Ingle Runners aim to remove barriers around running for women
A Sheffield running group dedicated to females is gaining in popularity and it is not just about beating your personal best.
Ingle Runners, founded by the children of legendary coach Brendan Ingle, has seen women of all shapes and sizes across Sheffield and beyond come together for a common cause.
It all began in 2018 after the death of their beloved father when sisters Bridget Ingle, 54 and Tara Ingle, 49 thought of setting up a running club to cope with mental health and life in general.
Tara, who works as a nurse at a local GP specialising in mental health said: "I've never had any experience running a group, neither have Bridget.
"We noticed that it all involved the same formula - running, going by minutes or miles.
"When you look at our pictures, we are not all the same. Some are overweight, some are really slim but we have got one thing in common and we support each other and that's the beauty of it.
"It's not about competition. We'd congratulate people for getting a PB, but do whatever you have to do because at the end of the day, you are coming back feeling better than you did before."
Bridget, who works full time on a voluntary basis for the Brendan Ingle Foundation, said there are currently about 100 women and 20 men who are active and exercising regularly every week.
"One of the things that we want to do post pandemic is to have the men to recruit more members.
"Men have a very different approach, they would talk about time and distance but for women, we talk about weight issues, family issues.
"If you enjoy running, and want to run better, sometimes it is not about pace and time. You just want to go out and get a clear head," she said.
She said Ingle Runners are all about 'removing barriers' and supporting those who might feel self conscious about running in public or in a group.
"It's all about sharing experience, those who are feeling self conscious, running out of breath, or running without makeup, which is a big thing.
"This running group is about removing those barriers," she said.
Bridget, who has a PhD in Metabolic Bone Disease, said the group caters to all needs.
On Monday, members can join a walking group and those who have just started running can join a beginners group on Wednesday.
And on Thursday, runners can be part of an interval training to improve their running techniques and members are encouraged to join a park run every Saturday.
She said: "A lot of women who have families are working shifts and we are trying to make it as feasible as possible so they could at least join one group to socialise and get some support."
Members are also given the opportunity to run for charity and talk about safety issues when they're out on a solo run.
In June, said Tara, the members will be up for the Beat The Street challenge in Sheffield, where they explore the city while raising money for charity.
Ingle Runners can be found on their Facebook page here. No membership fees are required.