I initially met Adam Jones at a Run Wales event in February 2016, and after inviting me to help out at his ten week to 10k fitness class, we both realised that there was scope for a social running group in Merthyr Tydfil. Me a social runner extraordinaire and Adam Jones the PT!
With the support of Run Wales, we arranged for the members of Adam’s class to go for a run on Thursday nights.
At these initial social runs, where we all turned up to run together – safety in numbers we identified potential leaders. In order to upskill these leaders we needed to look at possible ways of attracting funding.
Again, with the support of Run Wales and the assistance of Active Merthyr, RunWithUs opened a bank account for the group. It was a relatively simple process really, and it has allowed us to apply for a community chest fund in order to upskill members as Run Leaders.
An initial grant of £1500 was received allowing 10 people to attend the Leadership in Running Fitness Courses. Following this, we then held an official #RunWithUs launch event, and we consequently set up via social media.
At the launch, we presented the ideas to potential members and invited them to join the first session the following Thursday. The idea of the launch was to reassure people and explain the notion of a social running group – being safe, friendly and fun!
#RunWithUs followed the Run Wales module that Just Move, the social running group in Llandridnod Wells, used successfully.
We offer four groups: A walking group, a walk to run group, and then an intermediate and a progressive group.
Our first session saw 36 people turn up and each week since then the number of people joining us has grown exponentially. Our last session, which was week nine, saw 127 people attend!
"RunWithUs offers people a safe, supportive and friendly opportunity to get active. We have social events, and not only are we now a running group we are also friends!" Hannah Phillips
As a result of the success of the Merthyr group, we now have RunWithUs groups in Treharris on a Monday evening, Rhymney on a Wednesday evenings and a new group starting in Porth from the 10/11/2016.