203A hairdresser is hoping to go from her couch to running 5k after winning free use of Newton Aycliffe’s newly refurbished leisure centre.

Sophia Langan, 27, entered Durham County Council’s New Year fitness contest, with the prize being three months free membership for her and a friend.

Now, with husband Anthony, 36, she has visited her town’s freshly re-opened facility to start a journey to fitness she hopes will inspire others.

“I entered the competition as I decided that I need to do more exercise and get myself fit,” said Sophia, from Newton Aycliffe.

“In the past I have had severe back problems and haven’t been able to run, but now they are fixed, with my husband, I’m aiming for the NHS recommended ‘Couch to 5k.’

“I am very excited to have won this competition as it will really get us in the exercise groove for the long term.

“I’m hoping to increase my core strength and fitness levels and the goal for us both is, by the end of the trial, to be able to run 5k with ease.”

Sophia and Anthony, an IT trainer for the NHS, visited the centre earlier this week for their gym inductions and over the coming weeks the council will be tracking their progress in an effort to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Councillor Maria Plews, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for leisure, libraries and lifelong learning, said: “The council is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all its residents and their families.

“This is a great opportunity for Sophia and Anthony to make a real change to their lives, and I hope others will follow their lead and make the most of the fantastic facilities we have at our council-run leisure centres.”


For more information about gym memberships at Durham County Council leisure centres visit the website, www.durham.gov.uk/fitnessmemberships