Glossop's Start2Jog group proving hugely popular
From humble beginnings
Barry, left with some of the Start2Jog group.
When keen runner Barry Sherwood agreed to help his wife's friends get fit one summer, little did he realise what was to follow.
The marathon and ironman competitor took the small group out jogging and – unbeknown to him at the time – the Start2Jog group was born.
While vastly experienced in running terms, Barry recognised he had no formal qualifications to lead what was, at that point, an informal group, but soon rectified that by booking onto a Leadership in Running Fitness course.
Barry with Start2Jog member Alison after her first Glossop parkrun. She completed the 5k without stopping after being unable to run continuously for one minute 10 weeks previously.
Opening out to the Glossop community
Group numbers were settled for a time, but as they began to wane he decided to open it out to others in the Glossop area, and was astounded by the response he got.
"I thought I would see if there was an appetite there, so I put it on the Glossop Facebook page and had around 150 contacts," he explained. "I had that many responses, I eventually had to take the post down.
"Since then, during the course of this year, I have run three Couch to 5k sessions across 10 weeks, in January, April and September, for people who couldn't even run out the door before they got started.
Read about Start2Jog members' experiences:
The social side of Start2Jog has aided its popularity.
In high demand
"Each time, the demand outstripped how many people I could cater for as I had to limit the places to 20, but we have now gone from six people at last year's Christmas do to 80 at this.
"People who have completed the Couch to 5k have then gone on to complete 30 minutes or done a 5k parkrun, and it's been terrific to see their progress.
"We've had people do so well that they have completed the Blackpool 10k and the Manchester Half Marathon, and we have two people now signed up to do a full marathon."
Barry has been amazed at the interest in the group.
Linking up with JOG Derbyshire
More recently, the group has linked up with JOG Derbyshire in a bid to expand numbers of participants sessions and leaders.
JOG has provided support to secure some of the funding – through the Coaching Derbyshire Bursary – which will help train two more leaders to take LiRF qualifications, so that improved beginners, improvers, intermediate and advanced sessions can be held on a regular basis.
Barry added: "Having worked hard on the Couch to 5k, it will be great to have a bit more freedom to work on other sessions and know I don't need to be at every single session.
Start2Jog is hoping to expand in the new Year.
'Brilliant to see the group grow'
"It's been brilliant to see the growth of the group so far and there's the potential for more to follow. I think what works well is that people enjoy the social side – we go to Wetherspoon's for breakfast to celebrate finishing a parkrun, for instance.
"People who used to dread exercise now enjoy it. Often, people have come to realise how much healthier they feel, rather than feeling sluggish sitting on their settees.
"We have men who are following their wives into jogging. A lot of people are friends on Facebook, go for drinks with each other and go round each other's houses. It's like one big family and why a lot of people recommend us."
Find out more
If you want an extra incentive to feel fitter, happier and healthier this new year, take a look at Jog Into January, with specialist beginners groups operating across the county.