I was 19.
I had a break from the more competitive side of running to have a family but then returned to running by running two London Marathons to help me return to pre-pregnancy shape and then another to break my dream 4-hour barrier in 2013 at London once again.
Long distance running doesn’t come easy to me, physically I believe that everyone can achieve what they want to – it’s just in the preparation – its the mental battle we all face that’s my real challenge.
After eight years in marketing I re-trained as Personal Trainer and now specialise as a Running Coach and Running Technique instructor. I also work for FastTrack Fitcamp running health and fitness bootcamps in Wokingham.
Further challenges have included the Luxenborg Marathon, Men Vs Mountain (running up Snowdon) and I completed my first 50 mile ultra Marathon in February 2016.
My focus for summer 2016 was to return to my roots of track running as +35 Sprinter and I very nervoulsy competed in the National Vetrans Athletics grabbing a Silver medal over 400m, 4th In the 200m and 6th in the 100m.
Running is my love, its my passion and over the years I have helped many people discover the bug they never realised they had and give them the confidence to BELIEVE they can do it, whether it’s running that first 5k without stopping or going on further and achieving a long term goal of a marathon.
For me, it is a joy to help clients start with something they never thought they could do. With my positive energy and can do attitude, I pride myself on helping people achieve the unthinkable.
Caversham & Lower Early Running Instructor
Life has changed a lot for me in the last couple of years. Starting a new job, conveniently located near to a gym gave me an opportunity to get fit. This was something I had always wanted to do but it was going to be a challenge – I’d never really done a lot of exercise before, I was unhealthy and overweight. I had made a decision though and so going to the gym became a routine. I went 3 days a week, slowly but surely increased the activity I did and saw a difference in my fitness, weight and overall energy levels. In the winter of 2012, a gym crazy and uber healthy friend of mine introduced me to a few gym classes and later FastTrack Fit Camp and I was hooked. My fitness was tested, my stamina and health improved greatly and most importantly, I really enjoyed it!
I have always liked the idea of running, so in September 2013 I agreed to run the Woodley 5km Park Run with a group of friends. I was terrified, I hadn’t run properly before and I hadn’t ever done an organised race but it was a lot of fun. I was soon a regular at the Woodley park run and decided to try a longer 10km race, I loved it. I quickly made the decision that Wokingham and Reading half marathons would be a good challenge for 2014 and so signed up. Although, I was enjoying running and seemed to be good at it, I didn’t have any idea how to approach training or running a half marathon.
So, I signed up for Elite Conditioning’s half marathon training program. The support, information, and advice that is offered by Elite Conditioning made all the difference. I had a clear goal, I had a simple and flexible training plan, I had likeminded women to run with, talk to and laugh with. By the end of the 12 week plan I was in exactly the place I needed to be to run my first half marathon. While training I decided to train as a ‘Leader in Running Fitness’ and join the Elite Conditioning team as an instructor. People often talk about the ‘ running bug’ and I certainly have been ‘bitten’… I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my running challenges and the possibility of running a full marathon before the end of the year!
Cantley Park Running Leader
I was always relatively sporty growing up and in fact met my husband through Kung Fu classes. Once I started working full time after university at a desk job however, sport took a back seat and depression soon set in. After the birth of our first son I became very depressed and felt very unfit. The doctor suggested I did some sport to help with the depression, so on a whim, I signed up to a half marathon. I did a bit of running at school, but I did not feel like a runner, and when I started, I struggled to run for 10 minutes. Over 5 months though, and with the help of a couple of friends, I did it and completed the half marathon, running all the way.
Life took over once again; I started a new job which was quite demanding and running got put on hold. After the birth of our second son, the depression was even worse and life became very dark and unmanageable. Making a cup of tea was almost an impossible task. I knew what I needed to do though and I got into sport again. I tried a couple of different fitness classes and soon found Karen’s running courses. I signed up to a half marathon course and loved every minute of it. I was getting fresh air, meeting new people and my brain was releasing lots of endorphins that made me feel much happier. Life became enjoyable again.
I’ve definitely caught the running bug and have gone on to run various distances, worked on my speed and will be doing my first marathon in 2016. Running is the best anti depressant I’ve experienced and it gives me the energy to run around after my kids, who benefit from having a happier mummy. I’m thrilled to join the Elite Conditioning team and look forward to helping you on your journey.
