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  • Writer's pictureJules Scudder

Welcome to Clapham's new social running group!

Monday 12th April 2021 may have seen the gyms and pubs reopening their doors post lockdown #3 but that wasn't the most exciting thing going on yesterday!

Welcome to Clapham's brand new social running group! One of my objectives upon being chosen as the Running Mayor of Clapham, as part of the Runsome campaign, was to set up a network of local runners. This network will provide a place to connect with likeminded people, share running tips and experiences, find running events to enter or find a buddy to run with. It will be a place to get our voices heard in order to make changes and improvements to the areas we run in. A place to motivate and encourage each other and a place to make new friendships and memories!

The Mission: The Running Mayors Network exists to enhance people’s lives and improve our places by inspiring & enabling more of us to enjoy the benefits of running as a form of active travel and as a pastime.

The Vision: More people will run their everyday journeys and that all running is made more inclusive and accessible to all. The Running Mayors Network will transform attitudes to running as active travel. They will contribute to a healthier & happier population, and less car-dominated cities and places.

To start the ball rolling I created a Facebook group. In here you will information about the Runsome campaign and interaction between our members in order to connect as a local running community and promote the campaign message, which simply put is to get more people using their cars less and their legs more for short local journeys, errands, the school run and commutes!

But then I thought, what good is a running network without actually meeting each other?! Enter the #runsome Run Together social running group! There are other running groups and running clubs in the area offering different kinds of experiences but joining one can feel a little daunting and overwhelming for some people, especially as we all emerge from lockdown having spent so much time alone over the last year. I wanted to form an inviting, fun, friendly and inclusive environment that people could come along to for the social aspect of running.

As the session is a social, easy paced run it's important to me to make sure it feels suitable and effective for all who attend. Seeing as everyone's 'easy' conversational pace is going to be different the sessions are run using the 'loop-back' method and here is why..

Waiting isn't fair:

Waiting at the street corner is not much help to the slower runner who has to work extra hard to catch up, while the fast runners take a cheeky breather, then gallop off as soon as they arrive.

When you loop back, you eliminate the awkward situation where the quicker runners get more rest than the people who really need it.

Training to suit the individual:

A little jog back every so often acts as recovery for you - so you can push harder in the main bit of your run, and effectively get the pace benefit of a few intervals (if that's what you'd like from the session!).

It helps the group stay together:

There is only one of me! When you loop back, it keeps everyone within sight - making it much easier and safer for me to take our group out

It helps people to improve:

Whether it's your first week or not, you may be feeling a little anxious about venturing out with runners who are that bit faster than we you. But that's how we all improve, and it's one of the main ways that being part of a running group helps us to get quicker.

Knowing that we are a friendly group where people loop back and support the slower runners, rather than sneering at them and dashing off, will make it more appealing to those wishing to give it a go and join us!

You won't get cold:

Standing around on the common in your micro thin running top in the howling wind and rain (yes, we will even go out in the rain!) is not fun.

Running in the wind and rain is OK. Standing in it is not. That's why looping back is perfect!!

It's good to run as a team:

Nobody comes to running group to run alone.

Running with a buddy is fun, but running in a bigger group is even more fun!. There is something about it that's inspiring, lifts everyone's spirits and makes them smile. It's also much nicer to finish back at the meeting point to cooling down / stretch, all together, that really finishes the run off nicely.

BUT most important of all...

It shows respect for your fellow runner. We all had to start somewhere. We've all come back from injury. One day we will all slow with age (although I am in complete denial of the ageing process!). So if you've never been towards the back of a group, don't worry, you'll get there eventually!!!!

When a faster runner loops back to encourage those at the rear, it shows you recognise that they're a runner and they're working hard too. Maybe even they're working even harder than you are.

From the fastest to the slowest, we're all part of our fabulous running community. And the runner at the back of the pack has far more in common with the people at the front than they do with the people who didn't lace up their trainers and make it out the front door!

Seeing the loop back method in full flow at our first meet up yesterday was truly wonderful and showed exceptional teamwork.

So runners of Clapham.. don't be shy! Swipe across to see the photos from our first get together and then come along and join in! Regardless of where you are on your running journey I would love to get to know you and run with you each week!

We meet beside the outdoor gym on the common, opposite Parkgate House School on Mondays at 7pm. The sessions last 45 minutes, consisting of a 10 minute welcome and warm up, followed by a 30 minute easy paced loop-back run and ending back at base camp for some all important stretches. And when COVID restrictions and social distancing allows, there will be plenty of high fives all round! See you soon :)

To register via Eventbrite

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