Glasgow club, West End Road Runners (WERR) won the Sports Council for Glasgow Impact Award last month. The club, which has grown to a 150 membership since it was accredited with Scottish Athletics in 2016, was recognised for boosting confidence and improving fitness levels in its community.
Earlier this year runABC Scotland reported on a groundbreaking initiative which saw WERR sourcing running kit for young athletes in the Kenyan town of Iten. The initial connection here was made by Glasgow-based coach Colin Thomas, who spends several weeks of the year training up and coming Kenyan athletes in Iten.
One WERR member who was delighted with the award and is herself an example of the club's positive approach is Shona Doherty. Shona (picture - bottom centre) credits the support she has received at WERR in helping to recover from a life threatening illness in 2017.
Shona told runABC Scotland: "I was airlifted from the Isle of Bute where I was living at the time and was hospitalised in a high dependancy unit due to sepsis. To this day the medical team do not know how it happened as I was only 30 at the time and healthy, a regular runner with a sub-3 personal best and consistently achieving a high level of training each week.
"Had I not been so fit I would have died but my body fought the sepsis although it completely wasted me physically and mentally. The last two years has been a battle to recover from being in a wheelchair and to get back to somewhere near my previous fitness levels."
Shona believes that the support she received from WERR, coaches and members, gave her strength on her road to recovery. Shona continued: "Having lost my confidence as well as my fitness, I was starting again from a very low base, however the support of the whole WERR community inspired me to keep going and get back to somewhere near where I was before my illness.
"Club chair Graeme Jack visited me in hospital and was with me on my first tentative walk-jogs and all the other WERRs were very supportive in those difficult early months after I returned to the club. Coach Colin Thomas designed a specific 5k training programme and that along with lots of strength training and work in the pool meant I started to make steady progress.
"It was a special day when I recorded a sub-20 time at Greenock parkrun after lots of amazing support and hard work. I think my story is an example of why West End Road Runners (WERR) were deserved winners of the Sports Council for Glasgow Impact Award."
Shona Doherty now hopes that she can return to her days of sub-3 marathons but not for a few years. She has other things on her mind in 2020 as she's expecting a baby in March!