Leaders in focus: Harriet Flint and Lucy Arnold (Dronfield Diamonds)
Group formed to meet local demand
In less than five months, the Dronfield Diamonds has already established itself as one of the most successful JOG Derbyshire groups in the north of the county.
The idea for the group came from Lucy Arnold, a 'local girl' that has lived in the area all her life. From there, it has been developed in conjunction with Harriet Flint, the two having gone to school together.
In her initial research, largely conducted via social media and word of mouth, Lucy quickly realised there was a lack of provision for low level, sociable jogging, with the existing running groups covering longer distances.
A 'gobsmacking' first night
She set about changing that, and with the support of Dronfield 2gether, JOG Derbyshire and Village Games, put together a plan. Part-funded by a Coaching Derbyshire bursary, both Lucy and Harriet soon attended a Jog Leader course to give them the skills to take sessions.
Finding a time and date to hold the group was challenging, but it was decided classes would start on Monday evenings. Harriet remembers that first meeting of the group in May, mainly because she was so taken aback by the numbers.
"We had 68 people in attendance for the first night – I was a bit gobsmacked," she said. "I hoped we might get 10 to 15, so to get that many was amazing.
'It's really good socially'
"The idea was that Lucy would look after those who were beginners and I would look after those who wanted to jog a bit further, but we had to abandon that because of the numbers and both of us get involved with the whole group.
"But it's still worked really well. I think a big plus point is that we are both from the local area and it's not about competition but encouraging each other. The fact that it's only £1 per session means it is not expensive too.
"It hasn't aimed to be women-only, but I think we only have five males. However, the fact that there are a lot of women together means it's really good socially for them and a real support network."
Paced to suit
Members of the Dronfield Diamonds.
While Harriet is a keen runner who recently completed the Great North Run and is taking part in her first marathon – in York – next month, Lucy frequently sticks to shorter runs.
"It is a contrast they believe works well, and she added: "We are both relatively slow joggers, but Lucy can look after those who don't want to go as far and I can look after the other participants. We also have others who act as co-leaders as well.
"We're looking to develop the social side of things with events and we're hoping to have our first Christmas do this year as a reward for all our joggers' hard work.
T-shirts for eight completed sessions
"We've also introduced the Dronfield Diamonds t-shirts for those who complete eight sessions with us. I think it makes people feel a sense of belonging and pride."
With interest still high in the group, three more women are now attending Jog Leader courses through Coaching Derbyshire's This Girl Can Coach scheme.
"It means that we have been able to split the groups into four depending on the level of ability and continue to run those," said Harriet.
"Those who first started with us are no longer absolute beginners, but this way, with more leaders, we will be able to welcome a new influx of those who are."