Bootye’s Ladies Running Club have their tails up after scooping three awards at the 2016 Somerset Sports Awards. Group founder, Debra Ashley, was the winner of the Participation Coach of the Year and the Bootye’s Ladies are proud winners of the Club of the Year title at the start of only their third year since forming.
Debra Ashley started Bootye’s Ladies in 2014 after completing her second London Marathon. Within a few months she qualified as a Run Leader and had a growing number of loyal and committed members, many of whom had never previously run. The club now boasts an active membership of 50 women from the Bridgewater and Taunton area. The club mantra is that if you run you shouldn’t be defined by your size, shape of your body, speed or ability.
Bootye’s Ladies meet for social runs on the Taunton to Bridgewater canal path or head for the hills in the gorgeous Quantocks or to the beach at Burnham. They also compete regularly and enjoy nothing better than a muddy off-road challenge in the wonderful countryside of the West Country.
The club was nominated for the annual Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership awards by the Rotary Club of Taunton for their charity fundraising efforts as well as their contribution to the health and fitness of the community.
The ceremony took place last Friday (24 June) at Somerset County Cricket Club with 130 people in attendance. Jane Knowles, SASP Partnership Director, said: “As a County Sports Partnership we feel it is important to recognise the tireless efforts of our fantastic workforce. Volunteers are the backbone of community sport and we know that without them sport cannot function. Great coaches not only support athletes to realise their potential but help to create an important lifelong love of sport and physical activity."
The evening also recognised the work SASP is undertaking with Sport England's This Girl Can Campaign. The campaign, which launched last year, aims to address the persistent gender gap, where more men play sport than women at every age, by breaking down the barriers that prevent women and girls from participating in sport and physical activity.
More information on the Bootye’s Ladies club website