Beginner’s running group boosts Chichester Runners & AC


Athletics club Chichester Runners & AC have been given a boost recently thanks to the success of their beginner’s running group programme which aims to make it easy for anyone to get running with the club.

Beginner's courses

In the last 12 months 67 participants have passed through four eight-week ‘Get Running’ courses, 32 of whom still run regularly with Chichester Runners. The club charges a small fee for the course and has raised £2,150 so far, making the beginner’s groups a fantastic tool for recruitment and fundraising, as well as benefiting the community. Additionally, all funds raised go towards further coach and leader development.

Primarily for recreational running and fitness, the groups are registered with Run England and aim to instill the ‘running bug’ in new runners and help them to make it part of their weekly routine. Many of the new runners go on to take part in 5Ks, 10Ks and even marathons, while others are happy to run regularly each week at their own pace. The groups are open to people of all abilities and ambitions.

Qualified and insured Group Leaders

Run England

Chichester initially got involved in the Run England programme by sending some club members on a one-day Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) course, which trained them to lead groups of beginner runners through a warm up, main session and warm down with appropriate stretching. The course also included elements on group leadership, group admin, session risk assessment and injury prevention. Following completion of the course and a DBS (formerly CRB) check the groups were registered with Run England so that members could be confident they’re running with qualified and insured leaders. To date, they have had nine qualified group leaders and two who have progressed on to do the Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) course.

Cake Runs

The club has also come up with an innovative way of bridging the gap between people that want to start running recreationally and the perception that athletics clubs are only for faster runners. The solution is what they call the Cake Run Group which does exactly what it says on the tin, providing enjoyable and social runs followed by more chatting, this time accompanied by cake! The Cake Runs were started by Jane MacDonald who went on a LiRF course after identifying the problem with the assistance of another beginner who has also completed a LiRF qualification. The Cake Runners are now recruiting not just from the club’s beginner’s courses but also from their own advertising and word of mouth within the community. The group has grown quickly and now has more than 30 members and is still growing while catering for anyone who wants to get running.

More information

To find out more about all Chichester Runners & AC activities, visit the club website at

If you’re interested in starting a Run England group at your club, head to to find out how to create a group and about the LiRF qualification which focuses specifically on how to lead a group of beginners or recreational runners.

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