1 June 2017

“Running is a fabulous thing to do in Sheffield – and the new Run Routes make it even better.”

That’s the view of Laura Inglis, 31, a qualified running coach who will be leading sessions on the new Run Routes at various locations across the city.

Laura, who lives in Crookes, organises runs at Shire Brook nature reserve on a Wednesday and in the Rivelin Valley on a Thursday, which are aimed at everyone from beginners up to seasoned runners.

She is passionate about getting people of all abilities involved in running and, as the mother of a preschool-aged daughter, is particularly interested in ways to get the whole family active.

Laura said: “I think the Run Routes make running so much more accessible to those just starting out, as well as giving everyone a chance to explore new parts of Sheffield.

“They are also great for family walks, as most have an option that is suitable for even little legs.

“There are buggy accessible routes, and playing ‘spot the arrow’ is a great game.”

Laura ran as a child, mainly on the track, but – like many teenagers – stopped when she hit her early teens.

She then took up running again when she moved to Sheffield to study biology at university.

“Now, I like to run long distances, and I’m currently working towards the Ladybower 50 mile ultra in September”, she said.

“There’s something about just focusing on one foot in front of the other for hours on end that makes me happy.

“I’m not a big fan of doing too many races or events, as I make myself far too nervous and it spoils the enjoyment of running for me.

“But I do take part in some now and then to make sure I keep progressing as a runner.”

Living in Crookes, she says, is “amazing”, as you can see Stanage Edge from her house, and run straight out into the Peak District.

“Everything I do revolves around running in some form”, Laura added.

“Other than leading run groups I work one-to-one with runners of all abilities, teach strength and conditioning classes and help correct muscular imbalances in my role as a Biomechanics coach.

“This is all around being the mother of a preschool child, which obviously comes with its challenges.

“The key, though is to make running fit into your lifestyle. I love to run anywhere. Obviously it’s nicer to run in beautiful park and woodland surroundings, but as long as I’ve got my trainers I don’t mind where I go.”

The Run Routes, Laura said, are a great way of giving even the most sofa-loving beginner a way to get out of the house and onto the trails.

“My favourite route has to be Rivelin as it’s so close to my house and is so full of great wildlife and local history”, she said.

“But, after Rivelin, Shire Brook valley comes a close second. I lead a group session there every week. It’s full of hidden paths and is unknown even to lots of people who live nearby.

“The wonderful thing about all the Run Routes is that they are easily accessible, well-marked, and the green and blue routes are something that anyone can aim to complete, no matter where they are in their running journey.

“I suggest that anyone who wants to get running has a look which one is closest to them and goes from there.”

This is the second phase of the Run Route initiative, funded by England Athletics, which officially launched last year as part of the wider Outdoor City project.

In total, 30 signed Run Routes have been created at 14 locations across the city, providing simple to follow trails through Sheffield’s parks and woodlands.

There are a number of different routes at each site, which are colour coded, graded as Easy, Medium, Hard and Challenging, and which loop back to a clear starting point with a noticeboard and map.

Sites in the first phase of the project were Concord Park and Woolley Woods, Ecclesall Woods, Bradfield, Graves Park, Lowfield, Manor Fields Park, and Ponderosa and Crookes Valley.

In the second phase, new routes were added at Rivelin, High Hazels, Firth Park, Shire Brook Nature Reserve, Thorncliffe and Wharncliffe.

“People shouldn’t feel nervous about just getting out there and getting started”, Laura said.

“You don’t need to spend much money, but a decent pair of trainers that work with how you move is a good investment.

“Clothes-wise, the most important thing is comfort, so don’t feel you have to be Lycra-clad from the get go.”

As for company, joining a RunTogether group is a “great way to build your confidence and local knowledge”, Laura said.

She added: “Both of the weekly sessions I lead are suitable for beginners.

“Wednesday morning at Shire Brook is technique based, working on improving movement to make stronger runners, and Thursday mornings at Rivelin is a pre-work 5km to 6km run in the valley to make you feel virtuous for the rest of the day.

“New faces are always welcome – just come along.”

To join Laura’s Wednesday morning RunTogether group, called Wood Run Shire Brook, meet at the car park of Shire Brook nature reserve at 9.45am.

Meanwhile, she also welcomes new runners onto her Rivelin RunTogether group, which is part of the Accelerate Trail Runner series and meets at 7am on Thursday mornings outside Rivelin Valley café.

Both groups can be booked online at the Run Together site, at www.runtogether.co.uk

Meanwhile, walkers and runners who prefer to explore alone can see maps and descriptions of all Run Routes, as well as videos, on The Outdoor City website.

Handy pocket-sized leaflets are also available, detailing each of the run routes, with photos and maps.

For more information, visit The Outdoor City website at www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk/the-outdoor-city-run-routes/