East Midlands region RunTogether volunteer award winners announced

On the fourth leg of our virtual regional awards tour of England, we headed to the East Midlands! Broadcast live online, we were delighted to be able to honour the remarkable dedication, enthusiasm and pure graft shown by volunteers throughout the East Midlands who have had such a positive impact on Athletics and Running during such a unique and challenging year.

Our England Athletics Regional Volunteer Awards winners and runners-up for the East Midlands are…

Run Leader of the Year – East Midlands

Winner: Kristina Cressey (Abington Park Joggers)

Abington Park Joggers’ improvers group is headed up by Kristina (Krissy) Cressey who has won this year’s Run Leader of the Year award for the East Midlands. Her infectious enthusiasm, meticulous planning and encouraging style has enabled her to bring a group of people with a wide range of ability and experience together to have fun and run at the same time. During lockdown she created online challenges and continued to motivate, offer advice and praise everyone. Krissy plans her runs to accommodate all abilities with graded sections that are a challenge but enable everyone to work at their own level. Every session has a 'cheat option' i.e. a permitted short cut or fewer reps which also helps to keep the group together. She constantly looks for new ideas and shares new programmes, lockdown suggestions, online courses and sessions in the leaders group with Abington Park Joggers. She knows so many techniques that sessions are always about learning to be better and more efficient runners. Krissy is the RunTogether leader who has taken on designing and tracking everyone’s progress through an online training programme. She also acts as an unofficial pace setter for any member who wants personalised encouragement in parkruns.

Runner-up: Dawn Nadin (Notts Women Runners)

RunTogether Group of the Year – East Midlands

Winner: Squirrels Running Group

Squirrels Running Group, based in Broughton Astley village in Leicestershire, caters for beginners through to the more established runner and is winner of the Regional Volunteer RunTogether Group of the Year award for the East Midlands. The group prides itself on being all inclusive and encouraging to all its runners regardless of age, gender, sexuality or ability. The group is hugely LGBT friendly. This RunTogether group continues to grow and has 85 regular runners with an average attendance of 50 on a run night. It’s run by a group of seven volunteer run leaders and has just recruited four new leaders to cope with the growth. Through running, they have helped many in the community in different ways including helping with weight loss and post-natal depression as examples. The emphasis of the group is on inclusiveness rather than competitiveness with the demographic mainly being 35 to 55. They ensure all runners, regardless of ability, run and mix together creating a welcoming environment for everyone to enjoy their running. During lockdown they maintained a level of virtual activity to keep people motivated during a challenging time.

Runner-up: Abington Park Joggers