Given the current Covid restrictions, the running club will be based online for the foreseeable future but people right across the community can join by downloading the Strava app, searching for ‘Yare Valley Churches Running Club’ and then clicking to join.
Strava allows you track your runs distances and times (amongst other things) and within the group the hope is that together members can encourage one another and that conversations will emerge.
Speaking about the club, the Revd Peter Leech said:
“Already the running club has opened up conversations with people who are not yet connected into worship, but are now connecting into the church through the running club. Whilst continuing to support people’s wellbeing, we’re looking forward to the time when the running club can meet physically.”
The running club is the brainchild of Tom Woods, the Sports Minister within the Yare Valley Churches and whose work involves a more strategic focus helping the parish engage with the community through sports. The post is funded and supported through the diocese’s Church Planting and Revitalisation programme. Speaking about his new role with the parish, Tom said:
“I’m extremely passionate about connecting sports with faith, being involved with sport is common ground for so many people and so is a great basis to build relationships from, it opens doors to so many conversations and can have such a positive effect on peoples lives. Already seeing God at work within this benefice through sports work and the running club in particular has been incredibly encouraging and I’m really excited for what God has planned for the future.”
Off the back of setting the club up there has also been interest in other forms of exercise such as cycling, walking and swimming. In view of this they have set up another Strava club which is inclusive of a much wider range of sports. Tom said:
“Whether you’re an aspiring Adam Peaty, Chris Froome or Katarina Johnson-Thompson or just enjoy walking your dog round the park everyone can be involved!”
This wider club is called ‘YVC Athletes’ and can be viewed at https://www.strava.com/clubs/yvcathletes
If you are interested in setting up a virtual running or fitness club for your area, Tom would be willing to help. It’s a way that we can keep connected with the community during the lockdown. You can contact Tom on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07788 340613.