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Dursley Running Club looking ahead to next 50 years with confidence

All Areas > Sport > Running

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 09:00

Dursley Running Club has some 300 members Dursley Running Club has some 300 members

Dursley Running Club celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and the club is certainly looking forward to its next 50 years – and beyond – with plenty of optimism.

The club has grown dramatically in recent times and now boasts a membership of some 300, which is almost quadruple the figure of just a few short years ago.

Chairman David Durden – he’s held the role for more than six years – is delighted with those numbers and the way the club is moving forward.

Durden moved to Dursley 30 years ago. He is originally from London, so is not a native of Gloucestershire, something he has in common with the people who founded Dursley Running Club way back in 1969.

“The club was formed by three chaps from Birmingham,” explained Durden. “I don’t know why they moved to Dursley but the locals gave the new club 18 months!”

The trio knew what they were doing, however – all three had been members of running clubs in Birmingham and one was a member of Birchfield Harriers – and the club has enjoyed considerable success over the years.

“Yes, we have,” said Durden, who joined the club in the mid-noughties. “James Drennen competed for Great Britain as a junior in the javelin and Ross Fittall represented Great Britain in the 1,500 metres, also as a junior.

“Ross was very, very good, he was a national schools’ champion on the track.”

And these days the club is providing plenty of opportunity for the next generation of athletes in the area.

“Three years ago we launched our junior section and it’s going from strength to strength,” said Durden. “Last year we had 60 juniors participating.

“We’ve also got a triathlon section which is really successful. One of the big things about our club is that we do a lot of coaching.

“We coach our runners and triathletes as well as our juniors. It’s not just about running, it’s how you run.

“We really focus on the individual and make sure they enjoy what they are doing.”

And there’s more, much more, to this go-ahead club.

“A big part of what we offer is our Walk to Run,” explained Durden. “It’s our Couch to 5K. People run for a minute then walk for a minute with the aim of being able to do a parkrun within 12 weeks.

“It’s something we are really, really proud of, it’s the jewel in our crown.

“It’s life-changing, people go from being sedentary and overweight to being able to run.

“One of members, Damian Lai, did our Walk to Run programme and now he’s doing Ironmans.

“Running is a sport that’s good for you mentally, physically and socially and the ethos of our club is inclusivity while at the same time trying to help athletes get better.

“When I joined the club we had two groups on a training night – a fast group and a slow group. Now we have eight or nine groups so there really is something for everyone.”

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Dursley Running Club was formed in 1969

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