Bristol and South Gloucestershire Run Leaders come together to share ideas
02 September 2016
Run leaders from across Bristol and South Gloucestershire came together on the hottest day of the year for a run leader forum. The forum was led by Bristol Run! City Activator, Helen Newberry with 30 leaders attending from a variety of run groups in the area. These sessions provide a platform for leaders to share ideas, meet leaders from different groups and gain some practical tips for leading.
The evening began with a presentation on local and national updates, and with over 1400 more people running in Bristol and South Gloucestershire it was a fitting moment to thank the leaders for all their hard work in providing more and more group running opportunities in the area.
It was then time for the practical element of the evening. Despite the soaring temperatures, the group descended outside to an area that happened to have a pleasant breeze flowing through which made the activities much more bearable! Helen took the group through a variety of social warm up exercises followed by some fun technical games to start with. The leaders were then put through their paces with various session ideas that could be delivered to mixed ability groups. With the leaders as guinea pigs, they experienced first-hand what they would be putting their runners through!! Some great ideas were shared by the leaders and with all the laughter and interaction it was fair to say that fun was had by all.
After the practical, it was back inside for the final part of the evening which was delivered by a runner, Helen, who runs with the Bristol group; KT Runs. Helen kindly agreed shared her story about how she started running after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Helen was given the choice by her Consultant to take drugs post Cancer or to take up running and much to her Consultants approval, she chose to do the latter. This was a very poignant story of how Helen came to join a Couch to 5K course with KT Runs and overcoming the mental and physical barriers to do this. With the support of leader Katie Hughes, Helen’s physical and mental health improved, regained body confidence, inspired her children to take up sport, and did something she never thought she would do, run. This was a captivating story which highlighted the way running can change someone’s life and the impact that run leaders can have on their individual runners. Helen stated that without the support from Katie and the other runners in the group, she wouldn’t have been able to run and overcome her illness.
The leaders were extremely grateful to Helen for sharing her experiences and left the evening inspired and full of ideas. Martin Burton commented: “great testimony on the power of running groups to ordinary people”, and Richard Nuell added: “Very useful session, Helen, and worth missing Eastville Relays to be there! Plenty of food for thought and some new warm ups to consider (always my weak point). Very good to chat with leaders from other groups, too. Looking forward to next time.”
Helen Newberry concluded: “It was great to see so many leaders at the forum talking and sharing ideas with each other. It’s not often that leaders get the opportunity to see what other groups are doing so this was a good way to bring them all together. We had a lot of fun during the practical session and Helen’s story was a lovely way to close the evening and recognise the work of a run leader.”