STAFF at Poole Hospital are urging others to join them and get fit for the Poole Festival of Running 5k – raising money to help local people fighting cancer.

The Echo-backed festival, which takes place in Poole Park on Sunday June 7, features the 5k Run for Cancer, in aid of the Dorset Cancer Centre at Poole Hospital.

And now is the perfect time to get started on the NHS Couch to 5k training programme, designed to help the complete beginner off the couch and gradually work up to running 5K, in just nine weeks.

Claire Davies, a clinical scientist trainee in the medical physics department at Poole Hospital and her colleague Penny Cornwell, who works in nuclear medicine, are doing to do just that.

Claire said: “I used to go running but I had an accident when I fainted and hit my head so I’ve haven’t run for about two and a half years.

“I used to enjoy it, and now is the time to get back into running and raise money at the same time.

“The couch to 5k programme is perfect. It has lots of hints and tips and it’s not like you’re running 5k the first week – you start small and you build up through the weeks.”

The plan involves three runs per week, with a day of rest in-between, with a different schedule for each of the nine weeks. It starts with a mix of running and walking, helping to build fitness and stamina. It can be downloaded as podcasts or as an app for smartphones.

Jayne Hughes, fundraising co-ordinator for Poole Hospital Charity, said: “It’s a perfect opportunity for anyone who wants to get active but doesn’t know where do start. The Couch to 5k programme can help you improve your fitness, and you’ll be working towards a goal at the end. Not only is the Festival of Running a fantastic event to be part of, but you’ll be raising money to help people with cancer in the local area.”

The Poole Festival of Running in Poole Park on Sunday June 7 features a 10k event, the 5k Run for Cancer, and minithons for children.

Last year more than £10,000 was handed to the Dorset Cancer Centre, the major specialist cancer treatment centre for adults in the county.

Entry details are available online at

Download the NHS Couch to 5k app on the App Store or Google Play.