Running Groups In The Highlands

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Group Focus On Cairngorm Runners

Cairngorm Runners

Cairngorm Runners have the good fortune to be based in one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland - no surprise then that they are flourishing...

Starting in 2007 as a response to locals looking to train for the Aviemore Half Marathon and 10K, Cairngorm Runners is not your usual jogscotland group. With around 140-150 members varying from walkers to triathletes, the group is more than just an outlet for novices, but a place runners can flourish. Heather McLellan tells us why she considers it to be ‘the most diverse running group in the UK’.

Meeting at Coylumbridge, the group has benefitted from its impressive surroundings. Heather explains: “The natural surroundings of Aviemore make it an ideal location for a running group. Getting out in the fresh air is invigorating and we want to make running as enjoyable as possible. As scenic as the area is, it can be challenging to go out for a run when it’s blowing a hooley and there’s horizontal rain. So it’s testament to the dedication of our members that they step up and keep on training throughout the winter months.

She’s quick to point out how welcoming the group is to new members: “The physical activity is important but it’s not the only reason to start. Companionship is part of it too. You find yourself becoming great friends with your fellow runners.

“It can be a little daunting joining a running group, so we realise the importance of integrating new members. We have regular barbecues where people can socialise, we also host our own awards in October. We have lots of different awards some of which are very silly.”

To showcase the variety in the group, Heather highlights one member who has made considerable improvement since joining, and another who is one of the group’s most experienced runners: “I’d like to mention Janette Cameron - a lady who started off in the walk/jog programme last year and through sheer determination and being focussed on her goals has developed into a confident runner. The jogscotland programme led by jog leaders is used to guide and support runners in the club but ultimately it is up to the individual how they choose to progress, Janette’s cheerful positive outlook has always helped her with this.

"As I mentioned we have huge diversity and Val Machin, who has been with the club since its inception, is a huge contributor in both jog leading and volunteering with events and one of the most tenacious people you’ll meet. Recently she came third in her age group in a sprint triathlon and is an experienced runner, taking part in events all over the world. She is 70 and is in training for a challenging event later in the year - Val is awesome!”

Since joining, Heather has progressed to communications secretary and will be organising her own trail race this year. She has also developed as an athlete: “I’ve gone from wanting to do the least challenging race to organising my own event and helping play an important part at Cairngorm Runners. I’m organising a trail race for 4 October. I should warn readers that it won’t be for beginners as it’s 22k of muddy trails."

Adding a final message for anyone who’s unsure about becoming involved with the group: “If you’re not sure about joining I’d say just go for it!”

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Running Groups In The Highlands & Islands

  • Cairngorm Runners


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