Community Run Group - numbers growing weekly
The Bolton Arena Community Run Group, which launched in January to get more people out running together, is off to a great start.
The group, led by Horwich RMI Harriers Coach in Running Fitness, Michelle Mortimer, meets every Wednesday at 6pm and Friday at midday, at Bolton Arena. It is free to attend, and is for all abilities.
Community Run Group was set up as a project between Bolton Arena, and long established athletics club Horwich RMI Harriers, to encourage newer runners to be part of a group and to have fun exercising together. Since it launched in January, the group already has around 20 regular members, who are enjoying the social aspect of running with others, and the variety of sessions, which include steady runs around Horwich and Lostock, hill sessions and interval training.
Community Run Group leader, Michelle, said: “We wanted to attract those people who don’t necessarily have the desire or the confidence to join a running club, and give them the opportunity to run with others. Many of the people who have been attending the group so far have been returning from injury, or are relatively new to running, and they’re all realising that running as part of a group enables them to enjoy running more, and achieve more than they thought they were capable of.
“It’s fantastic that we already have so many regular faces attending, who really make an effort to make newer members feel welcome. We have been doing a mixture of social runs – around 3-4 miles – and on some sessions we do a shorter run around Middlebrook and incorporate some hill reps or some faster running to help people improve their fitness, as well as have fun. We keep the sessions as varied as possible, and never do the same thing two weeks running.”
Carol, who has been attending since the very first session, said: “Having lost my fitness and confidence following injury, I’m really enjoying running again. Everyone is so friendly and supportive.”
Fiona used to find running boring, until she started attending the group sessions. She said: I’ve tried running before and never enjoyed it. My thoughts towards it now have definitely changed.”
Fran has been attending the Friday daytime sessions on a regular basis. She said: “Working shifts, it’s hard to find groups to go running with regularly, especially during the daytime. Having the Friday lunchtime group has definitely given me more of an incentive to come out for a daytime run – rain or shine! The sessions are always varied and by the end of it, and with Michelle’s encouragement, you realise that you’ve gone further and/or faster than you thought you could.”
Alicia agrees: “I can already see the improvements in my running.”
Myles is new to running, and when he found out about the group through an Instagram contact, he got in touch with Michelle before attending. He said: “I was very unsure about going to the first meet up. Why was I worried? From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, I was made to feel like one of a small family. Michelle and the others always look after each other, adding to the fun and friendship found in this group.
“I cannot believe that over a short period of time, Michelle has managed to help me complete my fasted 5k. With her support, enthusiasm and her knowledge of how to train efficiently, I am improving day by day. Michelle and the rest of the group are not only running buddies, but now friends.”
Nicola also felt a little nervous about attending her first session: ““I felt really apprehensive when I first came,” she said, “but everyone is so friendly. I really look forward to Wednesday evenings. All different abilities, no pressure and really enjoyable, varied sessions.”
Dan, also a Coach at Horwich RMI Harriers, attends the group as part of his own training, and said: “I love how this group has developed over a short period of time. There is a really good feel that genuinely all abilities are catered for. A mixture of sessions makes it interesting, and why folks come back.”
If you’re interested in attending a session, the group meets every Wednesday at 18:00 and Friday at midday in the foyer at Bolton Arena. It’s completely free, simply book on here.
For more information on Community Run Group, contact Bolton Arena memberships department on 01204 488104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Images: Michelle Mortimer