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Rochford Running Club


Meets at Rochford Adult Community College,

Rocheway , Rochford, SS4 1DQ


Jacqui Knowles 0794 401 2306

Debbie Mowle 0797 918 5201








Sports Organisations   
Rochford Running Club

(A  Card Received)

To Debbie,
Just wanted to say a big thank you for all the support you have shown me over the past 10 weeks. You’ve made the whole experience so memorable and enjoyable. The confidence and self belief you have given me is amazing and I cannot quite believe how far I have come.

Maybe this might be you
one day?
Interview with Debbie Mowle (Chair) and Jacqui  Knowles (Secretary) of Rochford Running Club (14th Sept. 2012)

Rochford Running Club is a ‘new kid on the block’ of Rochford but which has grown amazingly in this year. For the sake of ease, although Debbie and Jacqui flowed backwards and forwards in the conversation, both sharing equally, in the interview that follows, we will simply identify them together as Rochford Running Club (RRC). We hope you will find it as interesting as we did, and for some of you, perhaps, a doorway into a new world!

RL:  Since the Olympics, has the word gone out that running is the thing to do?
RRC: It seems to be but the difference with us is that we seem to have found a gap in the market. Although there are the big running clubs, what we picked up is that there is nobody to start you out, for people who do not run, and who probably do not exercise, but want to know how to start. That is the hardest bit, so initially we have taken them from not running in up to twelve weeks where they can do three or four miles, and we’ve done that very successfully.      
RL: How long have you been doing this?
RRC: Since the Spring. We’ve had sixty on two beginners’ courses so far and we have thirty three people starting with us tomorrow.  In the beginning we really didn’t know where it was going to go. We had a few people say to us, we’d like to start running but we’re not really sure how to and it escalated from there and we set up a beginners’ group over twelve weeks, starting back in March,  and we’ve been overwhelmed with the interest. We found ourselves with a waiting list so we did another one, and once they graduated so to speak, it was a case of where do they go from here, because we now had them running three miles but they still didn’t want to go on to the big professional clubs, so where do they go from here – hence Rochford Running Club was born. We already knew a big group of runners locally who just used to meet up in the streets and run but never actually had a group as such to run with, and Rochford Running Club was just born.
RL: You are both runners. How long have you been running?
RRC: I’ve run all my life (Debbie), even since I was five or six I remember running round the block with my dad. Many years ago I belonged to Ilford Athletics Club, but then when you start working, have a family, I couldn’t run competitively because there was no time, but I’ve always carried on running myself  and then about two or three years ago I started running and doing races again and that’s how it’s developed.  I’m new to it (Jacqui). I started seven years ago and I came to it much later in life and I started on a twelve week beginners’ course and then three years later was handed a marathon place and I thought this is a chance of a lifetime and so did that, and then half marathons, and last year Debbie and I ran for the Haven’s Marathon team. We went on training, and round the same time we thought we’d get a qualification in training. Although we had a lot of expertise in running over the year we didn’t have an official qualification, and so via UK Athletics we did the initial training which is called Leadership in Running Fitness, and that entitles you to be able to take groups of people out and teach them, which is what we’ve been doing, and now we’re looking to do the next level of coaching training in Rochford Running Club. We’ve got various people with different expertise.       

RL: Does this suggest that not everyone can take a group out running?
RRC:  Well one issue is the matter of insurance. We are covered by our qualifications through ‘Run England’, so if you did take a group of people out and they got injured then potentially there is the chance for people to sue you. Obviously now, our insurance covers us. It also gives us the guidance and training as well and we have a wealth of information that we can draw on. The training teaches us about stretching and setting injuries, but when we talk about Rochford Running Club, it’s not just the two of us, it’s also Jon Brown and Greg Stubbs who are involved and they are qualified personal trainers and they bring a different aspect to the club. They have, effectively, a higher and different qualification, but since the formation of the club we are all looking to get further qualifications in coaching so that we can bring the runners on further. It’s not only our beginners who have progressed but we’re getting lots of different runners from the area with lots of different abilities. We’ve only been running officially as Rochford Running Club for three months so far and we have 104 members on Facebook.

RL: That’s very successful!
RRC: Yes, that’s right. I think the thing that has made us successful is that it is a club of such mixed abilities, starting from the beginners. We try to be very caring so when we run we have someone at the back, someone at the front and someone in the middle, checking the needs of the different abilities. We have our first band of runners who are going to do the Southend 10K  on the 7th October and quite a few of them running have come from our Beginners’ Course in March and April and we’re really proud of them, because for a lot of them it will be their first ever race, the first competitive thing they have done. We have taken them from 30 second running and so now they will effectively be running probably for an hour and a quarter non-stop.

RL: That’s a tremendous change!
RRC: Well, yes, but there is also a change in lifestyle. The majority of people who come to us don’t exercise; you get a few who do but the majority don’t, so it becomes a whole change in their perspective on life; most of them now are exercising three times a week. The card we’ve shown you is an example of how people feel about exercise and running and the change it has brought them. We did an evaluation after the running courses and the comments we had were amazing.        

RL: You appear to have come on in leaps and bounds!
RRC: The thing is that hardly anybody knows about it. We’ve only been here a little while and we’re about to get our tee-shirts printed up. We went out running last night and there were twenty five or twenty six of us running. Most of the beginners who come to us are looking for some measure of fitness and potentially to lose weight, those sort of things that are key in people’s lives at the moment.  What we didn’t expect is that the buzz that we two get from running, helping us in our daily lives with stresses and all the other sort of things you get in modern daily life,  our new people start to feel that after week three or week four. It was almost instant and they say, I feel so much better in myself. They get a new confidence because, bearing in mind generally most don’t do any fitness and we start them in week one on thirty-second running, by week four or five they have generally been running for eight or ten minutes, and it is a confidence booster and mentally they feel stronger.

RL: There seem to be a number of beneficial spin-offs to running?
RRC: Well one of them running with me the other day said, it’s a community, you’ve developed a community, and it is. Without realising it, it is. We have a Facebook page and people communicate on there. For instance, I’m going out for a run tonight, anyone fancy joining me, or anybody got any good ideas about a good running watch, or I’ve got a bit of a niggly knee, what do you advise, and people talk all the time on Facebook. It’s not just us helping them; one of them will say, I had a really bad run and I don’t think I can get out tonight and then, before we can say anything, the others are jumping in with, don’t worry you’ll be all right, I’ll come out with you next time and so on.   

Continue to Part 2 of this article

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