The north east of Scotland has gone jogging crazy, with more than 500 joggers pounding the streets each week across Peterhead and Fraserburgh. A sea change has hit the two fishing communities, made famous by the BBC series Trawlermen. The locals are no longer sitting indoors watching the television and instead they have been dusting down their trainers and heading out to jogscotland groups in their hundreds.
Peterhead jogscotland was established in 2007 by husband and wife team Stephen and Roselyn Bruce and from humble beginnings the number of members has been steadily increasing, to the point that runners were even travelling from Fraserburgh to be part of the jogging phenomenon.
Stephen said: "When we started Peterhead jogscotland, there were only a few people out jogging in our town, but now it seems everyone knows someone who jogs and attends Peterhead jogscotland which is fantastic."
Earlier this year jogscotland Fraserburgh launched to cope with the demand. With local runner Gillian Strachan at the helm of the newly established group and with support from neighbouring Peterhead jogscotland, 300 people are now fully fledged jogscotland Fraserburgh members and Gillian is training up new Jog Leaders to cope with the ever increasing numbers.
Gillian is delighted with the enthusiastic response from her local community to jogging. She said: "Some people in our town believed a jogscotland group would never work in Fraserburgh, but in fact it has been the complete opposite and people just can't get enough of it! Since we started, some of our group have made huge changes to their lifestyles because of jogscotland which fantastic and a great inspiration to everyone involved."
The north east is now a hive of jogging activity and both Gillian and Stephen are keen to make a lasting impression on the health and wellbeing of their communities.
"The more people we get involved in leading a healthier, more active life the better," said Stephen. "Even the harsh, north east winters don't put our members off," he continued, "on one of the bleakest days in January, we had 276 people turn up to one of our groups and that is definitely saying something! We encourage everyone to get involved - at our recent Peterhead jogscotland Marinathon 3k, which was supported by Active Nation, we had three generations of the same family take part."
Working together, both jogscotland groups encourage their members to lead more healthy lifestyles, with Peterhead jogscotland supporting members to achieve a healthy weight through a very successful charity weight loss campaign, which has raised over £1000 for charity since it launched.
"All we do is encourage our group to eat healthily, cut out the rubbish and get more active" explained Stephen.
And how do they keep their members coming back for more?
"Simple," said Gillian, "We set realistic, fun targets for our members to work towards at their own pace."
Both groups are keen to get their members involved in more and more exciting running challenges to satisfy their growing passion for keeping fit and healthy. Challenges range from 5ks to full marathons and everything in between.
Jogging has definitely taken the north east by storm and the sight of hundred of runners pounding the pavements on an evening is the norm.
To find out more about joining a jogscotland group near you, visit the jogscotland website.