New year courses off to a good start at Sidmouth Running Club

The 2018 Sidmouth Running Club Beginners course group.

The 2018 Sidmouth Running Club Beginners course group. - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Running Club members have welcomed over 50 new recruits to the 2018 new year beginners and improvers’ courses, writes Monica Reed.

The 2018 Sidmouth Running Club Beginners course group.

The 2018 Sidmouth Running Club Beginners course group. - Credit: Archant

Enrolment and a warm welcome from the club chairman, Terry Bewes, took place on the first two Wednesday club nights of 2018 and the new groups were soon up and running with experienced run leaders to help them along the way.

Helen Palmer and Colin Flood guided the beginners through a run/walk combination around town, which soon put nervous starters at ease.

Clare Partridge, who lives in Exeter, and is moving to Sidmouth shortly, joined the course to increase fitness, but also to meet some new people.

She says: “Before my first week in the beginners’ group, I was a little apprehensive about being able to keep up with the group.

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“My fears were unfounded as, right from the start, I was made to feel very welcome and the coaches put my mind at rest by explaining the course and its aims.

“The first two weeks have been great, the running has been fun, I’ve met some nice people and I’ve even started to do some extra runs at weekends.”

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Another beginner, Kath Giles, agrees, and has had her appetite whetted.

She says: “So far I’m loving it! They are a great friendly bunch, and the leaders are positive, positive, and more positive! I’d love to run a proper race (to get a medal) and get up the side of Salcombe Hill in the summer. Watch this space...”

Harri Pollard, a mother of two, moved to Sidmouth in 2016 after many years overseas.

This is her second go at the beginners’ course. With regard to her first attempt, she reflected: “Life just kept getting in the way.”

However, this year she is determined to make it a priority, and says: “I think I might actually really like running and the first few weeks have been reasonably easy.

“The run leaders definitely ease you in gently - I love the idea of running a little, walking a little; it makes that first bit of exercise after being very sedentary much easier to manage. I only ached a little bit after the first few sessions!”

New for 2018, the improvers’ course is led by Tim Mitchell, who has been impressed by the enthusiasm of the new group.

Tom says: “We have quite a range of abilities, but we always ensure that faster runners loop back at check points so that everyone gets to run at their own pace.” Rachel Searle, 19, was given the course as a Christmas present by her godmother.

She says: “I wanted to join to improve my general fitness, but I was worried that I would feel embarrassed.

“However, I’ve been to two sessions now and I am really happy running with the improvers’ group.

“There are a big range of people with different abilities and the run leaders know how to include everyone while keeping the group challenging. I look forward to getting to know the other runners throughout the course.”

Emma Grainger, 64, from Ottery claims not to like running and says she is ‘past her best’ but nonetheless runs regularly with friends, enters a couple of races every year and thinks a regular course will help with training.

With several veteran club members achieving personal bests last year, she may yet surprise herself!

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