On Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 January running fanatics flocked to Birmingham’s NEC in their thousands for the National Running Show.
Two action packed days, with over 24,000 running enthusiasts, 250 exhibitors, 85 sporting stars and special guest speakers, 19 interactive features and 4 main stages – what an incredible weekend it was.
With all our major programmes, initiatives and partners represented, it was a fantastic showcase of our sport and spirit of the running community. Great to meet and speak to so many people, many of our affiliate athletes, members and running groups, and talk about all of the opportunities for people to get involved in our sport at all levels; our courses and qualifications, coaching opportunities, CPD development days and workshops and so much more...
Special thanks to our Run Leader Mentors for their support over the weekend. Taking part in the Skills Theatre talks and Ask the Expert sessions, sharing their journeys to becoming Run Leaders and Mentors, and supporting on our stands.
Special sessions and highlights from over the weekend…
Run Leader VIP session
Speed dating with a difference, Run Leaders were invited to join us for a VIP session with experts in respective fields of strength & conditioning, psychology and nutrition.
Strength and conditioning: facilitated by Michael Carolan, MSc BSc (Hons) GSR, CSCS, BWL and CSAC at the University of Salford. The strength and conditioning workshop covered a whistle-stop tour of exercises to help bullet proof runners’ bodies for the rigours of running, including warm-ups, core training and mobility exercises.
Nutrition: facilitated by Ollie Odell, BBSRC Doctoral Researcher, AFHEA, School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham. The sports nutrition workshop included an overview of fuelling for training, including nutritional strategies to use before and during exercise.
Psychology: facilitated by Saul Shorm and Ben Parry, Sports Psychologists from the University of Birmingham. The psychology workshop focused on developing tools for Run Leaders to stay motivated through all levels of sessions and overcoming barriers to self-improvement, both mentally and physically.
Giving feedback on these sessions, all of our experts said the same – that it was great to meet and speak with such an engaged audience, our Run Leaders all being so keen to know and learn more about all topics covered, so that they in turn can better support their group runners. That lots of myths were discussed and busted, and less common questions raised; an interactive and insightful session with fantastic feedback from both sides of the table.
Mental Health Champion meet-up
Some of our England Athletic and RunTogether Mental Health Champions met up and of course we couldn’t miss out on a photo op! A gathering of minds all supporting and championing our mental health and wellbeing mission within our clubs and running groups.
10 Year challenge
An insightful Skills Theatre talk led by England Athletics Head of Insight and Performance Management, Dan Isherwood. Reviewing running today; highlighting fascinating facts showing how the running market has evolved and where we are headed in the future. We'll be sharing more of this insight in the coming weeks...
A number of our Run Leader Mentors led talks on the Skills Theatre stage sharing their running journey with the masses. On Saturday, Sue Bennett and Danielle Guy took to the stage nervous about being in front of hundreds of people but immediately engaged the audience with their humility and talk about being ‘every day’ runners and how RunTogether is very much part of their social life and echoes their working lives.
On Sunday it was the turn of Dylan Gould and Szerena Meljan, who captivated the crowds and received a standing ovation for their honest and humorous accounts. Szerena starting out jogging around a football pitch, to tagging onto a cross country race, then running around an island in short succession, on a bit of a whim and with very little preparation... all whilst running in the wrong size shoes for the last 3 years (something she found out this weekend!). Dylan went from not being able to run a mile to running the length of Wales – 185 miles, taking on more running responsibilities and roles, down to his ‘just say yes’ mindset and motivation.
Ask the experts
Not seeing themselves as experts but we know differently; joining the forementioned Run Leaders Mentors; and to whom we say a huge thank you were: Natalie Sampson, Kenza Bowman, Ben Brown, Kate Bone, Ian Robinson, Mark Hurst, Michaela Warren and Hannah Lees.
It was great to meet and share the weekend with so many of you. If you weren’t there in person, head over to our social media pages to see posts and highlights of all the action…
Useful links for further information
- Click this link to find out more about our upcoming Leadership in Running Fitness courses
- Click this link to find out more about our upcoming Run Leader Development Days and workshops
- Click this link to find out more about coaching opportunities
- Click this link to find out more about officiating