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Each fortnight, SCAN brings you an exclusive inside peek at one of our fantastic sports clubs. Read about what they get up to, and get the latest on how they are representing Lancaster in competitive sport around the country. This issue, SCAN interviewed President Matt Mann to find out all about Running Club.
Running has to be one of the most accessible sports on campus. If you have a pair of trainers, you can run. Whether you want to get into competitive racing, or just want to burn off those post-Sugar takeaway pizzas, head down to Running Club.
The club meets twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, gathering above Pendle Bar. Runners are split into a number of training groups based on ability, catering for the Mo Farah’s of this world, as well as casual runners. Training also takes a variety of forms, such as tempo runs, fartlek, and interval training; designed to keep things fun, but also to improve performance.
At weekends, the club travels as far afield as Liverpool, Barrow and Accrington to compete in races, as part of the Mid-Lancashire Cross Country League. These races are typically 10 kilometers in distance, often tackling undulating and technical courses. The league is split into a number of divisions, with the men’s and women’s teams currently competing in the third and fourth division respectively. Members also compete in races outside the league, for example in the BUCS Cross Country, the Lancashire Cup, and of course…Roses.
Outside of competitive racing, the club also raised over £1000 last year for a local charity supporting disabled children, when 13 members covered all 170 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington in under 24 hours. Mann states that whilst the event was “a gruelling experience with plenty of challenges, we showed our strength in pulling through for such a great cause.” This hugely impressive feat exemplifies the friendly, kind-hearted culture that clearly exists within the club.
When asked what makes Running Club unique, Mann points to the fact that the club caters for runners of all abilities. “I think we are one of the only clubs whose members range from complete beginners to experienced racers competing at a top level.” Whilst racing is clearly an important aspect of Running Club, many members are less competitive and are more interested in keeping fit. The social aspect of the club is also hugely important to members. When motivation to go out and pound the streets starts to wane, the thought of going for a run with some mates is always more appealing than heading out on your own.
In terms of results, Mann proudly notes that last year was one of the most successful in the club’s history. The men’s team was promoted up to the third tier of the Mid-Lancashire Cross Country league, a feat that had never been done before. The women also had a strong season, achieving their highest ever finish, helped in particular by some strong performances by Laura Lewis, Kaylea Haynes and Tilly McCarthy. Outside of the league, the club also secured victory in the Lancashire cup, in both the women’s and men’s races.
The current season has also started with a flourish, with the men currently sitting joint top of their division, and the women also placing strongly. Success has also come in a number of local races outside of the league, including a team prize victory in the Pilling 10K.
Like most teams on Campus, the highlight of the club’s sporting calendar is likely to be the fierce battle with York, as part of Roses. Both Universities will race over a circuit around campus and the surrounding area, with the team with the lowest cumulative race position taking the points. Results at Roses have been chequered, winning both races in 2013, but the Men narrowly losing out last May – so let’s hope a home crowd can spur our athletes to victory this time round!
Speaking to Mann, it is clear he is proud to be president of such a successful and welcoming club. However, he also admits that this success depends on the significant contribution of others. He gives special mention to Tom Greaves, current Race Captain, who “as well as leading the team from the front fantastically in the races we’ve done so far this season, has worked incredibly hard to make sure we’re at the races and are completely prepared for them.” Other key members include Jack Okell and Kaylea Haynes who again, are some of the club’s foremost runners, but also fulfill the role of training captains. Finally, “the exec are also hugely important. Like most clubs, we simply wouldn’t function without them putting in the own time and effort they do.”
If you are interested in joining the Running Club, simply join the ‘Lancaster University Running Club’ Facebook group, or head along to a training session on Monday or Wednesday.
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