Running Groups in Kent
- Ashford Walk/Jog 4 Life, Julie Rose Stadium, Ashford
- Ashford Group, Ashford and surrounding areas
- Balance-Running, Ridgeway playing fields, Southborough
- Bedgebury Belles Running Group, Bedgebury Forest and Pinetum car park
- Born to Run Faversham Rec. Ground, Park Rd, Faversham
- Building 510 runners, Sandwich Discovery Park, Sandwich
- Cranbrook Joggers, The Ball Field, Cranbrook
- David Lloyd Maidstone Runners (DLMR)
- Deal Running Buddies
- Fido Fitt Jogging Club, Fido Fitt, Upchurch, Sittingbourne
- Get Back On Track, Deangate Ridge Golf & Sports Complex, Hoo
- Get On Track, Deangate Ridge Golf & Sports Complex, Hoo
- GoRids Runners (Maidstone)
- Hamstreet Beginners / Hamstreet 10K Runners, Hamstreet Garden Centre, Hamstreet
- Maidstone Run England Group, Various points around Maidstone
- Meopham & Malling Ladies Joggers, Camer Park, Meopham & Wrotham Church
- MoorEnergy Runners, MoorEnery Fitness Club, Westerham
- Oaks Blokes, Hollybush Recreation Ground, Sevenoaks
- Paddock Wood A.C., Mascall School Maidstone Rd, Paddock Wood
- Pomphrey's Pacers, Various points around Maidstone
- Run Off Your Feet, Various locations, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells
- Run Ramsgate, Ramsgate Sports Centre
- RunFit, Green Lane Park, Paddock Wood
- Sandhurst Striders, Recreation Field, Sandhurst
- Sarah's Runners, Nevill Cricket Pav, Warwick Pk, Tunbridge Wells
- Sebastian Coe Running Club, Sebastian Coe Health Club @The Mercure Maidstone
- Sevenoaks Ladies Joggers, Hollybush Recreation Ground, Sevenoaks
- South East Striders, Thanet, Herne Bay, Ramsgate
- Take A Step Running Group - West Kent, Paddock Wood
- The Heath Joggers, Penenden Heath main car park, Maidstone
- The Natural Running Project, Mote Park, Maidstone
- Tonbridge Ladies Joggers, Tonbridge School
- Tonbridge Runners Group, Tonbridge Swimming Pool
- Wajog!!, Acacia Hall, High Street, Dartford
- Yoga Nut, Brenchley War Memorial Hall & Grounds
Go to the Run in England website for more information.
LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING
Four years ago Steve Grantham was worried about his fitness for work. Now fitness is his work as the MD of Beginners2Runners in Kent.
Former policeman Steve Grantham, admits he was an unhealthy, overweight smoker before deciding something had to be done, so he tried running – on his own after dark, hoping that no one would spot him! Two years later and four stones lighter he wanted to inspire others and B2R was created when 70 turned up for the inaugural session in Coxheath.
Now there are nine B2R clubs in Kent with around 2,000 members and up to 1,000 out training each week for their particular goals. Steve wanted to create a group that was fun, social and community-based so people of all shapes, sizes and abilities could have a go, without feeling embarrassed. He wanted others to feel like he did – proud to be doing something great for yourself!
runABC South sent Alan Newman along to one of the groups to see what all the fuss was about and this is his report.
I joined Leyborne B2R for an evening run as they were about to celebrate their first anniversary. The unlikely venue was KHR Recruitment Specialists, an office in a small shopping parade.
I met the local B2R club manager, a senior consultant in the recruitment business, which explains the venue but not her nickname of ‘Jinx’ Buckley. Introductions were over quickly and with around 60 members present there was just time for a few words of encouragement before we were divided into groups and set off with our leaders.
My group was the 5k to 10k improvers and Frankie Boylan led a brief but dynamic warm-up, part of which was with a partner. I found myself paired with spry septuagenarian Bernadette, who told me about her recovery from a spiral fracture of the femur while umpiring a netball match 12 years ago and her Sweatshop parkrunner of the month award for September. It seems that not even broken bones can stand in the way of a determined runner
Frankie assembled us and gave a minute for a bewildering array of apps to be sorted before we set off like a chattering mobile disco of lights, music and pace notes; head-torches creating a strobe effect in the hedgerows. It won’t be like this on my next session on the track at Paddock Wood, I mused, as we maintained a steady 7min/km, stopping for a minute walk every kilometre.
Halfway round we tackled ‘chip shop hill’ before regrouping for a welfare check, with the enticing aroma of salt and vinegar in the air. Just before the temptation to beg a bag of scraps became irresistible, we were unleashed by Frankie to set our own pace for the final 3k dash to the finish. The session was well organised, fun and friendly and there is no doubt that everyone present was well catered for, according to their ability and ambition. While stretching, I met Sam from nearby Larkfield, who joined the group in January as a complete beginner. Sam is a mum of two energetic girls who was persuaded by a friend to join. She has since dropped three dress sizes, improved her energy levels and overcome shin splints in her quest to run 5k.
Sam is not quite there yet and is the only member still in the 5k starter programme but as she says, “I get to make new friends every ten weeks”. Sam confided that, “Beginners2Runners saved me from health problems. I was stuck in a rut, unable to play with my kids and I had no idea how to change things. Now I have none of those worries and can call myself a runner. I may be the slowest but no-one cares about that, least of all me.”
After training, I met Steve on his way back from launching his latest group in Ashford. He told me: “It makes me really proud to be part of something so incredible. Running really can change people’s lives. The difference with our approach is that we don’t just train runners, we make them.”
If you’d like to join Beginners2Runners contact Steve Grantham at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit beginners2runners.co.uk
For more information about running in Kent or to find your local running group, please visit: kentsport.org/run
Article featured in runABC South Jan-Feb16