November is not only the time to be layering up on your runs, enjoying the crisp mornings and autumn leaves, it is also the time for the return of the England Athletics Regional Volunteer Awards!
Last week we were at the home of Blackburn Rovers to celebrate the contributions and achievements of volunteers in the north west region. We caught up with the fantastic Nicola Harvey and Louise McLaren from Park View 4 U RunTogether group, winners of the Contribution to Running Award.
A RunTogether group for the whole community
The club was started by former club member and Regional Volunteer Award winner, Clive Barley before being passed into the capable hands of Louise and Nicola:
“We had been Run Leaders with the club for five years,” explained Nicola “and in 2020 when we were given the reigns to manage the group we were a little reluctant but the Park View 4 U was too important and special to us to let it end. Our RunTogether group is about so much more than running, it is about community, supporting each other, friendship and wellbeing.
“We have an amazing group of people with runners in their 20s all the way through to those in their 80s. We have a lady, Sylvia, who only got into running in her 70s after not running since school and she is now winning her age group category at parkrun! We are constantly inspired by all the runners who come down each week, it blows us away.”
Looking towards the future
Ever since first starting out in 2016, the group continues to grow, and Louise and Nicola have been at the forefront of this as they explained:
“This year Louise and I have gained our Coach in Running Fitness qualifications which has been a great opportunity for our personal and professional development. We didn’t anticipate that when we decided to run some new focused coaching sessions to put our training in to practice just how many people would turn up!
“At 8am on a Monday morning we had 20 people turn up who were wanting to push themselves further than our usual Wednesday runs. By qualifying as coaches we can continue to support our runners and develop the group and sessions on offer.”
Contribution to Running award winners
It is not just running that this RunTogether group focuses on, but it also offers an inclusive experience for all in their local community completely free of charge. They have members with dementia, learning disabilities, cancer, heart conditions and mental health challenges, and their sessions are adapted and suitable for all. Whether they are delivering armchair aerobics, supporting foodbanks or raising money for local charities, Park View 4 U are at the centre of their community and are a real asset to Lytham.Read more about the North West awards