Community running group wins national award after one year

One of the country’s leading athletics clubs has been named as winners of a prestigious national award for a community running initiative that already has 200 regular participants in less than a year.

Off and running: the Tooting Run Club has quickly grown to 200 participants

Tooting Run Club, based at Tooting Bec athletics track and set up at the end of March 2022 by Herne Hill Harriers, has been named National Community Project of the Year by national governing body England Athletics.

“A key goal is to break down the barriers many individuals have previously faced when it comes to running, such as financial constraints, not knowing how to train properly, or not feeling safe to run alone,” said Tahir Shams, the Tooting Run Club programme director.

There are no fees associated with Tooting Run Club, which offers the community free access to sports facilities where there would normally be a charge, and it provides free coaching.

Meeting every Monday night at 7pm, TRC is aimed at beginner and intermediate-level runners aged over 18, seeking to widen participation and increase activity levels of local people. In particular, it provides a safe space for women to exercise and increase their fitness and well-being.

Glen Keegan, Herne Hill Harriers’ club president, said, “We boast a very proud track record of community outreach, and are delighted that TRC has proved to be an incredible success.

Mass participation: set-up in March 2022, Tooting Run Club regularly draws big groups of runners on Mondays and Wednesdays

“We now attract more than 200 participants every week and have helped countless local runners since we launched.

“You never go into these projects expecting to win awards but it’s always nice if some recognition and appreciation comes our way”.

Tooting Run Club training sessions consist of structured interval training that helps runners become fitter and faster. The club also offers a midweek social run on Wednesdays from 7pm, and many of its runners go on to take part in Saturday morning Parkruns, including one staged around Tooting Common each week.

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