Harriers host free running sessions

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A DOZEN fledgling runners took the first step on their own road to fitness when they backed a Hartlepool Mail campaign.

The first in a series of six sessions was held by Hartlepool’s Burn Road Harriers running and athletics club this week.

Keen Harriers officials decided to put on free sessions for anyone who backed the Mail’s Race For Fitness programme.

Twelve people read of the Harriers plans in the Mail and thought it was a great idea.

They included Robert Taylor, 36, from the King Oswy area of town, who said: “I needed to do something to get fit. I saw this in the Mail and thought ‘I’ll have a go’, especially as I am due to run a half marathon in three weeks.”

Everyone from complete novices to some people with limited running experience turned up to back Race For Fitness.

Harriers coach Stuart Whittaker said: “The whole aim of this first session is to see what level people are at.”

The rookies were split into three groups consisting of non-runners, people with limited experience and those who had run before.

Novices got to enjoy arm and leg exercises, the intermediate group tried out running in squares and cones, while the advanced new starters tackled a three-mile run.

One of the Harriers team leaders, Bryan Astill, said: “It is important for people to keep up their fitness.

“Sometimes people are intimidated about coming along to a running club but once they have tried it out for the first time, they realise we don’t go out to try and run at 90 miles per hour”.

Five more free sessions are on the way for both those who came along to the first session and anyone who has not been before.

Runners will have plenty of support from a whole host of Harriers volunteers.

People of all ages and abilities can take part by going along to West Hartlepool Rugby Club, in Catcote Road, every Wednesday from 6pm.

Each session will involve running around the rugby pitches, over to Summerhill or around West Park, depending on the fitness levels of the individual.

Booking isn’t required. People should just turn up next Wednesday for the first session.

• THE Mail wants to hear from at least 2,012 people in Hartlepool and east Durham who plan to spend this year improving their health.

It doesn’t have to be a Herculean challenge. The most important thing is that you take part in our Race For Fitness project.

Whatever your story, we want to hear it between now and the moment the Olympic flame is lit on July 27.

Contact Chris Cordner by writing to him at New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX, via email to Chris Cordner or call (01429) 239377.