A popular former jogging group in Little Eaton has been reignited thanks to a new leader.
With support from Jog Derbyshire and funding from Councillor Carol Hart – Phil Holmes – who’s lived in Little Eaton for the past nine years – has taken over the group, which had come to a halt after the previous leader emigrated during the pandemic.
Jog Derbyshire is a network of supportive, friendly and social jogging groups – of which Little Eaton Runners is now a member.
Along with three co-leaders, Phil’s vision is to create a group which is at the heart of the community, offering all ages and abilities a welcoming, friendly space to enjoy running, make new friends and improve their fitness.
The group meets on a Tuesday at 7pm at Little Eaton Village Hall for sessions which include a variety of activities suitable for everyone – from interval based activities to runs out to the surrounding countryside to enjoy the scenery.
They’re also currently running a Couch to 5k programme for complete beginners, which introduces people to jogging over a gradual nine-week programme. Couch to 5k programmes will take place twice a year, in autumn and spring.
Phil explained: “Having got into running myself, it had a positive impact on my own life and also being part of another running group previously – you just get a strong sense of social identity, the power of running in a group so being able to do that very locally for Little Eaton is great.
“Little Eaton’s got some great places to run in and around. It’s got some great countryside and some safe streets so it’s a good place to run, but some people just need a leg up or encouragement from others, a social context to do it so that’s all part of the motivation.”
Having run for a number of years, building up to marathon distances but no longer taking part in that level of race, taking on Little Eaton runners has given Phil extra motivation.
He said: “The running group also provides an added motivation for me. It’s not only the helping out others but it also gives me a lot of energy as well – physical and mental energy – in terms of a focal point for the week ahead thinking about what session we might run and also being part of the exercise as well.”
Phil is also keen to ensure strong links between those who do a Couch to 5k programme and the main group.
He said: “In the main, pretty much everyone who’s part of the main group started running later in life and they see themselves in the couch to 5k people and want to help them on the journey the same way they started out. So it’s really nice community group in that sense. It’s part of our local identity.”
It’s free to join a session with Little Eaton Runners, however there’s a voluntary contribution of £10 in autumn/winter and spring/summer, all of which goes back into supporting and growing the group.
Phil explains: “We make it voluntary because we’re just aware of the financial pressure that people are under. I don’t take any of that money myself, it’s a separate bank account.
“We’ll make group decisions about what we spent the money on but the biggest priority will be to fund another coach. That provides opportunity for a different focus of activities on any given session and just a bit more flexibility to support different ability groups. Then there’s also equipment and a shared social focus for a bit of bonding.”
Councillor Carol Hart said: “I was delighted to give a grant to the Little Eaton Runners, good to see this group up and running again. Being Cabinet Member for Health at Derbyshire County Council I love to support any activity that improves people’s health and also brings the benefit of forming friendships.”
If you’d like to find out more about Little Eaton Runners or get in touch with Phil to ask any questions, you can find their details here