It has been a very exciting term for Cool Runnings, the university’s social running club which is a part of Athletics and Cross Country team. With over 300 members ranging from complete beginners to marathon runners, this term has seen the introduction of a brand new beginners’ running course, alongside competing in half marathons. Several members have also trained up as run leaders and sessions have seen record breaking attendance for the society.
‘Couch to 5k’ was introduced this year to Cool Runnings as a new way to get members involved with the club. The course ran for nine weeks with an average attendance of 28 runners many who had never run before or ran infrequently. Over 70 members attended at least one couch to 5k session, with 28 completing the course and over 60 joining the club and attending multiple sessions.
Cool Runnings member Hannah Reay-Jones on her experience with this new programme:
“ I joined ‘Couch to 5k’ as something different than other activities I had tried at university. It was great fun with the intensity of running progressing gradually coupled with enthusiasm left right and centre from all of Cool Runnings! It’s completely changed my perspective of running. The initial challenge of running 5k, which was completely daunting, has now become something I now thoroughly enjoy. I even now run outside of the organised sessions! I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get their fitness up with an amazing group of people and a lot of laughs along the way!”
On the 8th December over 60 members from the club attended Cannon Hill Parkrun. Parkrun is a weekly, free to enter 5k run that is hosted at hundreds of locations across the UK, with Canon Hill Park being the most local to the University of Birmingham. With 26 Couch to 5k participants completing their first Parkrun, it was an amazing event and the highest ever attendance for the club at a Parkrun.
The events calendar kicked off in style with several entries into the Birmingham Half Marathon. Several personal bests were set with some very impressive runs, with a host of members also taking on the 13.1 miler for the first time.
Once again the annual visit to the Warwick Relays at the University of Warwick proved to be an enjoyable and rewarding event, as members relished the rare opportunity of competing in relay teams.
A trip to the Coventry 10k was the next event in the calendar and its relatively flat course proved an ideal hunting ground for some personal bests once more. Imogen Woodard excelled, taking 7th place in the Women’s rankings and 42nd overall. Jay Carter, Charlie Steele and Harry Levick also ran brilliantly, to finish 15th, 36th, and 43rd overall respectively.
Several members have also relished in the opportunity of competing with the Men’s and Women’s teams for Cross Country, a new and unique experience for those involved with the club.
The club has also expanded the sessions it offers with Head of Athletics, Luke Gunn, delivering a steeplechase session to members. This session was immensely successful and offered the first opportunity for many members to try a track event.
It has been great to see such high levels of commitment and achievement across the spectrum of sessions and events this semester, and 2019 promises to be an equally exciting year.
If you’re interested in joining Cool Runnings, be sure to head to their Facebook page for more information!