Spa Striders see 50 graduate from successful Spa Run Crew 22 programme - The Leamington Observer

Spa Striders see 50 graduate from successful Spa Run Crew 22 programme

Aaron Sutcliffe 25th May, 2022 Updated: 25th May, 2022   0

SPA Striders had a remarkable 50 runners graduate from the Spa Run Crew 22 programme – a free 10-week course run by volunteers with sessions based at Pump Room Gardens, Jephson Gardens and Victoria Park.

The course began at the end of February and culminated with 50 runners, aged from 23 to 67 from a diverse range of backgrounds, graduating at the Warwick Racecourse parkrun in April.

And the graduation took place as part of a Striders takeover where all volunteer positions were taken up by marshals.

Many of the graduates have since joined the club and regularly attend parkrun events having enjoyed the strong community feel, new friendships and sense of accountability they gained from the course.

Spa Striders Coach, Ladies Captain and Director of Spa Run Crew 22, Kat Robertson said: “Spa Striders is a fun, welcoming club, and our members are passionate about sharing their love of running.

“We wanted to create a completely free, accessible course to introduce the community to our sport, so Spa Run Crew 22 was born.

“All of our volunteers have loved meeting our new runners and we have found such inspiration in seeing their perseverance and success.”

Spa Run Crew 22 Run Leader, Jason Hemming added: “Spa Run Crew 22 was a great social experience to meet new people.

“A brilliant course to get people running and creating new friendships. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fast runner or a slower runner, anyone and everyone is welcome.”

Some 45 Striders volunteered during the course of the programme as run leaders/backmarkers.

Striders coaches devised the 10-week plan which was differentiated for the various experience levels of those taking part in the programme.

And the club often had 40 or more runners take part on Tuesday evenings and 15 on Friday lunchtimes with one group session and two solo runs taking place each week.

Each session was run and walk based with an increasing ratio of running to walking as the weeks went on.

Spa Run Crew 22 Leader, Anne-Claire Bennion said: “I have really enjoyed leading Spa Run Crew 22 on Fridays, and watching all of our budding runners going from strength to strength.

“On a personal level, it has boosted my confidence in my own running ability and my capacity to lead and interact with people in a sports setting.”

Spa Run Crew 22 graduates Sara Young, Nitin Gupta and Anna Parsons were all grateful to the club and its members for helping them finish the course.

Young said: “Any doubts I had about being able to run for 30 minutes at the age of 46 years of age were quickly laid to rest.

“The Running leaders were so motivational and time just flew by. From struggling to run for two minutes, with their help and support the final 30-minute run was over in a flash!

“What really made me glad I did this course was the support from not just the running leaders, but other members of Spa Striders who turned up at the parkrun Graduation to spur us on.

“I now feel like part of a special running family and am determined to keep at it as a Spa Strider.”

Gupta added: “I had a wonderful journey with the Spa Run Crew 22 team and fellow runners. I was guided and supported at each leg.

“With constant motivation and a joyful atmosphere – it never felt like a task. I always had a sense of belonging. Thanks!

“You have brought a big positive change to my life. I will always be thankful.”

Parsons said: “Never did I imagine I would be able to go from zero to 5k in 10 weeks, but with the patience, encouragement and the camaraderie of the team at Spa Striders I did it, and topped it all off with completing my first ever parkrun.

“My fitness and sense of wellbeing have all improved to add to the benefits. I can’t thank the volunteers and leaders from Striders and the rest of the Spa Run Crew 22 enough.”


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