Bristol and Weston NHS Runners is a running club for all UH Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust staff and aims to increase staff wellbeing through exercise.
The club is free, friendly, informal and open to all levels of fitness and expertise.
Every pace is catered for with all groups having both front and back runners to ensure no one is left behind.
I joined Bristol & Weston NHS Runners in December 2019. I really enjoyed meeting other members of staff from different departments in the Trust, having a gossip and hearing about their running experiences.
The club is non-competitive and all-inclusive, which for me personally added to my enjoyment. I love running for fun and with varying levels of abilities and speeds.
The club run leader Mark has always worked hard to make everyone welcome. He often guides new members with Couch 2 5K programmes to help with their confidence.
Mark worked tirelessly to keep the club running through the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, allowing us to meet up when safe in smaller groups. When lockdown restrictions increased and we were unable to meet up in person, the club became virtual. This gave much encouragement to people to run at least once a week solo and get the "kudos" from the rest of the club for motivation.
In the run up to Christmas, we collectively ran over 900KM for "Run Things" raising money for the mental health organisation Mind. For myself this gave me the motive on the darker winter nights to keep my body and mind active.
I know for many of us we look forward to the day when we are able to collectively wear our blue Above & Beyond club t-shirts and run around the centre of Bristol with pride.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mark for his hard work and also for introducing me to people I now consider as my friends.
Hannah – Dental Nurse
I joined the club in September 2020 and it was one of the most beneficial things I did during the COVID pandemic for my mental and physical health.
I had just completed a couch to 5k programme when I joined, and was hugely nervous about joining a “running club” (as I didn’t consider myself in any way a runner!!), but the warm welcome I received allayed any fears.
I was really impressed by how friendly the group was and how well organised and motivating it was for runners of ALL abilities, in that nobody felt excluded or left behind.
When the group went online due to lockdown rules the same sense of camaraderie persisted and it was such a support for me- especially during an period of injury.
I am so much looking forward to the group meeting back in person and wearing my club T shirt with pride.
A huge thank you for the support you have given- I really would have struggled with motivation, isolation and the sedentary nature of working from home, had it not been for the UHBW running club and what it has provided. I have met some great people from all areas of UHBW and it has been a great way of having “buddies” to run with- thank you for the huge effort of providing this for us all- your regular emails and WhatsApp updates have kept me going!
Vanessa – Manager
Having finally completed couch to 5k after several attempts, I didn’t want to lose my momentum over winter, so I joined the running club for motivation. On cold dark nights I’d have never run on my own, but the support and enthusiasm from the run club really kept me going - even in the pouring rain! As lockdown hit, the virtual support of the group and sense of a community kept me wanting to run to feel part of the running club family. The group is a wonderful bunch of colleagues who probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, and it’s been such a wonderful boost to both my mental and physical health.
Helena – Consultant Radiologist
Whilst I’ve not had the chance to run with the group in person due to various lockdowns and redeployment shifts, I really appreciate the support of the group via the WhatsApp chat and I’ve personally benefitted by talking to others about topics such including new running routes, running gear and running app troubleshooting!
I particularly appreciate the communal support that the group provides and the fact you can tell everyone loves running for the mental benefits as well as the physical. I’m really looking forward to being able to join in in-person when lockdown measures lift and hope to bring a colleague or 2 along with me as well.
Anabella – Researcher
Club Secretary Mark Alder discusses how the club has helped support Trust staff during the pandemic.