Merthyr running club off to a flyer




Merthyr Tydfil

Ever found yourself asking around or googling for a local running club and coming unstuck? Sarah Draper found herself in this situation and ended up setting up her own!

"I started running to lose weight and to get fit. I'd always been on the lookout for a local running club in Merthyr Tydfiland so had my friends  so I ended up starting a ladies only group called Phat Katz. It wasn't long before the local council got in touch and suggested we join forces with another running group to form a proper club."

Now, the club has its own Facebook page, runs regular competitions and is attracting around 80 runners every week. And everyone is telling Sarah how they feel so much fitter!

As these members explained:

"I have just started to run to look at losing weight but have been getting disheartened running on my own. The introduction of a beginner's session will allow me to run with a group of people of similar ability people and have the support system and camaraderie of a group."

 "Running has brought me closer to my wonderful friends and strengthened the relationships we have. It's not just about living a healthier lifestyle, running is such an amazing activity that people of all ages and abilities can take part in. We all have busy lifestyles but it gives you the chance to socialise with friends, have a good chat and get fit at the same time, what more could you want!"

If you find yourself in the same boat and fancy setting up a club, here are Sarah's top tips:

Get in touch straight away with your local authority and your national governing body of sport. It was a bit of paperwork to become affiliated to Welsh Athletics but well worth it and I'm so glad I did it at the beginning. It means we are more professional, we are fully insured and we get loads of support. Our members get discounts to enter races too.

Make sure you come across as friendly and welcoming. Lots of runners get scared off because they think it will be too professional and they'll be too slow.

A Facebook page helps - lots of our members just follow the group and read the posts before they join. Then when they start, they already feel like they know lots of the members and coaches already.

Be social - we build in social events like going for food after races. We also encourage members to meet up outside of the group

Cater for all abilities - our Walk to Run scheme is proving really popular

Apply for funding - we have received funding from Sport Wales to put our coaches on courses so they are fully trained up and qualified

Set out your expectations with volunteers - you want to give them enough to do to remain motivated but you also don't want to ask too much of them. Our team are happy to do something once a week

If you would like to find out more, visit Facebook.

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