I started running on my own at first. Running was therapy for me, after quitting my role as a slimming club leader to take control of my health in my own way. But soon I began to crave the company of others, and that was where the idea came from to form a running group; a group which soon became a fully fledged running club, where I always had people who wanted to go for a run with me, whether it be a quick trail run with the dog, or a long marathon training run. When we relocated 120 miles across the country to the other side of the Pennines, life was very quiet while I forged new friendships and I had to get used to running on my own again. Luckily I had the dogs for company, and latterly my new found canicross buddies.

At the end of last year, Glynne, the chairman of our running club Horwich RMI Harriers, approached me at the side of the track while I was coaching the infants, and asked whether I would like to set up a social running group as part of the club, in partnership with the Arena. Having come into running relatively late in life myself, I really enjoy helping people find the enjoyment in running. I love seeing the excitement in their faces when they discover they have run further than they thought they could. I love hearing about how they have run parkrun for the first time. I love bringing people together and helping them to forge friendships with others they have met through the medium of running. “Yes!” I said “I’d love to”. And that was the inception of the Community Run Group.

We launched on 15th January 2020, with 6 nervous faces, not quite sure what to expect. This week we welcomed 14 runners on Wednesday night. It’s great to see the group growing.


In those 7 short weeks since the launch, something magical has happened. We already have a group of regular faces who make an effort to come along every week, sometimes to both sessions, and make other newer members feel welcome. We have been doing a mixture of social runs – around 3-4 miles – and on some sessions we will do a shorter run and incorporate some hill reps or some faster running to help members of our group improve, as well as have fun. We keep the sessions as varied as possible, and never do the same thing two weeks running.

It’s lovely to already see our runners arranging to meet up at parkrun, or to do weekend runs together so they’re not on their own.

Why DO we like company on a run?

Does chatting to others on a run slow us down a little and mean we can keep running for longer, or forget we’re even running?

Does doing interval training together, such as running up and down hills, give us a sense of solidarity and make us feel more able to do just one more rep, if we have that support from others?

Does just knowing there is a group of people heading out into the dark and the rain together for a run make you more willing to get off the sofa and into your running kit to join them?

If you’re interested in coming along, we meet every Wednesday at 6pm and Friday at midday in the foyer at Bolton Arena. It’s completely free, simply book on here so we know to expect you.

Here’s what some of our members said when I asked them what they’re enjoying about the group.

I felt really apprehensive when I first came, but everyone is so friendly. I really look forward to Wednesday evenings. All different abilities, no pressure and really enjoyable, varied sessions ~ Nicola


I love how this group has developed over a short period of time. There is a really good feel that genuinely all abilities are catered for. A mixture of sessions makes it interesting, and why folks come back ~ Dan


The group has been great for me. Having lost my fitness and confidence following injury, I’m really enjoying running again. Everyone is so friendly and supportive ~ Carol


A great group of mixed ability full of friendly faces. Whether you’re just starting out or have been running for a while, it’s a fab group to be part of, and I’ve definitely felt pushed since I’ve started and can already see the improvements in my running ~ Alicia

Working shifts, it’s hard to find groups to go running with regularly, especially during the daytime. Having the Friday lunchtime group has definitely given me more of an incentive to come out for a daytime run – rain or shine! The sessions are always varied and by the end of it, and with Michelle’s encouragement, you realise that you’ve gone further and/or faster than you thought you could ~ Fran