Supporting the running club for staff UHBW.

The Bristol and Weston NHS Runners staff running club was started in November 2019 with the aim of improving UHBW staff fitness and mental health through exercise. The club is open to all staff and associated workers (students, contract staff), as well as all levels of fitness and experience.

Funding for the club from Above & Beyond was secured in early 2020 which enabled the club to obtain registration with the ARC, seek training for club leaders, maintain the club’s internet presence and purchase running tops for club members.

Having finally completed couch to 5k after several attempts, I didn’t want to lose my momentum over winter, so I joined the running club for motivation. On cold dark nights I’d have never run on my own, but the support and enthusiasm from the run club really kept me going - even in the pouring rain! It’s been such a wonderful boost to both my mental and physical health. Massive thanks to mark for setting it up and keeping us going!”

Helena – Consultant Radiologist

Club activities

The BRI branch of the club meet at the hospital every Monday at 5:30pm and complete a 5k run down to the harbourside and back. The club meet once a month on a Sunday morning to complete a longer run at different venues around Bristol with a coffee and a chat thereafter.

The Weston group meet at Weston hospital each Sunday morning and run a variety of 5k routes around the area. Again members often stop for a coffee and a chat after the run.

Covid-19

During lockdown the club has gone virtual with members posting activities to the club WhatsApp group or email account on club run days in order to log a ‘club run’. In an attempt to ensure club members remain healthy, safe and well supported by the club community during the pandemic, all exercise activities are accepted (runs, cycles, home workouts, long walks, yoga).

Membership

Since the club’s inception 128 members of staff have requested to join the club. Of those, 81 members have attended club runs or posted activities virtuallt.

Since the clubs first meeting, members have completed a total of 920 activities.

Publicity

The club was featured in the September 2020 edition of Runner’s World magazine after club organiser Mark Alder wrote to the magazine highlighting the positive impact running was having on club members during lockdown.

After the club’s coverage in Runner’s World magazine, organisers were approached by other individuals looking to set up similar projects at Trusts across the UK (London, Glasgow, Derby, Nottingham). The most successful of these was our colleagues at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, who have also secured funding for their club and launched UHDB Running Club earlier this year.

As part of the BBC’s focus on key workers, the club was invited to be part of the virtual studio audience for the 2020 Sports Personality of the Year. Club members ‘attended’ from their own homes with many being featured on the panel of faces making the backing for the live studio coverage.

I joined in September 2020 and it was one of the most beneficial things I did during the COVID pandemic for my mental and physical health. I was really impressed by how friendly the group was and how well organised and motivating it was for runners of ALL abilities, in that nobody felt excluded or left behind. When the group went online due to lockdown rules the same sense of camaraderie persisted and it was such a support for me - especially during an period of injury."

Vanessa – Research Centre Manager

Find out more about joining the club

Apply for Above & Beyond funding

Make a donation and you can help support the wellbeing of NHS staff in Bristol.