Over 200 local men and women aged from 17 to 70 have taken up running thanks to a unique fitness club – and helped raise money for The Hospice of St Francis at the same time.
“It’s a win, win! Everyone who signs up gets fit whilst also raising funds,“ explained Heather Harris who, together with fellow qualified Coach Erica Carter, set up The Jog On Hospice Beginners Running Club three years ago.
“We never dreamt it would prove this popular! What people seem to enjoy is the emphasise on fun and supporting each other. Jog On is non-competitive and we firmly believe that the social aspect of our groups is a huge motivator,” Erica added.
Anyone can join the Couch to 5k course for a donation of £50 to the Berkhamsted based charity which helps local people facing serious illness to live their precious lives well. The group meets weekly for training sessions and is given homework runs to complete each week. At the end of nine weeks the entire group joins an organised 5km parkrun.
Their daytime groups train around Berkhamsted and Ashridge in the Chiltern Hills. So far, £11,000 has been raised for the Hospice and many of the group have graduated onto Jog On’s next stages – their Improvers, 10k and Half Marathon courses.
Two ladies who started as beginners have gone on to run full marathons! The response from local GPs has been very positive too as they recognise advantages of fresh air to exercise and wellbeing.
As Sarah-Randell Davies explains, “I joined Jog On at a really difficult time in my life. I suffer with depression and anxiety but being outdoors, meeting new people, making friends and getting fitter has made so much difference to me. Two years on and I feel like a completely different person!”
A view echoed by Mark David, “I joined as I wanted to get fit and the thought of helping to raise money for The Hospice of St Francis who had cared for my late wife motivated me to start running. Being outside, challenging myself and making a new group of friends has improved my life in ways I didn’t anticipate when I signed up for the Couch to 5K course. Running and Jog On have become an important part of my life and I feel so much better for it.”
Jog On is also affiliated to the Hospice Running Club which meets weekly on a Wednesday morning to run in exchange for a donation to the Hospice. The two groups combined have raised nearly £25k to date.
Heather Harris, commented, “Our focus is definitely on fitness with a smile and we welcome absolutely anyone to join us. We guarantee that not only will you run further and further each week, but you will make new friends and feel better about yourself by the end of the course!”
Kate Phipps-Wiltshire, CEO of the Hospice, added, “At the Hospice we’re all about encouraging people to live their precious lives well and running is one way to do that. We love the support Jog on and the Hospice Running club have given us, inspiring local people, promoting health and fitness and fun and friendship whilst supporting our care. Here’s to lots of Jog-onners signing up for the new term in January.”
The next Beginners Course starts on Tuesday 22 January. There are also other courses available throughout the week for more advanced runners Find out more at www.jogonrunning.com.