I’m hoping that over time, this blog becomes a bit of a resource for runners in Wiltshire and the South West of England, and today’s post has that goal in mind. Thanks to Shrewton Running Club for letting me use their Facebook photos here.
One thing that’s struck me here in the UK is the strong Running Club culture. We are really excited about joining a local club when we move to Marlborough THIS WEEKEND (woohoo, it’s happening!!!!). There are a few clubs in the area for us to check out and I’m very much looking forward to it.
Our initial plan for our move back to the UK was to settle in Durrington, the village where I grew up, where my parents live and where we’ve been staying during these 8 weeks of limbo waiting for our house purchase to go through. So about a year ago, I started stalking local runners and running clubs via social media, and the nearest running club was the newly formed Shrewton Running Club, in a nearby village. I followed them on social media and finally this week, the Husband and I joined them for a run. I can honestly say that we were blown away by the warm welcome we received. They’ve been following me on Instagram too, so there was that odd but pleasant sensation of knowing people that you’ve never actually met before.
Tuesday’s run was a special evening run to participate in World Mental Health day – the goal was a very easy couple of miles round the pretty village of Shrewton at chatting pace followed by drinks at the local pub for those that could make it. It’s dark in the evenings now, so everyone rocked up in hi-viz (one of the organisers had a bag of hi-viz for runners without some). We met at the recreation ground and hung around chatting for a bit. People were super-friendly and we felt really welcome immediately.
The run ended up being about three miles along the increasingly dark country lanes. There was always someone to run with and everyone was chatty. I got to run with a lovely lady and her spaniel, Jerry Springer. I’m obsessed with spaniels so this made my day. The Husband ran with Nick, the very enthusiastic founder of the club.
Once the run was over, we all sloped off to the Plume and Feathers, the village pub and we spent a fun half-hour chatting. As we walked back to the car afterwards, both the Husband and I remarked on what a lovely bunch of people these were and we tried to work out if we could keep running with them when we move. That’s not realistic, but we’re really looking forward to bumping into SRC runners at races!
I got in touch with Nick, the club’s founder and asked him a few quick questions about it!
How did the club start and how’s it grown since?
Having got into running only 5 years ago, regularly pounding the streets of our village I started to notice more and more people, like me, out running. Shrewton is only a small village of around 2,000 inhabitants, sat in the middle of Salisbury Plain, but I was surprised at how many people I saw running. In April 2016 I came up with the idea of creating an informal running group in the hope of bring these people together, both to forge community spirit, and to connect like-minded runners.
Things started slowly at first but gradually word got around. Whilst technological advances have created social media as the perfect tools to generate marketing and promotional opportunities, in Shrewton the best marketing tools are posters on lampposts. By September 2016 our little group had grown to 12 regular runners. For Shrewton, not bad at all.
As things were progressing so well it was decided to formalise things and Shrewton Running Club was born. Affiliation to England Athletics was successful and shortly after Wiltshire Athletics Association. We were ecstatic!! We continue to go from strength to strength, and our membership is currently around 40 members.
Cat’s note: The club kit features the Great Bustard, the unfortunately-named and nearly-extinct bird which barely hangs on to existence here on Salisbury Plain. All 40 of the UK’s bustards live near Shrewton and there’s a great organisation ensuring their survival.
Last month, runners from the SRC did a strava-drawing of a bustard on the Plain. Genius, and apparently a load of fun.
What’s the club ethos?
Whilst we are a growing club, our overriding ethos is providing a friendly and sociable environment. We really only welcome people who appreciate these values. Many of us take part in races and take training seriously, but having fun and being considerate to others within the group is really very important.
How many people do you have running regularly with you? What kind of runners are they?
We have a wide range of abilities in our little club. From those who have just completed Couch to 5k programmes to those currently in training for marathons, duathlons and triathlons. This does present some challenges for the club, as we have grown very quickly and need to ensure we have systems in place to cater for all abilities. We are rapidly putting people through courses and currently have 5 LiRF trained members.
What does a typical week with the SRC look like?
We currently run two sessions per week. Wednesday evenings we alternate between a run night and training night. Sunday mornings at 9am is our club run with various distances exploring the lovely environment around Salisbury Plain.
Do you welcome brand new runners?
Yes! In February 2017 we commenced our first Couch To 5K programme. We were amazed that 10 people completed an 8 week course graduating on week 9 with a 5k at Salisbury parkrun. All ran the 5k without stopping and all went on to join our club.
How do you want the club to grow and change in the next year?
It’s always a balance between growing the club and maintaining the small friendly feel. Whilst we see growth in the year ahead, there will be a limit to what we can realistically manage. We only have a small committee of 9 members, and as this is a voluntary commitment we have to consider limits.
Our club is affiliated to Wiltshire Athletics Association and we compete in both the road- race league and off-road league. Our first season in the road race league has exceeded our expectations, and whilst there are still 2 races left we anticipate finishing in 4th place in the second division. Amazing!!! We are blessed to live in such a lovely county. We are all very excited now about taking part in the offload league. New challenges and new places to explore.
And finally, what’s your favourite Wiltshire race?
I can’t speak for all the club members but personally, I think the Heddington 5k Series is right up there. Finishing at a lovely pub is a master stroke.
So if you’re near Shrewton and looking for a running club, do check out the Shrewton Running Club! You can follow them on Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE. And go and join them, you’re assured of a warm welcome!