Workplace Challenge accepted by Leicester City Council
28 June 2016
Dan Parkinson, England Athletics Product Development Manager - Running Participation, recently visited the Leicester City Council Beginners and Graduate Running Group which was started on 13th January as part of the New Year Workplace Challenge, to encourage people to start the year with a new physical activity.
Local activator Kim Angell said, "Hannah [May] and myself started the LCC running group to give our colleagues the opportunity to take part in physical activity during their lunch break and to share our love of running with the group. We were amazed by the amount of people interested and are so proud of what they have achieved during the 10 week beginners' course. We now have an established group who are going beyond 5km with a smile on their face and enjoying being with like-minded people. It has been great to see that the runners are all so supportive and encouraging of each other."
Hannah added, "As a Run Leader it is so rewarding to see the impact that we are having on our colleagues and the new friendships and working relationships that are being formed as a part of what we have started."
Stephen White is another of the group's Run Leaders. He explained, "As a Run Leader in my own club outside of work I thought the workplace challenge would be a great way to get my colleagues running."
Each beginner group consists of between 10 and 20 runners and once they have completed the 10 week course (which follows a Couch to 5k structure developed from the best practice of other groups) they can then go on to the graduate group.
He continued, "They have been fantastic and have encouraged over 40 employees to now get running between the 3 separate 10 week programmes they have organised."
New beginner groups are advertised on the internal LCC intranet site and 'All Staff' emails. Once signed up with the group, the Run Leaders send an email weekly to let members of the group know the routes and what to expect from the session. "We have had great feedback since beginning the group and it is seen as fun, motivational and friendly."
John Skevington from the Leicestershire Athletics Network noted, "It's a great group led by highly committed and knowledgeable leaders who have worked hard to create and support a group looking to get fitter and to have an energising break from the stress of work. The group goes further than just being a fitness regime. People who had been working in the same office for ages and had never met before joining the group are now making the workplace itself a more friendly and supportive environment. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunchtime running through the city!"
After his visit, Dan said, "Talking to Leicester City Council staff members, their biggest challenge has been trying to fit in regular exercise with a busy lifestyle and other commitments. Being provided with the opportunity to take part in a fun weekly running session with other colleagues from different departments has not only allowed colleagues to fit in some exercise, but it has also increased their productivity at work. Both Leicester City Council and colleagues are now benefiting from the flexible nature of a group run, which we are hoping can be replicated in other organisations across the country."
Due to its success, they plan to continue to offer a further 10 week beginners’ group and spreading the message about what they do. They hope to increase the Graduate group by retaining those members that have passed the beginners’ course and developing their running ability further.
Stephen commented, "Both Hannah and myself have really enjoyed how the Beginner groups have gone and are excited about the future of the group and are currently looking to apply for funding for t-shirts to make the group have more of a presence and togetherness."
Dan finished by saying, "The sessions that Stephen and Hannah have set up are fantastic. Thanks must go to Stephen and Hannah, who make time each week to organise and put on different sessions that cater for all abilities."
If you are interested in your local running group being visited by a member of the England Athletics team please email firstname.lastname@example.org.