12 Jan

Scots Join The Fearless Runners

The first Scottish club in a global social running network for women is being set up in Inverurie. Carol Wilson, who took up running to lose weight just over eight years ago, is behind the idea that she hopes will encourage more women to get involved in running.

Carol has hosted two information evenings at Garioch Community Centre to explain more about the proposal to establish Scotland’s first 261 Fearless club. The first was held on Wednesday (10 January) and the next is on 17 January.

The 261 Fearless organisation is the brainchild of pioneering American distance runner Kathrine Switzer. Switzer hit the headlines almost 51 years ago when she became the first woman to officially enter and run at Boston Marathon.

At that time the famous American race was an exclusively all-male affair, but she was able to secure a place by using only her first name initial on the entry form.

Race organisers were furious when they discovered her running in the race and tried to manhandle her off the course. Pictures of the incident were beamed all over the world and Switzer became a household name.

261 was the race number Switzer wore in that ground-breaking Boston Marathon and it has now become a symbol for her latest venture which encourages women to have no fear about getting involved in running.

Now 261 Fearless clubs have been set up in Austria, Albania, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Malta, Switzerland and the United States. There are four clubs in Britain but the Inverurie one will be the first in Scotland.

Carol recently attended the UK launch of the project and is excited about the project starting in Scotland.

She told the Evening Express : “The 261 launch was in London last month and it was very motivating.

“We had a Skype call with Kathrine Switzer, which was amazing, and she actually shared my Inverurie 261 Fearless club Facebook post.

“I have also been on one of their coaching courses to get the qualification to lead a group in Inverurie. It was held over a weekend in Manchester and I learned so much from it.

“It’s all about the empowerment of women through running. All the coaches at the clubs are women and the training techniques are specifically for women. Some will have self-confidence issues about their bodies and we are there to encourage them to overcome these fears.

“I know there are lots of clubs and jogging groups around, but some people will prefer to be involved if it’s only open to women. It’s also important to stress we are not competitive. It’s simply about getting active and enjoying it.

“I’ll have no problem if it’s only a small group to begin with, because I know these things can grow. The aim is to get some women together, get a good vibe going within the group, and have some fun. Hopefully it will develop through word of mouth - I’ve even heard that some people are hoping a similar group can be established in Aberdeen.”

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