"I'm not fast enough to join a club - I'll be last". Does this sound like you? Perhaps you've done a short course or followed a training programme, possibly you’ve been running with friends for a while or maybe you have run a 5K event and simply got the running bug – and now you’re thinking of joining a club but are not sure if it’s for you? This page contains the basic information to get you started.
There is no pressure to join straight away so why not “try before you buy”; once you’ve been two or three times we hope you will see the benefits of joining us (membership costs just £45 per year – cheaper than 1 month at most gyms)!
(The benefits of joining by the way are, apart from the camaraderie, many and varied and include free entry to races, free coaching, 15% discount at Alton Sports running shops - and 10% at many more shops, low-cost strength & conditioning classes, several free weekly coached sessions, and more.)
Details of many of the club events are on this website but a good place to start is to come along to one of the social runs we hold each week on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
Social runs give you a great opportunity to meet other runners, discover new routes and run in a safe and friendly group. They also mean that there'll be someone for you to run with! You need to be able to run for 30 minutes – we make sure that no-one is left behind and everyone welcomes the regular pauses on route to regroup and catch their breath.
If you are a slow runner or 30 mins is around your limit, Thursday nights are the nights to go for. On Thursday there is always a support runner to take individuals or a group to run gently for 30 mins and no more, at the pace of the slowest runner (faster runners loop back round to join in again at the back). If you can run a bit longer than that but aren't sure you can run fast enough or far enough to join in one of the other groups on a Weds or Thursday, there is an option to do an extra 15 or 20 mins after the 30 minute run has finished. This is a great way to build up your confidence and fitness before trying the other groups.
If you think you'd like to come along and give it a try, either ring Alan Coveney on 01962 882719 or email Lou Walker firstname.lastname@example.org. They are both club coaches so can answer any questions and will make sure someone is looking out for you when you arrive. Alan is usually there at the start of every social run.
Social runs happen every Wednesday (from River Park Leisure Centre) and every Thursday (from the Clubhouse at Winchester Sports Stadium Track). Directions to both locations. The Wednesday run leaves at 7.10pm and Thursday's run starts at 7pm so we recommend you get there 15-20 mins beforehand to chat with other people and orientate yourself a bit.
For the River Park run we meet upstairs outside the children's ball play area. At the track we meet inside the clubhouse, right next to the track (don't confuse this with the pavillion in the football field which is used for boxing!).
Ask for Alan Coveney (or whoever you have been told to ask for when you contacted Alan or Lou) and before long you'll be introduced to people who will be running at your sort of pace. They'll have a chat to find out how far/long you want to run for and will answer any questions. All members will do their best to make you feel welcome.
Routes vary week to week but they always include a 'short cut' option if the full run is too long for you to start with. In the summer we try to get out into the beautiful countryside around us but even in the winter we still manage to find lots of interesting routes around the streets of Winchester.
Important! In the winter it is essential to wear high viz clothing and some people also find it useful to wear a head torch.
We pride ourselves on being a truly friendly bunch of like minded people who, whether looking to compete or simply complete, value the camaraderie of running. We come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities and ages and warmly invite anyone who has a shape, a size, a nationality, an age and is breathing to come along and join us.
Remember, every runner knows a runner who is faster than them - don't let that put you off! Come along and give it a try …
There's more info about other club sessions in the Thinking of Joining? section.