Cantley Park Running Instructor
I’m not going to lie, I ran my first half marathon aged 18 and said ‘never again’. Fast forward 15 years and I’ve more medals and finisher t-shirts than I know what to do with, and have completed races from 5k up to marathon distance and just recently I’ve enjoyed obstacle races such as Tough Mudder and Spartan.
I wasn’t a runner before I signed up to my first half marathon, and although I’d signed up with my now husband and sister in law, they were in Wokingham and I was at university in Bournemouth. I had no one to run with, and hadn’t done enough training. So, the big day came along, and I struggled from mile one. I wondered why on earth people enjoyed running, and said I’d never run again…..
I finished university, got a job as a reporter on The Wokingham Times, and found myself being asked to write a feature on running The Wokingham Half Marathon. This time I trained with my mum (my biggest running inspiration) and dad, followed a training plan, and found the experience much more enjoyable. Before I knew it, I was hooked.
Mum and I decided to join a local running club, and it was there I made a group of friends that she and I still regularly run with. Come rain or shine, I love to get out and pound the pavements and trails. I always take my trainers on holiday with me, and love exploring new places by going for a run.
I’ve two young boys and after both births I signed up to races to help me get back in shape. My first purchase when I found out I was pregnant was a buggy which I could run with, and my buggy soon became my new best friend.
I’ve recently ditched my job in marketing and PR to follow my dreams and work as a fitness instructor, running coach and personal trainer. I’ve not looked back, and get a kick out of helping other people learn to love exercise.
I’m very excited to be part of the growing team at Elite Conditioning.
When I was a teenager I dreamed of a career in sport. I played football which was my main focus and I played for Hampshire and also had trials for the England ladies team. Where running was concerned I was a 100m sprinter and a relay runner. If I’m honest I never saw the point in long distance running! The few times I did try long distance at school i did not have the stamina and my asthma got in the way which put me off completely.
I married young and now have four beautiful children with my husband and I put on a large amount of weight in that time. I worked hard and gained the knowledge of nutrition I needed to shift it through reading textbooks. It was then time to get back to the future i always dreamed of. I have just finished my first year of my sports science degree which I have thoroughly enjoyed and I plan on teaching classes and becoming a personal trainer. My course has given me the nutritional knowledge to help both athletes fuel their workouts and to help people with weight loss.
I love most forms of exercise and began running for pleasure nearly 2 years ago now. I have never in my life experienced the stress relief and sense of freedom that running delivers. It is worth the hard graft in the beginning to achieve that. I began my competition experience with a demon obstacle run 18 months ago and have done various races since. I look forward to meeting you all and helping along your journey
Woodley & Warfield Running Instructor
I used to watch my husband go out the door to run, as he trained for half marathons, marathons and even when he just went out for a short run to clear his head two things used to cross my mind, one was oh my goodness he is crazy, I can’t imagine wanting to go for a run! The other was I am so jealous I wish there was a way I could escape and clear my head like that!
Over the last few years after having my 2 children close together and getting completely out of shape, I came to realise that exercise needed to be part of my daily life, I began to study to be a personal trainer and my love for exercise was re-ignited.
My running journey hasn’t been smooth, there have been several times that I have tried to catch the running bug and failed, long distance running has never appealed and so for a long time I stuck to 5k. I am very fit and do a lot of high intensity training which means that for short distances I can run quite fast but I hated the idea of having to walk. Whenever I got to the point that I needed to slow down my legs would take me home so I could do some weights instead!
Around the same time I started the personal training course we got a dog, running with her has helped me overcome depression, loose the baby weight and start running further. She is the best running buddy ever and always willing to go out (in fact she gets quite grumpy if I go without her!).
In March this year I completed my first half marathon with Karen’s guidance I can actually say that race day was one of the best days ever, the atmosphere was amazing and it gave me such a buzz.
I’m not sure I can actually say that I have caught the running bug, all I will say is that there are times I can’t wait to get out there and feel the fresh air in my lungs and relieve some tension, it’s definitely becoming addictive! I can also say that having tried loads of ways to keep fit and healthy, running is the one that is the easiest, the cheapest and the fastest way to lift my mood, so I hope it’s something I will always do.
I look forward to sharing your running journey and seeing where it takes you.
Running Instructor and Technique Specialist
I am a runner, I love to run and have been running regurally for over six years but that wasn’t always the case. In 2009 just before my running journey began I was an on/off smoker, enjoyed a drink (well still do), diet wasn’t great and generally wasn’t that fit. I did go to the gym but really only paid it lip service and I really didn’t like cardio that much.
