Focus on Holly Hill Runners
For Run England group leader Katharine Jones, her four weekly sessions are a labour of love. The sub-3 hour marathoner has always been into fitness - she was an aerobics teacher in the 1980s - so her recent evolution as a UK Athletics Endurance Coach (Level 2) and a Leader in Running Fitness has been a natural development.
As you might expect from someone who enjoyed a 25 year career in the world of air traffic control, Katharine brings an element of precision to her new role as leader of the Holly Hill Run England group in Sarisbury Green near Fareham. She admits that her classes are structured and were created to enable new runners to progress smoothly but she emphasises that sessions are flexible, responsive to individuals and, always, good fun!
Katharine told runABC South: “We’re lucky that we have Holly Hill Woodland Park as our main location. It’s an ideal setting for woodland runs with paths stretching down to the River Hamble, and also interval sessions that utilise the perimeters of the lake and the local cricket ground.
“The Holly Hill group was set up in 2009 and we now have four sessions per week. Beginners (Friday - 10.30am), mixed ability (Monday - 6.30pm & Friday - 9.30am) and improvers (Friday - 9.30am).
“The beginners group is a gentle baptism with mixed running and walking in the initial stages. After that, there are milestones - from 1k non-stop to 3 miles non-stop at the end of the block. After 10 weeks, beginners have usually developed to the stage where they can think about a 5k parkrun which is a nice introduction to events if they’re interested. I back-up the sessions with an emailed hand-out which might provide information about the benefits of a particular interval or stretch, or offer nutritional advice.
“I encourage new runners to go out once or twice a week beyond the weekly session and as often as not pairs or threesomes will make arrangements to meet-up so there’s a social aspect to the group - they invariably have coffee and cake afterwards!
“Lots of people who do the beginners course, stay with the group and progress to ‘mixed ability’ where there’s the opportunity to work towards a 10k or just to enjoy the experience of longer runs. There’s more scope now for intervals - that’s where the lake and the cricket ground come in handy - and circuits, relay or sports-day based sessions. I aim to make it fun but usually sneak in the progression and the hard work under the guise of hilarity.
“Retired midwife and group stalwart Miranda can be relied on to assist with the high jinks, she’s always game for a laugh but somewhere between the giggles and the jokes, she’s advanced from a run-walker to someone’s who put in a great effort at the recent Great South Run. Another success story is Roanna, a once-sporty mum, who thrived as her fitness improved and she got back to the shape she had been in 10 years before.
“This year we had a marathon group preparing for Brighton Marathon, and there are usually big turnouts of Holly Hillers at Gosport Half, Eastleigh 10K and at our local parkrun at Netley Abbey. So today the group is a nice blend of newcomers, established runners and people who just enjoy the fun and camaraderie of the weekly sessions. I’ve encourage a few of the more ‘hardcore’ members to graduate to one of the excellent local clubs but they seem reluctant to ‘fly the nest’ which must be a testimony of sorts!
“Although the daytime sessions are predominantly female, Monday evening is popular with the boys. One ‘boy’ who caused a stir when he came along last year was Portsmouth FC hero Linvoy Primus. The ex-football star was a great addition to the group and we all enjoyed his friendliness and willingness to join in.”
Check out Holly Hill Runners on Katharine's website where you will also find details of Katharine’s personal coaching service.
Groups In Hampshire
- Accolade Health and Fitness Group, Centurion Park
- Andover Beginners Group, Andover Leisure Centre
- Andover Parkrunners, Charlton Sports & Leisure Centre
- Applemore Beginners Group, Applemore Health and Leisure
- Baffins Fit Club, Baffins, Portsmouth
- Bishops Waltham Saturday Group, Priory Park
- BQ House Improvers Running Group, B&Q House, Eastleigh
- Chandler’s Ford group, Knightwood Leisure Centre
- Chandlers Ford Running Community, Physio2Fit
- Chineham Runners, Fitness First Health Club (Basingstoke)
- Compton Running Group, Compton
- Crawley Court Runners, Winchester
- David Lloyd Port Solent, Port Solent marina
- Dibden Running Group, Applemore Health and Leisure
- Eastleigh Running club beginners, Fleming Park Leisure Centre
- Farnborough Group, Rushmoor Community Pitches
- Fit runz, Morelands School, Waterlooville
- Fitness Divas Running Group, Broughton Village Hall
- Geoff and Kims Group, Southampton Sports Centre
- Get Up and Go, Peter Driver Sports Ground, Fleet
- Gosport Group, Gosport Leisure Centre
- Hart Runners, Hart Leisure Centre, Fleet
- Haslemere Border AC, Woolmer Hill Social Club
- Hedge End Running Club, Wildern Leisure Centre
- Hiltingbury Group, Hiltingbury Rec. Ground, Chandler’s Ford
- Holly Hill Group, Holly Hill Car Park
- Horndean Ladies Running Group, Horndean Technology College
- Keep Moving, Spirit Health Club (Eastleigh)
- Kim & Geoff’s Group, Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre, Bassett
- Lee-on-Solent Group, Lee Recreation Ground
- Long Sutton Runners, Four Horseshoes
- Lordshill Beginners Group, Southampton common
- MSE Fitness with Tiffany, Merchiston Hall, Horndean & Taro Leisure Centre, Petersfield
- New Forest Group Ashurst
- New Life Training, Osborne Road Rec, Warsash
- Optimum Training Group, Zebon Copse Centre, Church Crookham
- Rachel’s Runners, Rectory Road Playing Fields,Farnborough
- Rookie Runners, Jubilee Fields, Alton
- Run Bordon, Phoenix Theatre
- Run Four Marks, Four Marks Recreation Ground
- Run in Alton, Alton Sports Centre
- Run in Lee, Lee On Solent Recreation Ground
- Run Warsash, Crofton Community Centre, Fareham
- Sally’s Runners, Car Park Brockenhurst
- School Run Runners, Southampton Common
- Southampton Running Sisters - Eastleigh, The Hub
- Southampton Running Sisters Beginners, Southampton Solent University
- Southsea Pirates - Beginners, South Parade Pier
- Southsea Running Group, South Parade Pier
- Sportivate Andover College Beginners Running, Charlton Sports & Leisure Centre
- TB Runners, King George V Playing Field, Farnborough
- Totton Beginner Group, Ashurst & West Totton Community Centre
- Valley Park Total Beginners, Valley Park Community Centre, Chandlers Ford
- WE Run, West End, Southampton
- Whiteley, Fareham Running Group, Meadowside Leisure Centre
- Winchester Running Group, River Park Leisure Centre
- Winchester Sports Stadium Running Group
If you run a group and would like it to be featured here, send us an email!