Inspirational mum’s running club proves a hit

Members of the Run Harrogate group prepare to set off on the Stray in Harrogate last Thursday night.
Members of the Run Harrogate group prepare to set off on the Stray in Harrogate last Thursday night.

A HARROGATE mum who set up a running group in a bid to get back in shape after giving birth says the club is going from strength to strength.

Run Harrogate was set up in May by Sam Ward, who says she seems to have tapped into a demand for a fitness group that is not intimidating to people who aren’t necessarily super fit.

“I’d had a crisis of confidence about running on my own and figured other people must feel the same way,” said Sam, who is head of social media at .

“Run Harrogate was initially aimed at people who were either new to running or hadn’t been for a while.”

“I had a Ruby in December and decided quite early on that I would use running as the main form of getting back into shape.”

Sam plucked up the courage to go down to the Stray on a Saturday morning earlier this year to take part in what is billed as a more accessible running group, Park Run.

But at 5k long, the Park Run understably proved quite a challenge for someone who had given birth only few months earlier, on December 1, to Ruby.

Sam said: “I had tried running Park Run, which is actually amazing, but the distance was too much for me - I’d only just had a baby - and I felt a little deflated.

“So I thought I’d start a 3k group which would act as a little unofficial feeder group for the Park Run - so people can build up their confidence before trying greater distances.”

Since setting up Run Harrogate, Sam has split the group into three separate pace sections.

“Although there are three pace groups, everyone just goes at their own pace - some walk a little, run a little and some sprint all the way around, trying to beat their personal best time,” said Sam.

“We’re always looking for new members, everyone and anyone is welcome to come along and have a go. We’re a very supportive group - we all wait at the finish for everyone to get round and there’s lots of cheering!”

Not content with just getting fit, Sam has now committed to running this year’s Berlin Marathon along with her friend Lindsey McNally, as well as a gruelling military assault course.

“My dad ran the Berlin Marathon in 1981 - the year I was born - so I decided I would run it as well, within a year of Ruby being born. I’m running for Children with Cancer.

“I’m also doing the Tough Mudder event in Cheshire in November, which is 13 mile course with 26 obstacles set by British Special Forces, in aid of Help for Heroes.”