Parkrun UK is a fantastic initiative which organises literally thousands of 5km runs on a weekly basis across the whole of the UK.
It's free to register and is run by volunteers, so be sure to check the map for your nearest event.
Your run will be timed and although there is absolutely no external pressure to go any faster than the pace you are comfortable with, it can be a motivator to improving your speed over a period of time.
It's a superb way of getting involved with running if you are fairly new to it, or feel shy as to your ability. Everyone is welcome to these events and it doesn't matter what level of fitness you are currently at.
Parkrun's provide the social aspect that can add real value to running for pleasure, without the intensity of joining a running club. You can basically go as little or as often as you like and if you fancy joining others for light refreshments after, then the opportunity is usually available.
Running is a really effective way of boosting all areas of your life. In terms of your fitness, you will quickly notice an improvement. As long as you follow a few golden rules to prevent injury and ensure you have the best possible experience. Not only will your heart and lungs be getting stronger, the increased blood flow around your body will improve your immunity and detoxify the cells. Both your body's cardiovascular and lymphatic circulatory systems rely on regular exercise to function optimally, so get those trainers on and get out there!
Running in the great outdoors is also a powerful tonic for your mental wellbeing too. A lot of us spend much of our time cooped up inside behind computer screens, which isn't good for our mental health. Exercising and fresh air can transform your mood and restore a natural high in you. Even if every bone in your body is screaming 'no', I guarantee you won't ever regret having gone outside and done something physical.
Enjoy your run then!