Teachers’ Run Club: A community supporting teachers to get moving

TRC Teach Run Coffee2000

Teachers’ Run Club (TRC) is a place for educators to share their love of running with a supportive virtual community. Educators can gain motivation from the community or share their successes to help motivate others.

We caught up with founder Dan Chaplen to find out more about the community, benefits, and ambitions for the future.

Creating a running community to support teachers

Having played hockey until his early 20s, Dan was looking for a new endurance challenge and found duathlon. In training for this, he found a love of running and has subsequently taken on many challenges. During the January 2021 lockdown he looked for a place for teachers to share their running journeys, but there was not one, so he set up TRC.

Dan Chaplen

He started the group initially on Twitter to give school staff members a place to share their achievements as well as find some motivation and inspiration. Hoping that he may be able to help more school staff members to start or restart their own active journey."

"I have worked in education for 15 years, and I know how much pressure everyone is under, no matter their role. I also know from my own experience the positive impact movement has on us all, so even if we can help a small percentage of educators to find an activity they feel good doing (running or otherwise) then I knew we would be helping people."

Teaching brings unique pressures, so it was important for this group to support the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of members.

"TRC offers a community feel. It gives people a space to ask questions and share their achievements in a really positive environment. By seeing the story of a teacher who went from inactivity, to walking to school 3 times a week, joining their students in the Daily Mile, or running a marathon for the first time, it lets others know that it is all possible for them too."

The stories from this community can help to create a positive experience for teachers and encourage them to act as role models and have a greater impact within their school community.

Dan Chaplen

"I have always used the statement, that we want to create ‘real world active role models’. I want children to look up at any staff member and know how they access movement, not just grow up thinking that it’s only the PE teachers who enjoy sport, or that you have to like football to be ‘good’ at sport."

"I want students to hear how their maths teacher is going on a walking holiday through Scotland or that their English teacher has just started Couch to 5k for the 3rd time, or that their Teaching Assistant plays netball 3 times a week."

Creating Hub Schools

This virtual community meet real life running groups in the Hub Schools across the country.

Dan Chaplen

“Since I started TRC I knew I wanted to create real world communities. I wanted ‘Hubs’ so that school staff could attend some sort of physical running group."

Through funding from the London Marathon Events Company and the expertise of England Athletics, TRC have been able to support our first cohort of TRC Hub School Run Leaders. 15 teachers from across England are progressing through their Leadership in Running Fitness course.

"Hub Schools help reach those staff members who maybe don’t access social media, or possibly need that little extra nudge to get out the door. Through virtual workshops with our Run Leaders, I share tips on how to engage with their staff and community, how hosting launch events or using a charity fundraiser that is close to the heart of the community could help kick start someone's new passion in running."

“Teachers are busy people, and lots of people have their families too. Getting back out in the evening to run or go to the gym can be the last thing on people's minds. Our Hub Schools are hosting their clubs straight after school. This means that those involved are having free access to exercise on their doorstep."

Dan Chaplen running on the beach

Dan would love to expand the reach of the Hub Schools in the future to bring the virtual community to life for more educators across the country.

"I would love to reach 100 TRC Hub schools across England, all with active running communities. I would love to see our hub schools engaging in local and national events as well as giving opportunities for past students to come back and access movement, or even volunteer and support the community."

Dan’s advice for setting up your own active community

From his experience of setting up TRC, Dan’s advice to anyone looking to setup a similar opportunity to get active together in their community is,

"Just start! People are always very quick to spot when something should be done, but will wait for someone else to do it. If you know there is even one person that you think would join you for a run after work, go for it."

"Secondly, make it really simple. It might not be running that ends up being the active motivator in your community, and that's ok. It might just be two of you one week, but by week 3 or 4 you will have built a small community of teachers who are active at work before they go home."

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