Thursday, August 15, 2013
A new network has been launched in Devon to help new runners get started and support seasoned athletes in getting more out of the sport.
InStep Devon brings together eight of the biggest and most established local running clubs and England Athletics with the common aim of boosting the profile and offerings in the rapidly growing sport.
InStep Devon has been set up by Exeter-based runners Tony Gale and John Caswell. Both spotted an opportunity to link up the different groups across the region to help boost the range and quality of training, events and facilities that are already on offer.
The vision has already gained support from running clubs across the area and is backed by Active Devon and England Athletics with both organisations putting in funding.
It is being formally launched on Thursday, August 15 at 6.30pm, as part of the Exeter 10k race. People will be able to pick up leaflets and learn more about what InStep has to offer.
The idea behind InStep is to support existing clubs, groups and non-affiliated runners, both adults and juniors, across the Exeter, Mid Devon, and East Devon areas by:
Publicising, promoting and co-ordinating running events and opportunities, sharing facilities, equipment and expertise, identifying gaps in provision and finding ways to remedy them by recruiting, training and developing coaches and leaders, helping established groups expand their offerings and exploring partnership opportunities with schools, colleges and other sports organisations and establishing and managing a local running league/championship which recognises and rewards individual, team and club achievements.
Tony Gale said: “We hope the idea behind InStep is going to be effective. We’re working with local clubs and groups to raise the profile of what’s available; to share expertise and resources; and to improve what we can offer to the local running community. Most of the local running clubs in the area are set up to support adult runners. That’s great, but one of our ambitions for InStep Devon is to provide more opportunities for younger runners. There are national programmes targeting different age groups from the ages of eight up to 25 and we’re intending to work with Active Devon, schools and colleges to see how we can improve what’s available locally.”
Eight running clubs – Axe Valley Runners, Crediton Running Network, Dawlish Coasters, Exeter Harriers, Exmouth Harriers, Honiton Running Club, Tiverton Harriers and South West Road Runners – have already signed up.
InStep is also being supported by Run England groups, such as the ones offered by Ironbridge Runner in Exeter and Exeter City Football Club.
John Caswell said: “InStep Devon’s ambition is simple: If you’re new to running, we’ll help to get you started and if you’re an established runner, we’ll help you to get more out of the sport. We’re working with England Athletics and Active Devon, the county sports partnership) and are pleased to announce that we have received the funding and support needed to take this initiative forward in a significant way. InStep Devon isn’t trying to take over or replace any of the local clubs or groups – there are lots of really excellent clubs in the area with some fantastic runners of all abilities and we all complement each other – this is all about working together to offer more opportunities for local runners. Any other clubs or groups interested in joining us can get in touch. We would really like to get as many on board as possible because we think we can all work together to create an even better local running scene.”
Anneliese Heard, England Athletics Club and Coach Support Officer for Devon, Cornwall and Dorset said: “England Athletics is really looking forward to supporting the new Instep Devon network. They have some fantastic ideas and plans for the forthcoming year and beyond. It is great that the clubs in the area are now being supported by an Athletics Network with so many passionate and committed volunteers onboard, driving both athletics and road running forward in the region.”
InStep Devon’s website is at www.instepdevon.org.uk