As RunVerity approaches the end of the year I wanted to share with you the past years news and events and look forward to what's happening in 2018.
RunVerity started in September 2014 with just an email address and a very dodgy website, my dream was to teach people how to run, I'd been organising the annual beginner's running course with a local club and had become their point of contact and I spent about 3 years talking to people and encouraging them to come onto the club's course. This role was completely voluntary and I saw that there was a gap in the market of providing more beginner's running courses more than once a year. I started with a twice weekly course and had 7 people turned up and I loved it. And more importantly word spread around Whiteley about my course and soon people where asking when the next one was and they still are, in over 3 years I have filled up every 8 week course to date, I must have taught over a 1'000 people how to run now.
On completion of the beginner's course I assumed people would join a local running club but they wanted to stay with me so slowly I started introducing a couple of nights a week where I could give people the opportunity to run with me for an hour or so a couple of times a week. I had a great format of warming up, completing running drills to ensure that the skills taught in the beginner's course were built upon and we ran for a minimum of 3 miles in that 45 mins. I introduced the looping system as I had been taught this on a coaching course and word soon got round that RunVerity was a safe and supportive environment where you were encouraged and coached so that you could progress as a runner.
From these early days I have watched runners who started out on the beginner's course turn into brilliant and competent runners, turning their doubts about 5k's into the realities of training for distances that they thought would never be possible. And that's why I feel that 2017 has been so significant to RunVerity members. Not only has everyone learnt how to run safely and effeciently we have discovered that there is something quite powerful about running in a pack, you can be part of a group and not say a word. We all realise that everyone has to start somewhere and the suppor that we give each beginner who graduates is the envy of local clubs around, we set those clear expectations when we become running buddies on week 7 and 8 of the beginner's course. We talk about what RunVerity membership means and this is communicated constantly. We never cancel a session! In over 3 years there has always been at least one person show up, rain, shine, snow or that one perfect day of the year when the conditons are just right ;)
People show up at a RV session feeling nervous; whether they have just graduated or are trying us out for the first time, and most people don't have a bad run and they surprise themselves and come back as they want to be part of something special. We have over 130 active members of RunVerity and it is growing weekly, local races have cottoned on to the fact that we can get over 70 runners at a local event, this is proportionally the largest turnout for any local club.
The most important part of being an RV member is that regardless of your ability, everyone is together at the end, whether this is a race or a weekend run, we get together and cheer each other in or have coffee and cake, we still together, chat together and support one another.
So that was 2017, what's in store for 2018
Deliah has now been with me for a year and it has been a pleasure to work beside her, her passion and committment for running has been one of the reasons RV has been so successful this year. I am delighted to say that Helen Fritzgerald and Emily Giles have now joined the RV team, Helen is helping out with the beginner courses and Emily is leading the Pre-Beginner's Course. The pre-beginner's course is a new ventrue, this 4 week introduction into running is to help people over come the barrier of a big group setting by providing a quieter environment and encourage people who haven't exercised for years to get to 1 minute continuous running so that they can make the transition to the beginner's course. We started with 6 new people and this will continue in the New Year.
I now have 3 RV online members who live in different parts of the UK. Jo (my aunt) is in Yorkshire and is training for the GNR next September, Evie is in Aylesbury and is training for Brighton Half in February and Dave is in Fleet who has just signed up to Palma half and we will meet him at Stubbington 10k. I am hoping to develop this side of my coaching as it seems to be working well, online members have access to the website, FB group and Strava so I can keep an eye on their progress.
We now have a race of the month which is working well, the distances vary so everyone can be part of this. We have 5 runners running Paris marathon in April and 2 runners running Brighton Marathon, also in April, so there will be plenty of long runs each weekend.
Here are the details for the upcoming Race of the Month.
January Stubbington 10k
Portsmouth Half Marathon
Southampton 10k/Half Marathon
Milton Keynes Relay
New Forest 10k/Half Marathon
Great South Run
Gosport Half Marathon
Details to follow
We have a graduation parkrun every 8 weeks at Fareham parkrun to celebrate the latest completion of the RunVerity Beginner's Running Course and I do plan to start travelling around to different parkruns every few months, this will be after April, so we have an opportunity to try other parkruns out.
I will continue developing the website and will continue writing my coaching articles, I now write monthly articles for a publishing company so RV is getting well known around the country. I plan on producing more videos so that you have access to warm ups, cool downs and some basic drills, if there is anything specific that you would like me to do then just let me know.
There are some great opportunities next year to travel to different parts of the world to run abroad, the plan to date is Paris, Newcastle and Palma. If these are successful we will continue with these so don't worry if family life gets in the way, there should be plenty of opportunities in the upcoming years.
Last year we had an opportunity to have a RV pilates group and I am looking at putting a yoga for runners session on in the Spring so let me know if this is something that you would be interested in.
We still have the Good for Age group, for those of you who don't know what this is, it's a support group for ladies that may be experiencing menopause symptoms or for people who are interested in what the transition into the menopause may be like, there is a wealth of experience in the group so it's really worth contacting me if you would like to find out more.
So it just leaves me to say thank you for the most amazing year ever where RunVerity has really been put on the map in Hampshire and here's to a wonderful 2018.