Clubs In The North-East

The North East has a great network of running clubs both in the region’s cities and towns and in more rural areas - a mixture of well-known names and more recent arrivals. Check out our list of North East running clubs below.
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Ashington Hirst Running Club is one of the newest UK Athletics affiliated club in the north east. runABC North spoke to founder Iain Singer to find out more about the latest addition to the region…

Ashington Hirst runners

How did the club get started?
I was chairman at Blythe Runners when John Stacey, the local rep for England Athletics, approached me about setting up a group in Ashington over a year ago. It was pure coincidence then when I spoke to Hirst Welfare Centre (leisure centre in Ashington), I found out they had a three-year-plan that involved setting up an affiliated running club. I joined forces with them and we ended up doing it within a year!

How did you manage this?
Mainly through contacts. We have a lot of wonderful members who are keen as mustard. They all brought along their friends and quickly we had two groups and it grew and grew.

Where and when do you meet?
At Hirst Welfare Centre on Tuesdays 6:30pm for a 2-3 mile route suited to all abilities (walking included). Then at 7:30pm on Tuesday there’s an effort session, designed to improve speed. This is open to all, including beginners as it’s relevant to personal pace. On Thursdays 6:30pm we have another 2-3 mile route for all abilities and on Fridays at 7:30pm we have a 4-6 mile route.

What events are you involved in?
My background is in club running – I’ve run over 40 marathons. I’ve been involved in the Druridge Bay Charity Run. We have also arranged a few non-running events – a nutritional evening, pilates etc. We’re now hoping to get two club races set up and a club championship. One possible location is a 5k round our local park. Its two laps make up about 5k so it’s perfect. We’ll initially trial it as a club championship and if it works out we’ll open up to the public.

Are you involved in your local parkrun?
We are. A lot of our members go along to Druridge Bay parkrun, both running and marshalling. We’re intending to take over the marshalling of it the day before the Great North Run so that should be interesting. I’m sure we’ll be kept pretty busy. I’m also involved in North East Marathons who arrange marathons/half marathons around the north east/ Northumberland. We’re going to be doing a marathon in Northumberland. Our favourite distances are 5ks and 10ks as they’re relatively easy to train for.  A lot of our members have young families so they’re good events to get others involved in.

Where do you run?
We regularly go from Ashington to past Wansbeck River where you can see the local rowing club training and it’s very pleasant. Another of our routes goes past Bothal, which is a typically historical Northumberland town. It’s quite hilly/undulating so good if you’re wanting to do hill training. Slightly further we like going over to Alnmouth which features a lovely run along the beach. It’s the same place the Northumberland Coastal Run is held.

Is there a strong social element to the club?
There is. We always enjoy celebrating anniversaries. For example, one month after we became affiliated we had a meal to celebrate. Then we had another meal to celebrate the year anniversary. We’re also going ten-pin bowling and will have a Christmas party too.

Tell us about the club’s links with Ashington College ...
Northumberland Active got in touch with me to set up a group for female teachers and students at Ashington College.  Most of our run leaders are female, as it happens, so it’s ideal.  The great thing about being a new club is everything is new so there’s nothing to go off. You’re not stuck in your ways and can do exactly what members want you to.

Article featured in runABC North Nov/Dec 2015