Running Groups in Lancashire
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Focus on Darwen Dashers
Billing themselves as ‘the finest running club in Darwen. Beyond doubt.’ It’s clear Darwen Dashers aren’t lacking in confidence, or a sense of humour. Chairman, Jonathan Stubbs, tells us more…
When did the club form?
In 1990 – a group of six guys with a passion for running decided to form a club and it’s grown from there.
How many members?
The numbers go up and down but right now we have about 140 members.
What ages and abilities?
40 and falling. We don’t have a junior section but family members are welcome. One of the founding member’s grandsons is a member as it happens. Though he’s 20 years old so definitely not a junior.
We’re a very social club so everyone’s welcome. We have a beginners group run by six qualified Run England leaders. They take a ten-week course and at the end of the course the members all take part in a parkrun. Being able to complete a 5k is a great way to demonstrate the real improvement shown from people, some of whom have never run before. Most of those runners progress to becoming full members of the club.
Where and when do you meet?
At the Sunnyhurst pub on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm. Our beginners group meets on a Wednesday at 6:30pm at Darwen Leisure Centre. Our sessions vary in distance according to ability and we train in various places including Winter Hill, Pendle Hill and the Darwen Moors. Most members also participate in our club championships across the country, but primarily in the North West. Fell running in Rossendale is popular too.
What big events do you organise?
We have Aggies Staircase on 18 June and David Staff Memorial on 29 November, run in memory of a member who died from an undiagnosed heart defect The clubs also hosts Tockholes Evening on 2 July. Finally, this one’s a bit special - Mr Sparkle’s Dark Un. It’s a head torch race so is held at night and includes a free chip butty afterwards.
What other events are you involved with?
There are several fell races in the area we organise. Our members also take part in various parkruns. We have about 80 people doing parkruns regularly, which is a fantastic turnout. We hold a monthly event where we measure members’ improvement along a route. The person who’s improved the most - not necessarily the fastest - wins a prize. You find that those new to the club improve the most, whereas more experienced runners find it tougher to win that particular prize.
We also host something called Guessathon which is good fun. We choose a destination and route, with each member having to guess how long it will take them to run it. The person who’s closest to their guess is the winner. We also take part in cross-country events such as the Red Rose Championships.
Tell me about the club’s magazine
We produce a monthly magazine called the Dash. It’s available through our website but you can also get a hard copy. It’s got lots of great details about our races and also features race reports. We’re always keen to have new runners write reports about our events!
For more information on Darwen Dashers, go to www.dashers.org.uk
Interview featured in runABC North July-August 2015