For anyone who has ever heard of Coach Parry, let alone ever considered any form of structured coaching, the idea of it can be daunting. People often think CoachParry is only for the seasoned runner or elite/professional athlete.

On the contrary, it is the everyday person who has a passion for running or the will to give running a shot, that gives us as coaches at Coach Parry, those warm fuzzy feels.

…This is even more true, when we have runners sharing their milestones in our ‘Success Forum’ and starting to believe that this is for them, or find that mojo for running again or feel that their hard work is finally paying off. 

Frances Sutherland is one of those runners who gives us those warm fuzzy feels when we see posts like this: 

How it all began…. 

Frances has a relatively short running career, having started just 4 years ago. At the age of 64, after having been a volunteer at her local Parkrun in London, her son encouraged her to give running a try. 

Later that Christmas, her son gave her a membership to his running club, the Queen’s Park Harriers, in London.

Through this new found motivation, she started taking part in cross country and their summer league, meeting new friends and enjoying the sense of community.

Fast forward a few years and Frances’ came across the Coach Parry Running Through Menopause Masterclass and decided that this was the way forward for her running career.

She joined the CoachParry Training Club 6 months ago with the goal of improving her 10km time, which currently stands at 78 minutes, and an even bigger goal of running her first half marathon in September 2021. 

She was advised to start on a 5km plan and to improve her speed work as well as to introduce strength training to her program. Ever present in our live strength classes and following the advice of the coaches, it was clear to see her progress. Something special was brewing…

Everyone loves a PB!

In January of 2021, Frances was at the end of her program and ready to take on the challenge. Well, all we can say is “SHE CRUSHED IT!”

Having a previous 5km PB of over 40mins, Frances went out ran 36:05 for her 5km “race”.  

More than a 4 minute improvement over a 5km distance is monumental and something to be extremely proud of. Besides the consistency in her training, Frances believes that the introduction of strength training into her program has been the biggest contributing factor to making this happen.

Every PB has its challenges…

As we all know as runners however, it isn’t always sunshine and blue skies (especially not in London). We all have those challenges along the way. Even if they are little things that just keep us grounded. 

For Frances, this is no different. She feels her main challenge is to build strength and sometimes feels like it’s just taking forever. This is unfortunately the reality of the process, but seeing what she has achieved in the last 6 months, things are well on track. 

As with many of us, lockdowns around the world have wreaked havoc on our training and racing, so Frances took January off. This has given her some time to reboot and she is back in training, hungry for those targets she has set herself over the next 14 months.

Whats next?

So, as is the nature of the human being, we look to what is next. We asked Frances what her next goal is:

“My 10km PB is currently 78 minutes. I’d like to run a new PB by the end of May when I turn 69. Maybe 72 minutes. I’m aiming to run it in 70 minutes on my 70th birthday next year! I also aim to run my first half marathon in September.”

If the last 6 months are anything to go by, we will have to book out a few Fridays over the next year or so to feature what is to come for this lady.

Frances left us with this parting shot in appreciation:

“CoachParry is good because you recognise that older people need specific training plans. We can reach our goals but it may take a bit longer. My main goal is to keep running injury free. I win XC medals simply because few women my age run!”

Frances, we’re so proud to have you as part of the Coach Parry community and we cannot wait to see you “crushing” more PB’s along your journey with us. In the meantime, we’ll see you in the strength classes.

Making sure you do the correct strength training is important. The good news is we’ve created a free strength training plan for runners that you can download by clicking here.


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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