GreaterSport worked in partnership with Link4Life to open up opportunities to start running in the Kingsway area of Rochdale. Through grant funding two new run leaders (recruited from a previous walk to run programme) were upskilled to start a new session at Kingsway track. The first session attracted 41 participants from the local area with 32 completing the 10 week programme.
Tracey Barnes (a MacMillan Nurse), aged 50, who completed the Couch 2 5k programme said:
“I can’t remember the last time I’d exercised before this, I couldn’t even run 300 yards. On the first week, the organisers were so welcoming and motivating. The fact that it was FREE encouraged me to come. I’ve lost pounds in weight, my fitness has come on and not in a million years would I think I’d be able to run 5k nonstop. I’ve even started doing Parkrun which I’ve been doing for 8 weeks so far and I’m getting faster and faster each week. I feel fantastic and amazing and I’d recommend this programme to anyone. I feel 1000% better than I did before”.
Following the success of the programme, the group will continue the sessions and pay £1 each week to keep the regular activity going and sustain.
Sarah Shard, Link4Life, has now set up another new Couch 2 5k session which on the first week attracted over 90 new participants. This is something that she plans to introduce locally in all townships within Rochdale. She said:
“At the end of the 10 week programme the participants decided to continue and run together as a group. Link4Life have since started another Couch 2 5K at Kingsway. 91 people took part in the first week of this session and 200 people overall took part in the two sessions. Many people have benefited from the programme and are experiencing lifestyle changes including weight loss, improved sleep, fitness levels and confidence. Some people couldn’t run 200 yards before this programme and are now running 5k regularly at local parkruns or with the group. It has seen a large amount of people from the community come together with families taking part and new friendships being made."
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