North East region RunTogether volunteer award winners announced
The England Athletics Regional Volunteer Awards (including RunTogether awards) are off and running – celebrating the amazing volunteers who have made such a vital contribution to the Athletics and Running community across the country in such a challenging year.
For our 2020 awards, the North East had the honour of being the first of our virtual Regional Volunteer Awards nights to take place. Broadcast live online, we were delighted to be able to reward the dedication, inspiration and hard work that volunteers in the North East have brought to Athletics and Running.
Our RunTogether Regional Volunteer Awards winners and runners-up for the North East are…
Run Leader of the Year – North East
Winner: Julie Smith (Quarrington Hill Runners)
The England Athletics Regional Volunteer Leader of the Year Award in the North East this year goes to Julie Smith of Quarrington Hill Runners. Since starting her RunTogether group in January 2019, she has gone on to build a team of run leaders who share her passion for running and ethos of making the group a safe place for people to get some time for themselves, make new friends and get fitter at the same time. Her qualities of being empathetic, non-judgmental and understanding have helped her to develop a close-knit group of runners, who support one another to achieve their individual running goals. As well as providing support by breaking down barriers to encourage runners to join her group, she ensures that all runners receive a friendly welcome and try different, fun and inclusive sessions to help increase their fitness. Julie goes the extra mile for her runners and leaders and has provided a much-needed community activity for people living in remote and isolated parts of County Durham. She has since gone on to complete her CiRF qualification so that she is able to focus on a broader range of running fitness activities and provides tailored support to individuals.
Runner-up: Lisa Edwards (Durham Mums on the Run)
RunTogether Group of the Year – North East
Winner: Coxhoe Runaways
Congratulations to Coxhoe Runaways for winning the RunTogether Group of the Year Award for the North East. An inclusive group which supports the local community, its ethos is ‘pace isn’t important just keep moving forward’. Each leader in the group makes every member feel welcome and supported in every way: laughter goes hand in hand with exercise in this group. During the Covid-19 lockdown the Runaways rallied to support vulnerable people in its community with activities such as weekly phone calls to people shielding, volunteering to support the local chemist delivering medication and creating a Kindness Challenge to support Mental Health Awareness Week. During lockdown, the group maintained contact through Zoom calls, telephone, social media and newsletters - sharing ideas about staying healthy at home which included virtual run and walk bingo challenges with prizes for winners. A variety of running and walking events are available on group nights, so that everyone can find something that suits them, with members encouraging each other to improve and a running buddy scheme is also in place. As part of its philosophy of being fully accessible to all, the group leader completed guide runner training so that visually impaired members can take part safely.