Bulwell Runners was started up in March by local man Paul Hopkins with the aim of creating a new social running group that made running running accessible for all.The club ethos was all about being as inclusive as possible and making sure that running was a pleasure and not a chore.
The club has since grown rapidly and it is now starting a new couch to 5k course this month.
Paul said: “The seeds for this were sewn a few years ago after a family barbecue when I was sat at home scrolling through Facebook, as you do, and I saw a photo of me and I hated it.
"I was over 20 stones and wore XXX-large clothes.
"I couldn't walk up the stairs without being out of breath, I had chest pains and suffered from depression, stress, and anxiety.
“At that moment I decided it was time to change and do something to improve both my fitness and mental health and so I decided to start running.
"Although it was very slowly at first, as I had never run before, I enjoyed it and it made me feel great.
"Since then, I haven’t looked back.
“During lockdown I trained as a personal trainer, an England Athletics run leader, and a mental health champion, so I could help others with their fitness, mental health, and get out to meet new people.
“This is why I set up Bulwell Runners – a Run Together group in partnership with England Athletics.
"The aim of the group is to make running and running accessible to the people of Bulwell and the nearby areas and do it by making the group a fun, social and inclusive experience to all, no matter what age, gender, background or fitness level.”
Since the group started in March, it has gained 20 members and has around 10 participants per session and Paul is now looking to train others to become run leaders
And with numbers and interest rising, Paul is now starting up a couch to 5K programme for the club at the Ken Martin Leisure Centre with the first session on Tuesday, June 28 at 7pm.
He continued: “We hope in time, more people in Bulwell and the surrounding areas will be able to benefit from the group sessions and have better fitness levels, social interaction and better mental health.
“Within the next few months, we want to offer mental health run and talk sessions, youth (12-years plus) running sessions and walking fitness sessions.
"We passionately believe that running changes lives for the better and we want to help as many people as possible to achieve their goals, whether health, fitness or competitive, through jogging and running.
"We know that when people run together, they are more likely to keep running.
“Running is for everyone, every age, gender, ethnicity and ability and we want to run with you.
"We all started as beginners, and know how that feels, and our community supports and encourages one another to achieve our goals, whatever they may be.”