Nominate a RunTogether member or group - just like Roarsome George - for a Volunteer Award
21 June 2023
The England Athletics Volunteer Awards for 2023 are open for nominations.
And RunTogether members can be celebrated too - most likely in the following categories:
(click on each to find out more and nominate)
- Community Project of the Year
- Contribution to Running
- Coach of the Year: if the RunTogether leader has a Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) qualification
- Newcomer to Volunteering
We spoke with Run Leader Simone who won the West Midlands region Community Project of the Year in 2022. Read her story below!
Do you know people like Simone and George who deserve to be nominated?
Simone Power initially became a Run Leader with RuTogether in 2018 and ran a running group in her local area called ‘Power Runs’. This group was fundamentally all about running for your wellbeing - and involved encouraging runners to support one another through weekly run groups and races. Although the group was successful, after the pandemic, at the end of 2021 Simone was struggling to keep on top of both running and supporting her son George who was on the waiting list for a neurodevelopmental assessment. She decided at the time to prioritise her own wellbeing, (just as she had encouraged others to do so) and closed down the running group, in order to focus on George.
"In April of 2022 I started to encourage George to run with me. I thought if running had had such a positive impact on my wellbeing, that maybe it would offer him a similar outlet. We were struggling at times with his Neurodiversity and with no diagnosis, it was all still very much the ‘unknown’. I wanted to create a space for him where we could learn and grow together and running gave us just that. By the end of April we were running regular miles most evenings!"
The Umbrella Project
At the end of this month while researching Neurodiversity Simone came across the ADHD Foundation and the Umbrella Project. The Umbrella Project is an installation of colourful umbrellas that empowers and celebrates Neurodiversity. The project also contains learning resources and training for staff/parents to gain a deeper understanding.
"At the start of May we decided to do a virtual running challenge where George would run a marathon distance in a month and ask for donations towards installing this project within his school."
George’s running and fundraising was a massive success. So much so that they continued to run together for the remainder of 2022 and raised over £3,500 which enabled them to fund this project for not only George’s School, but 10 more schools in their local area of Coventry.
#roarsomemiles and #roarsomerunners
Within these 6 months, George run an incredible total of 200 miles! Because I shared his story on social media, we began to inspire and connect with many other runners, who wanted to celebrate Neurodiversity and support George’s cause. George’s #roarsomemiles (which we named after his love of dinosaurs) took over the Instagram running community and before we knew it we had a huge following of #roarsomerunners, who helped us to reach our end of year target. George’s #roarsomerunners began to take on their own running challenges and tag him which enabled us to spread our message far and wide!
How were you nominated?
My Mum - who is also a qualified Run Leader - had relocated to Cornwall and set up her own Power Runs group there. It was my Mum who saw the Volunteer of the Year award and nominated myself and George because she wanted to highlight how we had created an online running community and were inspiring runners from all over the UK to run a #roarsomemile and spread awareness for Neurodiversity so that we could fund more Umbrella Projects.
What did winning the Volunteer Award mean to you?
Winning this award meant the absolute world to us! Not only was it lovely for George to be recognised for his #roarsomemiles and sheer determination. But it also gave us an even bigger platform to share his story and encourage others to do the same! We were able to make connections with the England Athletic community and share what can be accomplished through running.
We hope that by winning this award we have encouraged many others to run. What has been an important message for us throughout this entire process is that you don’t have to fit into a box in order to enjoy sport. And I am hopeful that George is a wonderful example of how running can be for anyone and everyone. It’s about enjoying it, and doing it in a way that makes you feel good about yourself.
Why are the Awards important?
I think these awards are so important because they help to recognise the communities and champions out there who celebrate and encourage others to be active and enjoy sport. On top of that they also enable a wider reach, so that those communities can spread their positive messages further.
If you would like to find out more or do an online nomination, you can find more information on the England Athletics website, plus links to the online nomination form. Even if the person you are nominating doesn't progress through to regional or national rounds, they will still receive an email to tell them that they were nominated for one of our Volunteer Awards, and for many that's plenty of recognition!