I started my own running club, kinda by accident. I loved running, but found I didn't really fit in with the other groups I was in.
And I wanted to be able to help more people who where beginners, starting running can be (speaking from experience) very, VERY scary. People hear the word 'Running' and seem to link it to sprinting. Sprinting is NOT something I have EVER been able to do. I struggle even at the end of park run to sprint finish, I just don't seem to have it in me.
So for me, I wanted people to have a place they could come, meet like minded people, and run / jog / Jalk (Jogging and talking!! BEST WORD EVER - Fairly sure I didn't make it up - but am claiming it as mine!), and not feel pressured to run faster if they didn't want to.
My motos or rules as such for being a part of my group (which is free) are:
1) We all start and end together - No-one is ever left behind.
2) Post run selfie - New rule I added last week;
3) If I hear / witness anyone saying "Sorry for being so slow" or "I am holding everyone up" - this person will either have to pay a fine or buy me a glass of wine on our next social evening out ;-)
I HATE that people feel as runners that they have to go at a certain speed - this is not how running should be. Running should be (or so I feel!) an enjoyable activity, yes a fab way to improve your health and can help with weight loss if that's your goal. But I feel mostly it's a great way to get outside, meet people, and have a chat.
I set up #SunnySquad after a few of us had been running as a kind of group for about 2-3 months, I did my LIRF course with UK Athletics (which I loved and would recommend to anyone who loves running). I set up my group with RunTogether, which made me super happy. I try to promote the group as much as I can, it's free, friendly and we usually run 5k.
We meet twice a week and we have a real mix of abilities, and I am usually the tail runner person, purely as I like having a chat. We usually try to match people off in pairs suited to their speed, so they can help and encourage each other.
We recently took part in our first competitive run, the Bognor 10k, and I kept saying to the team before hand, its all about Finish Lines not finish times. My priority was to make sure everyone got over the finish line, and they did, and I could not have been prouder. Some of them that was their first full 10k, and most their first race.
I don't like and I don't feel it helps to pressure people to speed up, yes if they want to work on their times, then amazing, and we can do that, but if they just want to come out for a plod, then we can do that also. We have a selection of dogs who also join us on our runs, which I love (my dog would have to be carried! So we don't bring her).
My suggestion would be to try and find a running group which you feel fits in with you, your life, and your aims. I couldn't find that, so I made my own. And I love it.
Mostly I feel running should be fun. So if it's not then you are doing it wrong. Anyone is always welcome to join us on our runs, and please do feel free to get in touch.
Good luck & Happy Running.
Huge thanks to Sarah for sharing her story and we wish the #SunnySquad well in their running.
If you'd like to share your running story then drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.