Women's Running Club - HELP!

Looking to set up a running club and need some help!

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08/12/2011 at 11:48

After reading about the Women's Running Group of the year, I am looking to set up a Women's Running Club in the Newcastle Upon Tyne area and was wondering if there are any fellow runners out there that can give me any advice or comments on setting up a running club? If anyone is in the Newcastle area please get in touch


08/12/2011 at 11:57

Hi Danielle,

 I'm in the process of setting up a running club in Birmingham that will start in January. I found that Run England are really helpful and there have many ways to help and support you in setting up the club. I would recommend doing a leadership course if you haven't already as then you are CRB checked and have the backing of UK Athletics. I did the Leadership in Running Fitness course and it was only £90.

Oh and I decided to start it in January to hopefully ensnare all those people New Year Resolutions! Depending on the number of people that come along and the levels that they are at i'm going to be starting off the beginners on a couch to 5k plan and if there are any people that are slightly more advanced I will either have a second group or incorporate regrouping tactics into the runs. Provisionally I am looking to hold it twice a week with the hope that the members will try to get out and run themselves once at the weekend but all of this is provisional until I know how many people want to come and when they are available.

Hope that helps!


08/12/2011 at 12:03

Thats great thanks! I'd be really interested to hear how you get on with that. Do you have a twitter or group page I can follow  to see how you get on? How did you market the club and get the word out?



08/12/2011 at 12:08

Here is the link for the group page on facebook Aston University Running Club.

So far I am just on facebook and hopefully utilising some university wide emails to get people involved. Run England have also said that once my CRB comes through and I get my licence they will advertise the group and hand out flyers/put up posters etc. There is a nationwide push to get people running and setting up groups so now is definitely the time to go to them for help and advice. Run England

08/12/2011 at 12:15
Fantastic thank you! I'll have a look on their website now
08/12/2011 at 12:43

Would you think it OK to be told you're not allowed to join a club just because you're a woman?

08/12/2011 at 12:50
Think I just heard a can of worms opening
08/12/2011 at 13:20

Haha I think you did!

I currently run in a mixed group and really enjoy it but after speaking to lots of different women local to me I have found that there are quite a few of them reluctant to join a mixed running club due to confidence levels and feeling intimidated by men. As long as there were reasons behind why it was men or women only I think I would feel ok with that Wilkie.

08/12/2011 at 13:28

So why not have a womens section within a larger club, Where the women can run as a group, But get the benefit from a larger pool of people ?

Would you manage to get a woman to join your group if her husband / partner / lover couldn't join ? Wouldn't they be more likely to join  a group they could be togher in ?

08/12/2011 at 14:19
Thats a good point thanks Dave, I had never thought of that option. Great idea thanks
08/12/2011 at 14:47

It doesn't sit well with me.

You can't logically say men are not allowed to exclude women because that's discrimination, but say that it's OK for women to exclude men because they're doing it for the right reasons.

It makes me think of Animal Farm:  All animals are equal - but some are more equal than others.

08/12/2011 at 16:54

There are already several clubs in Newcastle including my own - why not join an existing club, we have a large and very successful ladies section who can train separately if they choose. But most ladies I know prefer mixed training, especially during the dark winter nights,once they get over the initial shyness.


08/12/2011 at 17:09

"quite a few of them reluctant to join a mixed running club due to confidence levels and feeling intimidated by men"

Because as we all know, men are leering, letching, drooling BEASTS who prey on poor, trembling little girlies.

OH FFS, they should understand that 1) the vast majority of men are actually normal and supportive human beings who will welcome them to the club, 2) it is not a gender thing because (gasp!) women can be nasty too, you know, and 3) nobody else really cares if their bum is too big or their tits are wobbly etc etc and they should stop being so self-centred and precious and finally, 4) if they have these hang-ups they should confront them, not pander to them.

As a man I find this assumption that I and others are intimidating to be, frankly, laughable. I would find it offensive gender stereotyping but I can't be arsed.

