As he sets out on his run on Friday morning, Reach Running Club founding member, Patsy Carlin, would be forgiven for being in a philosophical mood.
It’s exactly a year to the day that Patsy, a lifelong runner, decided to set-up the local running club and from a warm and balmy Thursday night in 2013 to a dull and overcast Friday evening in 2014 the club has gone from 30 members to almost 150.
“There are running clubs right across the city but there wasn’t anything here in Strathfoyle so with a bit of promotion on Facebook and a few flyers we held our first session last June and although we have been only going a year we have achieved so much.”
Reach Running Club is completely free of charge and all of the organisers, including Patsy, give their time up to help others.
“When we started the group, only myself and another man had completed a marathon but a good crowd of us completed the Walled City Marathon earlier this month.
“We also have a few members who were on anti-depressants before joining and now they tell us that running every week has greatly improved their mental health.
“The reason I set-up the club was to help other people and that’s where the club gets its name; Running Enjoyment Achievement Community Health - REACH.”
Patsy said the interest in running in Derry is currently at unprecedented levels and he said that Reach’s club members range from young aspiring runners in their late teens to novices in their mid-fifties.
“The youngest member is 16 and I we had a woman out running with us last week who is 54.
“I suppose when it comes to running the worst thing about it for people is actually getting out there. I understand why people find running daunting but I would like to reassure them that Reach running club cater for men and women of all ages and abilities.
“We have some fantastic runners like young Kyle Doherty who will definitely go on to compete at a higher level but we have people, on a weekly basis, coming out to run for the first time in their lives.”
Reach Running Club hope to stage their first ever event next month. The race will be called ‘Unity in the Community’ and it will be a 5k event.
“We are using this event as a coach to 5k race. We want to show people that they can take part in a race like this and complete it. “Many of our runners who are taking part in the event would have thought you mad if you told them this time last year they would be preparing for a 5k in June 2014,” he laughed.
Reach Running Club go running on Tuesday evenings at 6.30pm in Gransha; Thursdays in Sainsbury’s car park at 6.30pm and Sundays in Sainsbury’s car park at 1.30pm. For more details see their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/reachrunningclub