Sheffield's Strideout running group encourages women to give running a try


Strideout was set up in Sheffield in 2011 to encourage non-runner women to give running a try and to support them from beginner to more established runners.  Dan Parkinson, England Athletics Product Development Manager - Running Participation visited one of the group sessions this week to experience it for himself.

There are 5 running groups throughout the week, supporting beginner, intermediate and advanced categories. Groups attract between 15-45 runners per session, each paying a pound.  The sessions are structured dependant on abilities, for example the beginners’ session is based on a couch 2 5k programme over 8 weeks, allowing them to transition into the next ability group at their own pace. 

Run Leader Andrea Barber explains, “We incorporate interval, hill, speed sessions and drills to improve running techniques. We also look at runners training plans - for example if they have a half marathon coming up we will incorporate tapering into our sessions.”

People have found out about sessions through the Run England Groups database, their own website, flyers, social media, word of mouth, local databases and the NHS.  Strideout have an open facebook page and twitter account which drives interest and posts generic info about their sessions, and a closed facebook page for members where lots of info is posted about training, races, social runs, nutrition, social events, and volunteering. 

Dan Parkinson told us, “It was lovely to meet Gay Fletcher and Andrea Barber who both helped to set up the Strideout running group sessions. They are both really passionate about running but also about helping people achieve their goals through running.  It’s great to see how big the group has grown from one session initially operating in 2011 to now a full weekly timetable of running sessions available to the local community in Sheffield.”

Run Leader Gay commented, “We hope to expand Strideout and Strideout Kidz into other areas of the city and region and play a key part in the Sheffield Recreational Run Project with the Outdoor City and England Athletics.”

Strideout hope to build and maintain their fantastic relationship with England Athletics’ local Club and Coach Support Officer (CCSO) Emma Hurst by working with her on these key projects over the coming months.

Feedback from participants is very positive; "Supportive, friendly, motivational and encouraging to all.”  At the end of the session, Dan agreed, “They have managed to recruit a number of excellent Run Leaders who make all runners feel very welcome throughout the running sessions.  They are certainly helping to change people’s lives through running and most importantly are having fun at the same time!"

Gay added, "It’s great to see England Athletics looking at making group running easier for Run Leaders and runners. Our group have some great ideas to share and it was fantastic to speak to Dan about this. We all care passionately about running and through the sessions we deliver each week, its great to see we are making a real difference to people’s lives in Sheffield."

If you would like to arrange for visit to your local running group please contact Dan Parkinson at

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