News & Media

#MovedByLondon: Yemi and Afua Williams

After starting a family, Yemi and Afua Williams began running as they returned to an active lifestyle.

They soon felt both the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise, using running as a way to clear their heads.

On Sunday 10 March 2019, both Yemi and Afua will run The Vitality Big Half on the streets of London. They hope to inspire their family and children to take up a similar challenge.

Here are Yemi and Afua's stories.

Yemi Williams

"Running to me is everything. My old manager used to say that after you go for a run everything seems to make sense, and I didn't get it at first. But the first few times I ran and came back to the office, everything was clear.

"I've always been physically active, since school, then there was a bit of a break as I got a bit older, got married and had kids.

"It's about time I did a half marathon, and with doing the marathon as well, I've read that a half marathon is a good training step up.

"I've already started speaking to family and friends about running and taking part in this race because it's not just a half marathon - it's different, it’s more diverse.

"I'm not looking for a personal best or a time, just to get to the Finish Line, mostly, but the main thing is to inspire people.

"If my son and daughter do want to take part in a race later on in life they can because they've seen their parents do it."

Afua Williams

“My family were never into exercise, I was always a child who tried to get out of PE at school and got detentions for it.

"After I had our daughter I started running and it was a long struggle because running isn't something that came naturally to me. I had to learn to love it, but I kept going and eventually I did."

"I lead such a busy life with family and everything. Running is my time, it's time for me to take some time aside to focus on me and my needs, so that it gives me that ability to go back to my everyday life and have a fresh approach to it.

"It also allows me to have a clearer head, I get to focus on what's really important. I can solve my problems while I'm running which is crazy but it always works that way.

"It’s encouraging and inspiring for me to see how far I can push myself, and see how it's influencing other people around me.

"Seeing that journey from childhood, always being stuck in the car and being driven through to actually running here, I just appreciate that transition and seeing how life is going. It's something I do appreciate.

"In terms of The Vitality Big Half, I just want to get to the Finish Line, that's the main thing for me. And I also want to push myself to see how far I can go and inspire other people around me, and keep going."

Entry into The Vitality Big Half on Sunday 10 March 2019 is open to residents of the four host boroughs – Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets.

You can also now sign up to take part in two other events at The Vitality Big Half running festival: The Little Half or The Vitality Big Mile.

Maya Ghazal is one of six Community Champions who will be sharing their running stories as part of The Vitality Big Half #MovedByLondon campaign. Look out for more from our Community Champions over the coming weeks.