Our Keep on Running clubs and groups have been telling us what they think of the campaign so far.
The Keep on Running campaign was launched in September, to help new and returning runners find athletics clubs and jogscotland groups which could welcome them.
Our aim is to engage some of the many people who took up running during lockdown, and help them discover the joys of group running.
The campaign helps us direct them to clubs and groups that are in a position to support new members, as we know some are concentrating on their existing members while covid restrictions remain in place.
We have also provided a page of resources for clubs and groups taking part to help them promote their participation. Clubs and groups that are not yet taking part can also visit that page to sign up.
With 70 clubs and groups now on board, we issued a survey to gather feedback on the campaign so far, and are grateful to the 25 clubs and groups that fed back to us.
The information they gave us will be invaluable as we plan how to take the campaign into 2021.
Across the clubs and groups that fed back, more than 200 enquiries had been received from new/potential members between the start of the campaign and the time we received survey responses in November, which had led to 156 people taking part in at least one training session and 148 taking part in more than one.
Clubs/groups had been following up with new participants in a whole range of ways including social media, the Teams app, emails, messenger, Strava groups and via text.
Great to see last nights intermediate group enjoying the Christmas sights during their run! ?✨ Be assured if you run with @LaynaThompson1 you’ll be doing this for the foreseeable! I think it’s safe to say she’s a big Christmas fan ???#IrvineRunningClub #KeepOnRunning pic.twitter.com/nJeGIZiPHf
— Irvine Running Club (@IRunningclub) December 4, 2020
A variety of payment options were being offered, from a yearly membership fee, to pay-as-you-go and free-of-charge sessions. One group was asking for a donation to charity and another had received a lottery grant which enabled them to deliver free sessions. One club had dropped the usual membership fee entirely and was offering free membership backed by promotion across facebook.
Participating clubs and groups also passed on a whole range of lessons learned so far, including the importance of integrating new members into groups as soon as possible so they felt included; the need to reassure potential members that athletics clubs are not just for the fastest; and the need to follow through on promises – if you say your sessions are suitable for all, make sure that you’re truly able to support every level of runner.
Some said they had received a real boost from seeing how much they were able to help new members grow in confidence. One said: “It is amazing to receive the feedback on the difference you make to individual lives by being welcoming, inclusive while COVID safe. Personally, I love having the opportunity to provide a path to these new joiners on their running journey!”
Another added: “We are all extremely aware that mental health is key and we promote this every week. I think the covid situation has highlighted that coming running could be the only contact that some runners have and having some ‘lycratherapy’ sessions (what we call our chit chat while we are running) are what keeps people/our runners going.“
We were also grateful to hear that having scottishathletics support via the Keep on Running campaign had been a boost to clubs and groups, giving ‘gravitas’ to recruitment efforts, and proving particularly reassuring during Covid regulations.
Below: The Keep on Running Campaign features in PB magazine
We also asked what further support we could provide, and some clubs mentioned they’d like to see a clearer outline of the benefits of becoming a scottishathletics member, which they could in turn show to people interested in becoming move involved.
In response to that feedback, the membership page of our website has now been overhauled with a clear outline of benefits at the top of the page to encourage people to join.
You can view that section at https://www.scottishathletics.org.uk/membership#whyjoin – we’d be delighted to see clubs pass that link on to potential new members.
Others requested more frequent jog leader (LiRF) courses to enable them to grow. We’re pleased to say that we’re now offering these via blended learning, but are aware that demand almost always outstrips supply.
While current restrictions have placed constraints on our ability to provide even more courses, our coach education team will continue to strive to put on as many courses as we can for those seeking to train.
Finally – here are some comments provided by new members of one of the clubs/groups after their first session, which really sum up the aims of the Keep on Running Campaign:
I was looking for a friendly, sociable club that also helped push me a bit. I’m happy to say that this was very much my experience at the club session last night – everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and it’s already made a big difference to how at home I feel in the city. I look forward to getting to know everyone better!
The run was brilliant! I loved it so much. Look forward to coming to another session.
Just wish to thank you for letting me take part in the running club last night. Very enjoyable and a lovely bunch of people.