Workplace run groups going strong in Bristol
11 March 2016
Staff from two Bristol-based firms have been enjoying taking part in lunchtime Couch 2 5k courses run in conjunction with the Run! City Bristol Project.
The groups started in February at Airbus and Defence Business Services (part of the Ministry of Defence) to encourage people to be active during lunchtimes which have proven to be very successful.
For Airbus, this is their 3rd beginners' course with over 40 people signing up - showing demand is still high for workplace running groups. Run Leader, Sasha Skidmore qualified after participating in the initial Couch 2 5k which was implemented by the Run! City Bristol project.
Sasha enjoyed it so much that she wanted to be able to sustain the new running habit and set about organising social lunchtime runs to help the Couch 2 5k graduates sustain their activity. Many can now be seen out enjoying a run in their breaks, recharging their physical and mental batteries!
In addition, lots of friendships have been made, mutual support for each other shared and socialising with colleagues from other departments.
The success of the initial beginners' group led to a second course led by Sasha and now, the third Couch 2 5k is well under way with over 40 people signing up! Run leader Sasha said: "I am astonished at the amount of interest which has been shown in the course and people are still asking me if there is going to be another one in the summer. I find it immensely rewarding to see people who did not believe they were capable of running such distance now regularly completing 5km. I, myself find it much more motivating and encouraging running with a group as do a lot of my current runners. I even have people sign up who are not beginners but just like to have the opportunity to run with a group."
It’s clear that the participants are enjoying the opportunity to take up running or get back into it after a break and the social benefits that come with it!
MOD’s running group started with a Couch 2 5k in the summer of 2015 and they were fortunate to receive Sportivate funding to use the local athletics track at SGS College. A new beginners’ course launched in February 2016 with over 20 people signing up to get running.
The close proximity to the athletics track and the resounding triumph this was with the first group has meant that the runners have the opportunity to train on the track again! The group have been progressing brilliantly and have two volunteer leaders to ensure the sustainability after the 8 week course.
Melanie Young, who participated in the first Couch 2 k, has now qualified as a LiRF (Leader in Running Fitness) and will be one of the group leaders. She has been enjoying motivating and encouraging the group to complete their first 5k having been through the journey herself.
Melanie said: “Having hated running at school this has been a way to make running enjoyable and sustainable in my life. Parkrun is a regular Saturday morning activity for me, now, and I also volunteer with the junior parkrun, encouraging my friends, colleagues and neighbours to join me! It all contributes to the Wellbeing part of our people strategy, being a healthier and fitter workforce."
The aim for both of the workplace groups is to have a go at running 5k at the local Little Stoke parkrun as a celebration to mark the end of the 8 weeks. The mutual support that has flourished between the runners has been fantastic and many are buddying up to do their homework runs and encouraging other colleagues to get involved.
Having the goal of the parkrun at the end has really spurred the runners on and some have even attempted it already! It’s not the end though, the running groups will continue at the workplaces so that everyone can keep enjoying running and new Couch 2 5k courses are planned...
If you think you’d like to start a workplace running group in Bristol, get in touch with Run! City Activator, Helen Newberry at firstname.lastname@example.org who can help you get started.