In early 2010 after moving house, my wife giving birth to our second child and changing jobs I decided to have another go at sorting out my health and fitness. I set my sights on a half marathon and decided give running a serious try. I choose running as in my opinion it is relatively cheap (no expensive gear or memberships) and very accessible (just step outside and off you go).
I managed to talk a colleague into signing up too and decided to raise money for the family of a young boy needing treatment for a rare brain condition. Having a target to aim for and making myself accountable really gave me the motivation I needed.
I must admit that I didn’t follow any structured training programme, I just made it up as I went along by building up my distance gradually. My strategy for the half marathon was simple: just run/jog the whole way round in what ever time. So as long as I kept gradually building up my distance then that was all I needed to do, right?……well it made sense in my head anyway.
I did end up completing the half marathon but my journey there wasn’t as simple as I thought. I suffered from shin splints through most of the training and experienced lots of aches and niggles but I had done it and that felt great. I wouldn’t say that I had caught the running bug yet but I have a very inquisitive mind and now I was determined to understand what running is REALLY about.
Over the years I have absorbed a lot of information on running theory and technique and pretty much used myself as a human guinea pig. I have made changes to my technique, my training, my diet, my mind set and I am running better than ever. I cannot imagine my life without running; it is my source of energy, stress relief, mindfulness and motivation.
I want to help people discover the joy of running and this has led me to becoming a fitness instructor and running coach. My day job means that I am stuck in an office a lot but I can run at lunch and early in the mornings. I have managed to inspire people at work who would never have even considered running to run regurally and I now run a few groups for beginners and improvers.
If I look back to 2009 and compare myself to now I wouldnt believe what I would be seeing; I can safely say that I have caught the running bug and with what I have learnt over the years I am confident that I will be running for many many years to come injury free. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you.
Cantley Park Running Instructor
Hey I am Chloe and have been with Elite Conditioning since the beginning of the year (2016). Before I found running I was a rower for 10 years from the age of 12. During this time I represented my country in a couple of European events, rowed at Royal Henley Regatta and set a course record at Women’s Henley Regatta.
When I stopped rowing, distance running seemed like a good plan. I was pretty sold on it straight away really and decided to run the London Marathon. The marathon day is probably up there in my top ten favourite days ever, although it was quite painful. Discovering running was awesome for my two years of travelling/dossing round the world. You can go running anywhere and see so much more and discover new things.
When I got back from travelling I trained as a personal trainer. My enthusiasm for running really rubbed off on most of my clients and I got many of them into their first races. I have really enjoyed incorporating running into my clients training. It’s such a buzz to see the transformation of people who can’t run for 5 minutes to running a significant distance. I went on to set up a group at my local gym which has been running for just over two years.
I met Karen in late 2015 and have loved being an instructor for the team in the short time I have been doing it. The community feel of all the groups provides a buzz for new individuals (and for me) on a whole bigger scale. Awesomeness! I am really happy and excited to see even more elite conditioning running transformations in the future!!!!
Bracknell Running Instructor
When I was at school I was very much into sport. I played netball,
tennis and hockey; I even played netball for Berkshire for a while.
However upon leaving school my love for sport and general exercise drifted away until my mid 30’s. It was then that I realised I needed to loose some serious weight and get fit! I didn’t want to hit my 40’s over weight and out of breath so I joined my local gym. I started going 3 times a week and slowly over the next couple of years I also started attending spin and aerobic classes. I found I quickly became addicted to the feeling it gave me.
I started my love for running after a messy break up. Rather than turning to Mr Cadbury I put on my running shoes and off I went onto the nice, quiet streets, no-one but me for company and I found it helped me clear my mind and calm my anxiety and I haven’t looked back.
I’m no marathon runner but I love exercise. It has helped me keep level headed and helped me stay in shape when I was pregnant with my little boy who is now nearly 2 and he certainly keeps me on my toes!
I am so looking forward to joining the team, meeting new people that want to run for all sorts of reasons and hearing their stories and I’m sure sharing some giggles along the way.
eelse will infiltrate my mind, if it tries… I just run a bit harder. Having 20, 30 or even 60 minutes break from a busy mind makes such a difference.
Running Leader & Trail Specialist
It was a very long time ago I attended school and my memories back then were PE got me out of some of my lessons if I got onto the school teams. This why I always tried my hardest at PE as I hated being inside the classroom sitting still. I was a sprinter back then and I loved it when you find that “sweet spot” and you almost feel like you are flying. As a child ran everywhere when out of school or rode my bike. Life as a child I was always outside on the go. I’ve always been active walking or cycling but never long distance running as I hated the thought of being out of breath so never tried it.
