Back in April, marathon runner Scott Allen decided to start up a running club in his local town of Plymouth. Four months on, the club has attracted more than 169 people, nearly all of whom (90%) are female.
Scott started the club by putting out a post on Facebook. “Six days later I had 17 people signed up,” Scott explains.
The club, which is aimed at beginners, attracted a real cross-section of budding runners from the local community, with an age range spanning those from as young as 16 to those over 50.
“We have people join to lose weight and make friends, to have a purpose, sometimes just to get out of the house – there are a lot of mums in the group,” says Scott.
The club, named ‘Storm Running’, meet two evenings a week and run around three miles, while also learning about their technique and posture.
“As they get fitter we move them up, they graduate to a medium school and leave the nest. But we hope to run more groups,” says Scott. He adds:
“In Storm there is unity and support, we never leave anyone behind.”
The club now has a badge, a purple kit, and four members have now achieved the Leadership in Running qualification. Thirty-six of the club’s members are now in training for their first race – the Torbay Royal Regatta 10K.
With Scott as their coach and leader, it’s unsurprising that the Storm runners have become so inspired by the sport and what they can achieve.
The 34-year-old shop worker from Whitleigh decided to start the club after undergoing life-saving heart surgery two years ago, involving doctors replacing a valve in his heart with one taken from a cow.
After this remarkable surgery, Scott completed his first marathon last year, in aid of the British Heart Foundation, and has since completed a further seven marathons. Scott has set himself the target of running 20 international marathons.
Storm is an official group under Run England, the official England Athletics recreational running project, which aims to get the nation running. Scott hopes to have Storm affiliated to sport’s governing body UK Athletics by April 2016.