New format beginners' groups a success for Avon Valley Runners
06 May 2016
Avon Valley Runners have been promoting running as a club for 30 years now and since its establishment by Stan Farr back in 1986 has been keen to develop and encourage new runners to take to the streets and trails and look to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle.
In 2014 AVR moved its base of operations to the new Trowbridge Rugby club. The club's Honorary Secretary Ian Isaacs told us, "This new facility gave us a range of new facilities which meant we were able to provide more focus within our training sessions." At about the same time, although beginners' groups had been running on and off, a new format of beginners' groups was developed. These courses were scheduled as a progressive training plan and designed to get complete non-runners up to running continuously for 40 minutes or 5km.
"The first course was surprisingly successful with 28 attendees over the 9 weeks and 17 completing the final 5km run. Due to its success further courses have been run and we have just completed our ninth course and are closing in on the 500th attendee. We've seen a marked increase in the number of people who have joined the ever-growing community of new runners within the area. This success has seen the club increase its membership by over 100% in the last two years."
During this time a lot of the so called beginners have progressed on to tackle longer and more demanding things. Several runners who crossed the line of a recent 10 mile event were former attendees of these groups. Many now run regularly in events up to half marathon distances and beyond.
In the last few months several club members who joined the club in the last couple of years have trained hard within the club and gone on to complete several full marathons including Brighton and London. In fact, one member who started as a beginner will, this year be taking on her first half iron distance triathlon.
The success of these courses has been down to the enthusiasm of current AVR members who turn up on a weekly basis - many of whom were beginners themselves not so long ago. They support all the new runners giving encouragement and support throughout their journey and without the dedication of each and everyone of them these courses would not have been as successful as they have been.
"As a club we are always keen to promote the virtues of running but it is humbling to see the achievements of so many people who not so long ago struggled with their first few sessions of run/walk around the parks and paths of Trowbridge."
Avon Valley Runners' latest group after completing their first 5k run