In 2015 that all changed. My daughter is a member of Bracknell Athletics Club and I am always taking her training to The Lookout, Bracknell. In 2015 I decided I would have a go at running whilst she was out training. How difficult could it be I used to do it as a child! Well I ran until I was completely breathless and did just a small loop from The Lookout carpark as I was scared I would get lost. The woods were great no one around no one could see me struggling!
After my first outing I told my daughter of my struggles. She decided to take control and she wrote me my first 5k program. She was bossy and I worked through it and in 2 months I decided I was ready to go 10km. She wrote me a new 10km program. I worked my way up to 10km but couldn’t do it without stopping. I had Green Park 10km race (2015) in 3 weeks and I was panicking! This is where the lovely Karen Burles comes into my life and couple 1-2-1 she sorted me out with technique’s and got me to believe in myself. Believing I could do it and could do it without stopping. I did the Green Park 10km race non- stop I was very proud and earnt my first ever race medal!
My real passion is trail running, being out there in The Lookout and woods the solitude the challenge of the terrain the time to sort my thoughts. Karen has rescued the old woman she found running around in the woods and has opened my eyes to a whole new world of running.
Since I have joined Elite I have completed: Green Park 10km, Survival of the Fittest, Reading Half Marathon , Virgin London Marathon at the age of 50 years old, National Baithle (run-swim-run) Championships 2016- Silver medallist Earning my place on the GB Team for World Championships in Oct 2016, Man V Mountain 2016, Represented Team GB in Biathle World Championship, Florida, USA 2016
I joined the Elite Conditioning team in 2015 and completing the “Running Leaders” course. I have also completed an “Assistant Athletics Coach” course. I am now a p/t volunteer coach at Bracknell Athletics Club for the Endurance Girls squad. I have also recently completed a “Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running” course and am now a qualified Guide Runner. It is a privilege to be involved in such wonderful process. I am honoured to be part of such a lovely inspiring team. I truly believe you are never too old to achieve your dreams and with the support of others only your imagination are your limits.
Assistant Sprint Coach
When I was growing up I loved all sports and competed for my school in Hockey, Netball, long jump, high jump, 100m sprint, 4 x 100m relay and cross country. Back in my school day I detested the long distance races but the school always entered me as I would sprint to the finish line. My parents were always very supportive of me driving me to all my athletics meets. My favourite sport was and still is 100m sprint. I love that feeling when you are at the start and the gun goes off, you run hardly taking a breath before you cross the line.
In my younger days I ran 100m and relay for Bracknell Athletics Club but unfortunately when I left school things change and work, family life took over and exercise lost its appeal. It was not until my daughter started running for Bracknell Athletics Club in 2014 that I thought “I really miss that” and my first thought was that perhaps long distance race would suit me now as I’m older and at the time I did not know much about sprint training for veteran runners. I started running a 5k with an app on my mobile phone but I couldn’t get past walk, running the distance.
Luckily for me Debbie Forrest is a friend of mine and she advised me to join Elite Conditioning Lady Bugs 5k group. I did and absolutely loved it. I could not believe that I was enjoying long distance running. I then moved on from that group and joined Debbie with the Dragonflies and trail running. I Now love the amazing buzz you get running through the trees and being up close with nature. I still run with Lady Dragonflies and cannot imagine not running with them anymore. This also has now also opened up a new passion for mountain biking at the Lookout. Since starting my long distance running I have entered Green park 10k, Colour run, Nuts Challenge, Forest five, pretty muddy and built my distance up to race the Royal Park Half Marathon.
I can not believe how far I have come and its all thanks to Karen and Debbie. I am always at the track at Bracknell Athletics Club to support my daughter and I was asked if I was interested in helping train the under 15 Development sprint team, as an Assistant coach. I have now been doing this for a year and a half, I absolutely love it. Its great seeing the children improve and moving up to Elite groups also attending athletics meets and watching children that I have trained pushing themselves is such a pleasure to watch. I also personally train at Bracknell AC in 60m, 100m, 200m sprint, but my passion is still 100m. I have already gained a vast amount of knowledge coaching for BAC and the training I been doing as a veteran runner with the club too.
I will be completing my Coaching Assistant Course very soon for the club. I feel absolutely honoured to be part of Elite Conditioning team as Karen and Debbie have completely turned my life around and I’m hoping I will be able to support and encourage others to enjoy the world of sprint.