Elvet Striders – What A Club!

A short blog post, but it’s one that I HAD to write about…

Over the last few weeks or so I’ve been filming for England Athletics ahead of the North East Awards Ceremony next month and last night, I was taken to a running club to which I’ve became in awe of.

Elvet Striders is a running club based at Maiden Castle, Durham with over 400 members to boast about, it’s pretty impressive if I’m perfectly honest.

While interviewing members of the Striders, there was an abundance of support for every member that had joined or hadn’t been there for long. Everyone in that group did not have anything negative to say or pick out an individual, it was something that I’ve not seen before and it got me thinking – this is structure that running clubs should have!

It is disappointing when you here about clubs that would only look at sub-six minute milers or 15 minute 5k runners.

Don’t get me wrong, not every club is like that though, only last night (25/09/14) I joined a great group of distance runners and they were equally as kind and supportive when I ran with them. I’m no speed merchant, they recognised that and encouraged me through each rep (My next post will go through the session). It’s those groups I find fantastic to be a part of.

It’s a great model that groups could follow. I’m no running expert, I’m still learning to be honest. I don’t really know about picking a pace or how fast I can run over a long period and I would be very shy and a bit timid when it came to joining a group just in case I wasn’t good or fast enough.

However, the Elvet Striders abolish that thought and help you no matter what time you run a distance in. They promote running camps that cater for all abilities and the ‘Couch to 5k’ and it’s all relaxed almost. From warming up to the actual sessions there isn’t a frown anywhere to be seen and when we were introduced to Kate, you could see why.

Everyone we interviewed described Kate as not only as a coach, but a friend, a friend they could approach with injury problems and on a personal note too. As more athletics showed up, more phrase was given, I’d not met Kate before, but already there was a huge aura surrounding her and she was a huge inspiration to everyone in her group – there seemed to be no event she could handle!

One story that really got a hold of me, was one Strider, started on a beginners programme, and then went on to run an ultra-marathon! 30 miles of running off road, which to me, was an incredible achievement and, again, all thanks to Kate.

I think that, if running clubs can welcome beginner runners and produce positive feedback, like at Elvet, then you’d easily see an increase of members. It’s the kind of club I’d love to be a part of if I lived around that area.

Before me and Nick left, we turned the corner of the building that the group of Stiders met at and we’ve never seen a running club with so many athletes, it was incredible. “This is a small group compared to the 400 we normally get!” someone told us. Roughly 250 were there, all ready to run, all to have fun – again it was incredible.

Such an inspirational group of athletes!

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