So here we are, one year on from the launch of Trail Snails and what a year it’s been. So for this post, I’m going to look back at our achievements over the last 12 months.
It was back in 2017 when I first had this crazy idea that I’d start a run group. My running was going really well and I was coming home from races with trophies, but couldn’t help feeling that there was something missing. Unfortunately, in a cruel twist of fate, I became very ill at the end of 2017 and spent the next 6 months in and out of hospital. I had three operations which were all unsuccessful and the consultants went back to the drawing board. I decided that Trail Snails would now become more of a “legacy” in case something happened to me. I can take all my medals and trophies to my grave but then what?! So I wanted to set something up which would get people into running and help the community. I wanted it to be able to keep going in my absence, should anything happen to me.
Of course, I couldn’t pull off this crazy idea on my own. So in an important business meeting, in Costa, I told my good friend Dan about this idea. Many more important business meetings in Costa took place, and then we finally had a plan for Trail Snails. We went on a run leaders course, in fact, the course was just 2 weeks after my second operation, and it was most uncomfortable. But we cracked on regardless.
Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that starting a run group would be as simple as just turning up and running with a group of people. But nope… There’s the route planning, health and safety risk assessments, updating the RunTogether website, managing the social media and email accounts, and of course organising cake. Quite a lot for a “hobby” which is done voluntary alongside working full time! But absolutely worth every second of the hard work.
Trail Snails launched at the end of May 2018. Myself and Dan would laugh to ourselves at the thought of just 2 people turning up to the sessions, which we fully expected to happen. But this was far from the reality. The first couch to 5K programme launched in the June and we held social running sessions too, for those who were already running and just wanted to come along and chat with no pressure. In no time at all, Trail Snails was massive!
In the past 12 months, we have held 3 Couch to 5K programmes with around 100 people graduating in total. Most of those still running and loving it.
We have had over 300 people book on to sessions and run with us. Most still come along to the sessions, whether it be once a month, once a week, or every single session (‘Snails groupies!).
We recently held our 200th group session. Yes, we have held over 200 sessions of running as a group! We celebrated by going to parkrun and eating cake and drinking prosseco. Standard ‘Snails behaviour really.
Last Christmas we all took part in Secret Santa and all the presents were donated to Airedale General Hospital to those spending Christmas in hospital. We ended up donated 5 huge sacks of presents…
In Feb 2019, We held a takeover of Myrtle parkrun where we baked more cake than Mary Berry…
In December 2018, we were RunTogether’s “Group of the Month” because, well, just because we are so awesome and members within the group had nominated us…
Last year, we won an England Athletics award for “volunteers of the year” Yorkshire and Humber region. Again, recognition for being totally awesome!
We recently applied for funding and got it, so we now have an extra three awesome run leaders to help with the ever expanding group…
Of course, a big achievement is the is the progress of each and every runner. Some have really pushed themselves to limits they never thought possible, and it has been absolutely amazing to watch.
But by far, the best thing we’ve achieved is bringing people together to share a love of running and build fantastic friendships. The support which everyone shows each other is really brilliant to see and makes us very proud to think that this all started from a crazy idea in Costa.
Here’s what some of the group had to say about what Trail Snails Bingley means to them;
“A sense of belonging and achievement. I may not talk much but it’s nice to be part of a group. ” – Gez Stone
“Friendship and laughter! The promise of cake is always a bonus. ” – Lidia Gallucci
“Companionship and motivation to keep at it, from the support of some lovely running friends. As well as a sense that we’re all in it together for similar reasons. ” – Theresa Wraith
“Support and friendship. The group has such a positive vibe with everyone encouraging each other all the time. It has helped me believe I can go further than I thought I could.” – Julie Patterson
“Support, encouragement, motivation, inspiration and friendship.” – Jo Milne
“It means I actually go running! Without the social runs, I’d find it hard to motivate myself.” – Charlotte Dean
“Cake, coffee, cheerful, challenge and a good chief!” – Dominique Warner
“Support, motivation, encouragement and friendship. Without this group, I would still only be doing parkrun.” – Nicola Middleton
“My re-set button in a busy life! Motivating, persisting and achieving together.” – Katie Florence
“Motivation to keep fit and healthy with a lovely group of people.” – Wendy Bedell
“Friendships, motivation to keep fit and healthy, and I can now say I’m a runner who eats cake!” – Jeanette Bolton
“Definitely motivation and really genuinely lovely people.” – Julie Deacon
“Made me fall back in love with running! Friendly and fun, great leaders who inspire and challenge with no pressure or expectations. Just fab!” – Jennie Houldsworth
“Gives me head space in some lovely outdoor scenery, with fabulous people who you can just enjoy running with… And of course eating cake when the hard work is done!” – Steph Laycock
“It gives me motivation to run and keep training. Met some lovely people.” – Victoria Burrows
“Running together as a group keeps me motivated and listening to other people’s achievements with the group is amazing, and of course we have great run leaders.” – Julie Burns
Here’s to another 12 months of being awesome, eating lots of cake and doing a bit of running 🙂