Love2Run - the background to the present day

Love2Run is Eton Manor AC's Couch to 5k programme that has been running since 2010, successfully encouraging adults to take up or return to running in order to lead a more active lifestyle. The Club appreciates that not everyone wants to compete in races and some would like to run / jog to obtain a level of fitness. This programme offers people the opportunity to obtain that level of fitness in a safe and friendly environment, while running / jogging with others of a similar ability. People also join in to benefit from the social aspect of running and the confidence gained from this.  Our Love2Run programme can take you from no running to running 5k in 9 weeks.

The programme started back in June 2010 after our Club coach Trevor East applied for funding to help set up and run a course. About half a dozen Club members did the Leadership in Running Fitness course and trained up as Run Leaders that July, including Teresa, Rachel and Zoe who still lead. In September 2010, a handful of people completed their first 5k, including Robert Maggio who has continued running with us ever since, in the Valentines Park ELVIS race (East London 5 Interclub Series).

Since then we've trained at least 6 more run leaders, two of whom have progressed to obtain further coaching qualifications. We have put on about 3 courses a year with an average of 20 participants per course. Some people have subsequently become Club members, where others haven’t but we hope it has gone some way to encouraging a more active lifestyle.

At the 2014 Waltham Forest Sports Awards, Eton Manor’s Love2Run programme won the Physical Activity and Health Project award.

In 2015, a particularly keen Love2Run group decided they wanted to carry on and achieve a 10 k run, so Still Love2Run was born. This is a 5-10 k programme that we have now delivered twice, with about 16 participants achieving a 10k run to date. This programme was also on the shortlist for an award at the 2015 Waltham Forest Sports Awards, narrowly missing out to the popular Our Parks project.

Our Club coach Trevor (who incidentally won the Coach of the Year award in 2016) has been coordinating the Love2Run courses, while also juggling Club and Youth Coach duties and a full time job.

As Love2Run continues to grow, the Club has now appointed a dedicated Love2Run coordinator to the Club committee to help develop it further. The programme is delivered entirely by Club volunteers, with new members training as qualified Run Leaders alongside a large group of willing and enthusiastic assistants. We currently have 12 active qualified Run Leaders and two Running Coaches, with several participants becoming Run Leaders. As well as encouraging people into running, the programme also encourages Club members into volunteer roles, which brings its own rewards.

The Love2Run programme has been successful in many ways. It has increased the profile of the Club in the local area; it has enabled more people to get into running and sustain their interest; it has increased the membership of the Club; it has increased the diversity of the club e.g. more women, more people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds as well as an increase in non-competitive participants and finally, it has helped the number of Club volunteers grow.

Many Love2Run graduates have carried on running with the Club due to the friendly atmosphere and to work towards other goals. For some, it is has been to continue getting fitter; for others, it has been to enter more competitive races and improve speed while some have wanted to work towards specific goals like running a half marathon or marathon. Indeed, several of our Love2Run graduates have now completed half marathons and another (Steph Rashbrook) completed the London Marathon in April 2016 representing the Club.

The success of Love2Run is down to the hard work of everyone in the Club, making it a welcoming environment as people make the bold step to engage in or return to physical activity. However, special mention has to go to our volunteer Run Leaders and assistants, without whom we could not continue to deliver this programme.

Sue Unsworth

Love2Run Coordinator

Nov 2016.