Formed in 2012, Knaresborough Striders brings together people from across the proud Yorkshire market town and the surrounding area to enjoy the delights of ‘striding’ – be that walking, jogging or running. The club caters for over 150 people of varying experience and ability, but this all came to a sudden halt in March when, like so many other community groups, the real threat of isolation and disconnection loomed over its members.
Determined to remain connected, the club kept in constant touch with its members, organising fun ‘virtual’ challenges which members could take part in safely as part of their individual daily exercise. The club event managed to compete virtually in a 24hour national endurance event with some members running from their own doorsteps in the middle of the night! Whilst this continuity provided an absolutely vital lifeline to many members used to regularly meeting, training and competing, it nonetheless came as a great relief to many members when the club was able to take the first tentative steps back to ’real’ training in September.
Sarah Gore, Chair of the club, explained the rationale behind the careful return to activity:
As a club we believe very strongly that the benefits of running – not only physical but also mental – should not be understated. We were determined to return those advantages to our members as soon as it was safe to do so after several difficult months. Since then we’ve gone from strength to strength.
No longer able to meet indoors or operate in large groups, the club innovated a new approach which has proven hugely popular with its members and still makes a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.
Striders have to strictly book-in to every session online in advance, meet in small groups of 6 or less, remain 2m apart, depart for their runs at staggered times and taking varied routes around the town. In spite of this different look and feel to activities, it has proven a huge hit with as many 16 small groups heading out on some club nights.
This has only been possible due to the club’s team of run leaders, who have stepped up their commitment in recent weeks to allow so many small groups to run safely.
In the absence of organised races to attend, the members are taking part in a virtual club championship, with a different ‘race’ to record a time for each fortnight.
Club Secretary, Edna Wood, is one of those delighted to be back in action:
I’m so glad that everything has gone so smoothly on our return. We’ve already attracted new members and safely keeping the runners of our town happy and motivated has been a pleasure.
Knaresborough Striders can be contacted via their webpage at http://knaresborough-striders.org.uk or their Facebook and Twitter pages.