In January of this year, runABC Scotland revealed plans for the launch of Scotland’s first 261 Fearless Group, headed by Carol Pelham Wilson. Five months on, and with a mix of annual and pay-as-you-go members, 261 Fearless Inverurie is going from strength to strength.
True to the ‘running for life’ ethos of 261 Fearless’ founder and women’s running legend Kathrine Switzer, Carol focuses her weekly Wednesday night sessions on developing her runners’ whole bodies and minds – not just their race times – while having a whole lot of fun.
“We only run for about 20–25 minutes of our hour together,” Carol told runABC Scotland. “The rest of the time we focus on stretching, running technique and core strength. Our sessions are just as likely to include time on the local school’s climbing frame or games as they are speedwork.”
The Fearless movement is also about empowering women, and Carol is pleased to be able to do just that. “Some women just don’t feel able, for whatever reason, to run with men. Our group gives them to space to get away from everyday life and do something different, even if it’s just for an hour a week.”
Carol is also aware of the other, indirect, benefits of supporting women’s running. “Getting fit and healthy is habit forming, and we know that what parents do rubs off on their kids.”
Leading a 261 Fearless group has also been good for Carol herself. “It’s really reminded me what running is all about: forget the times and the distances and allow yourself to have a laugh with friends.”
Carol recently joined other UK-based Fearless 261 coaches to run last month’s Women Can marathon in Devon, a race she calls 'the hardest I’ve ever done'.
The camaraderie of the 261 Fearless community extends to her dealings with the organisation itself. “Although I’m still the only Fearless coach in Scotland, and one of the few in the UK, I’m very well supported by the organisation through group training sessions, Skype calls and online support. I’d urge anyone thinking about starting their own group to get in touch.”
261 Fearless Inverurie meets on Wednesdays from 6.30pm–7.30pm at the Garioch Community Centre, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire (firstname.lastname@example.org).