Miles of smiles from Garstang club members who love to run
It started with an advert in the local paper in which friends Clive Bruce and John Winder sent out a call to all running enthusiasts to come and join them in starting a new club.
That was February 1984 and 13 like-minded people responded to the appeal and later in the Eagle and Child pub in Garstang High Street the Garstang Running Club was born – within a year, the club had grown to about 30 runners.
Of the original 13, two Geoff Lund and Dave Sweetman are active runners today.
Garstang Running Club is still thriving and chairman Tony Pritchard says it is a club for all people interested in running, whether for pleasure, racing, cross-country, fell or trail running.
He says: “The club is affiliated to England Athletics for those who want to go racing
“Many members do road-running but there are some who do cross-country, fell and trail-running – and a few even do ultra-running.”
“The club caters for runners of all capabilities from absolute beginner to experienced racers, aged 16 and over.
“Many of our members join us because they want to become fit and then maintain it, and they enjoy the camaraderie of running with other like-minded people.”
The club meets every Tuesday at 7pm in the car park of the Garstang Sports and Social Club for a run.
They meet all year round, with members enjoying routes around the hills and countryside overlooking the market town in the summer and courses along the lit roads in the winter.
Tony adds: “Over the years, Garstang Running Club has grown in size and now has to about 70 members of all capabilities. Members have run all over the world – the Mediterranean seems popular for some reason.
“They have proudly worn the club’s colours of a white top with a horizontal green stripe across the chest. About two-thirds of the members take part in races.”
From taking part in regular events, the club is also responsible for a few popular races of their own the seven-mile Garstang Gallop, the Garstang Half Marathon and the Myerscough 10-mile road race.
Each event regularly attracts runners from far and wide, who enjoy the attractive routes around the countryside of Wyre.
Through organised races, the club also helps charity – the 2017 Garstang Gallop raised more than £1,000 for Prostate Cancer UK.
Monies have also been donated to local causes including the ‘Adam Appeal’, the Scorton Sherriff 10k ‘Bottle Stop’ campaign, and St Catherine’s Hospice as well as contributions to the Garstang High Street ‘Remembrance Garden.’
Tony says the club is always looking to develop and recently one of the club members undertook an England Athletics course in coaching beginners and the club has now introduced a ‘couch-to-5km’ programme.
Tony adds: “The first series of sessions was fully subscribed and the club is looking at running further sessions for local people.
“There is a small charge for non-club members but should someone decide to join the club, the charge is off-set against the club membership fee.”
On Monday mornings, those who are available meet for a social run of about six to nine miles.
Tony says: “ We go at the pace of the slowest runner and, often, we go further afield to, for example, Arnside or Whitbarrow.
“Then, we undo all the good work with a hearty lunch!”
Each year club members also celebrate their achievements with an annual awards evening, with prizes given out to overall champions of the individual events and most improved.
“The John Winder trophy is for the person who has made a significant contribution to the wellbeing of the club during the year.”
Club membership costs £20 per year and this includes the cost of affiliating members with England Athletics.
For more information visit www.garstangrc.co.uk, email us at [email protected] or telephone the club chairman, Tony, on 01772 864287.