Manchester City Council creating an active workforce
16 February 2015
Manchester City Council started a health campaign at the beginning of 2014 to create an active workforce.
With help from the England Athletics Activator for Manchester they began recruiting for run leaders through the staff intranet and weekly staff news bulletins. The offer was a free qualification with the Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) course for staff that would then lead a workplace running group for their colleagues.
Groups generally tend to run immediately after work. After a few months, many staff took part in their first ever 10k, including some of the leaders themselves! This goes to show that a wealth of running experience is not essential to become a run leader, just enthusiasm and the passion to help motivate others to start running!
In order to keep the interest up and the attendance levels high, the groups will target a local race to train for and occasionally attend a local Parkrun or Great Run Local, and some groups now offer a monthly mile where runners times are logged and recorded in order to monitor progression.
One successful group created from this initiative is the SAS staff run group:
Three Run Leaders from the Growth and Neighbourhoods Directorate came together and set up the Wednesday night Town Hall running group, Sue Brooks, Amy Jones and Sue Brookes.
"The group later named us the SAS Running Group! The role is voluntary and rewarding, we are lucky to have the opportunity to train, encourage and support some wonderful people to become runners. We started with the Beginners' Running Programme, a run - walk programme; runners made a commitment to run three times a week and within ten weeks were running for 30 minutes."
Sharon Connolly from the group said, "I know that without the group I would never have pushed myself to run 30mins constantly. It seemed impossible at the beginning but following the plan 3 times a week in line with the programme even I did it, so it really does work. Our group is lovely and we're encouraged to run at our own pace (even if that seems to bystanders to be a quick walk!) and build up stamina. The leaders encouraged us every step of the way and for non runners it's the perfect way of improving your fitness."
Fellow runner Maureen Barrett added, "Through this running group, I have discovered a determination I didn't know I had. I am even motivated to do this, on my own - I have noticed a big difference in my stamina, and toning. I'm really glad I have persevered with the help and encouragement of SAS."
Katy Millward commented, "Running has improved my confidence as well as my fitness as I now feel motivated and determined to become the best I can be, it has given me some direction and focus in my life."