<And breathe, breathe again, rant mode off now>

08/12/2011 at 20:45
What if someone wanted to form a white only running club? It's ok it's down to lack of confidence and being intimidated by the "Darkies"
08/12/2011 at 21:05

Muttley - I think the confidence issue is more one of not being a good enough runner, not being able to keep up with the men.

When I started running with my club about 6 or 7 first timers all came along, all women. We were all worried about not being good enough, not being able to run fast enough to keep up, not being able to run far enough and finding it too much.

After a couple of weeks I was the only one left - yes I shared those fears.

The club has had to adress the fact that many women, although want to run, just don't get out there and run much. We have a womens group who meet up and run shorter distances at a slower pace. They train together and motivate each other. I doubt that they'd object to men joining them it's just that the men don't seem to want to.

08/12/2011 at 22:05

That's a brilliant idea Danielle! I'd love to do something like that for women. I rarely get to socialise with groups of new women so would be fantastic

seren nos    pirate
08/12/2011 at 22:34
our running club run in groups of pace never of sex.......we have a mixture of man and women in the slow groups......
GM...if 6 or 7 started together then I imagine that the others stopped coming for personal reasons rather than the men...if they didn't feel happy in a large group of new women together than I can't see them being happy in an all woman group.....

I can't say that the women in out club run shorter than the men.........just the slower runners often run shorter than the faster ones..........
but then I love my club as its so friendly to all
09/12/2011 at 10:36

I couldn't ask for a nicer group of men to run with than my male club mates - and some of them are (even) slower than me.... 

They are kind, supportive and good humoured. 

Human nature being what it is, I'm sure there are some out there who are not - but as Muttley points out, not all women are paragons of niceness!

16/12/2011 at 16:18
This is a real can of worms - there is a guy who is on a crusade to make the Cancer Research UK Race for Life mixed gender events.

I find it really rather odd that women feel intimidated by men - I'd actually feel more intimidated by the better women! In our running club we have what we call a "sedate six" group on our club night and although there is usually a majority of women in that group (running around 6 miles at between 8.5-11 minute mile pace) there are plenty of guys who join in from time to time as well. I enjoy running with both men and women and can point to one of the guys in particular who was very welcoming when I joined the club about a year ago and it's squarely down to him that I have improved so much this year.

I enjoy ladies-only events and it's nice to finish well up the list (eg I came 23rd out of around 200 women at one ladies-only 10k, but at another (mixed) 10k where I was 17th woman I was 167th or something overall, which is a bit depressing), but I wouldn't be broken hearted if I didn't do any more.

As for the notion that men leer at women running. I really don't think so - we don't look that attractive when we're hot, sweaty and panting
Edited: 16/12/2011 at 16:19
16/12/2011 at 18:59

I am not in a running club but purely due to odd working times and not due to feeling intimidated by men (I am considering joining London serpentines). I can understand why some women would be anxious about joining a mixed club with a much higher percentage of males, though it would be more a fear of not being able to keep up and ending up having to drop out of finish alone. I think this is less of an issue with large clubs than with small clubs as the larger ones can have pace groups. I have seen similar in cycling clubs, the alrger clubs tend to get quite alot of women as they can join pace groups whereas the smaller ones have either very very few women or none atall.

 I went for a ride with Bristol South CC when I went to visit my parents as I fancied a good ride and didnt know any decent routes, I was the only woman and I dont think they have any female members and they were extremely friendly and welcoming and if I move back there I will join them. I think most women would be pleasantly surprised by how welcoming mixed sex clubs are if they actually went along.

 I have been in a few Ta units and one of which was commando roled and so pretty macho, all the women who joined eventually left as it was not a pleasant environment to be in as a female and they did make inappropriate comments and take the piss out of the girls who were not very fast or strong, they made it quite clear that they did not really want any females in the unit so yes a male dominated environment can be intimidating and unpleasant for women but I have not experienced that type of macho environment through sport. After events I never look at my overall placing just how I placed out of the women, I am not competeing against men. If I do join a running club it would most likely be a mixed sex club mostly so I could meet a larger variety of people as I think sports clubs are just as much for social as they are for training, men may not find women attractive when they are running but I like a man in lycra!

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