Running Groups In South Yorkshire

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There are numerous informal running groups across South Yorkshire - some are based at running stores, others at health and fitness clubs, while a few are just groups of workplace or college friends. If you’d like to list your group please get in touch with us here.
 

Donnys Divas

 
Organised in a more formal way but still providing a relaxed introduction to running is Run England. The project is really blossoming around the country and is well represented in South Yorkshire. 
 
See list below but also check out www.runengland.org to find out about new venues, up-to-date meeting times and contact details.

Donny Divas founder and run leader Karen Gregory tells runABC North why, despite the name, anyone can be a Diva…

When Karen first started running on her lunch breaks at Doncaster College, where she lectures, her colleagues started casting envious glances her way: “Some would simply say, ‘What are you doing?’ but others would shout ‘I wish I could run!’ And I’d tell them that anyone can run. I decided to set up Donny Divas so they could do just that.”

Though the group was originally started for college workers, it’s grown to include members from outside the college. “They’re not all from work! We have Ali who’s 13-years-old and the daughter of one of the technicians at the college and there’s also Rob who’s the partner of a lecturer.”

When asked how Rob felt as a man being classed as a ‘Diva’, Karen explains why you needn’t be female to become a member. “We needed a name and at the time of forming we were all women. I thought Donny Divas had a nice ring to it and, you know what? If you’re male or female it doesn’t matter. You can still be a Diva! We have two or three men who run with us so you definitely won’t feel out of place as a man.”

With a young teenage member, it’s clear that the group also has an inclusive approach when it comes to age. “The age range at the group is quite wide. The youngest is 13 and the oldest is about 60.”

Karen thinks running acts as a great leveller, regardless of age, occupation, or gender. “Everyone’s equal when they’re running, which I love. So you’ll have a lecturer, a teaching assistant and a cleaner all running together. It allows you to meet people you maybe wouldn’t normally meet.”

Many of the group’s members go on to run in races but Karen stresses it’s entirely up to the individual: “The goal initially is to be able to run for three miles. Everyone’s different though. Some go on to enter half marathons others never do a race. I don’t put pressure on anyone.”

A group of Donny Divas took part in the Great North Run last year, raising £7000 for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. For one member, it looked like his chances of completing the race were all but gone after suffering a serious injury prior to the event. “Rob broke his legs three weeks before the race. But because he’d put in the training we thought he should still do it. So we pushed him for 12 miles then he walked for the last one.”

So what about the social side of the group? “We’re definitely very sociable. We’ll do sessions where some people will drop off after three miles, some after six and others after ten. After you drop off you’ll go for a coffee. So it just means the earlier you drop off the longer you stay having a coffee. Some people aren’t able to socialise outside of running due to schedules. But it’s important to realise that running itself is a social activity. You inevitably get chatting to others when running.”

If you’re interested in getting social with Donny Divas, Karen holds beginner sessions on Tuesday evenings and more advanced sessions on Wednesday evenings. For more information, search for Donny Divas on runengland.info

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