As REACH running club looks forward to its Halloween Zombie- style fun run/walk on Friday, October 30, the group continues to grow both in numbers and confidence.
With proceeds to go to Foyle Search and Rescue and a free Zombie T-Shirt for the first 200 entrants, the run looks set to be jam-packed as the sport continues to tighten its grip as the most popular form of exercise in the city.
Anyone who has been along the Sainburys walk of a tea time can’t have failed to come across the club’s runners as they make their way along the Foyle at whatever pace suits their ability.
That’s because REACH has attracted runners of all ages and abilities.
There are now more than 100 members of the club and they range in age from early teens to 60 plus.
REACH which was only founded in June 2014 by local man Patsy Carlin has already taken its place amongst the best known of Derry’s ever growing number of running clubs.
Patsy has said that the reason he started the club was to “help other people”.
The club’s name actually stands for Running Enjoyment Achievement Community Health - REACH.”
“Our club is about more than just the running, it’s about the social aspect and supporting each other as well,” said REACH member Samantha McColgan.
Samantha, who has only been running with the club for a year, has already completed four and a half marathons; no mean feat for someone who had never run before.
But as well as improved physical health, Samantha and some of her fellow runners have seen the benefits in their mental health as well.
“I had post-natal depression which is something that I don’t mind putting out there,” said Samantha.
“Patsy (Carlin) has joked with us that running is the new anti-depressant and I know that some members have been able to lower medication or come off it completely because of running.
“For me personally, running boosts my self-esteem, I feel so much more positive now,
“I have two young children and I’ve found that my energy levels have increased so much because of running and I’m better able to scoot around after the kids.
“When I started out I was like a lot of people who probably think that they could never run, that they would be out of their depth.
“A year later and I’m running marathons which proves that with the right support, anyone can do it.
“We have a mum of four who runs with the club and over the past 18 months she has lost four and a half stone.
“I would say to anyone who is thinking of joining us, I can 100 per cent guarantee that if you stick at it you will love it.”
Shauna Smyth has the same attitude to running as her friend Samantha and running with the club has helped her to lose two stone in the last year.
Even more amazing is the fact that Shauna only has one lung due to a condition called bronchiectasis.
“I’m going for the Walled City Marathon next year and I’m the perfect example of someone who thought they would never be able to run,” said Shauna.
“I can’t say enough about how running with REACH has helped me in all sorts of ways and honestly we are like a family in the club. Patsy Carlin who founded the club has encouraged me all the way and so has everyone else.
“When I start running my head just clears and I focus on reaching my goal.
“It has improved my outlook on life and has vastly improved my physical health. I’m now two stone lighter than when I started at the club.
“I’ve been watching my diet too but the running has helped with that as well.
Because the exercise makes me feel so good I want to look after my self and so I eat healthily. Anyone is welome to come along and join us for a run.”
The REACH Halloween fun run costs just £7 to to enter. Resgistration for the run which leaves from Sainsbury’s at 7pm, is now open.
To register email firstname.lastname@example.org providing The entry fee for the run can be paid when collecting the run pack at a later date from REACH members.