Running Clubs In Northamptonshire

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All’s Well In Wellingborough

The club scene in Northants is a lively one with Wellingborough & District AC one of the most vibrant in the county. runABC Midlands spoke to president Alan Mills and chair Jon Kemp …

300 plus members …

Yes, it’s been a good few years for the club, we seem to be attracting lots of interest.

What’s the secret of your success?

We’ve put a lot of work into bringing on beginners and we offer a 6 level training approach that means there is a place for everyone. We also actively look to recruit new members and had an information stand at the local shopping centre in January. That got a great response.

Tell us about training at WDAC …

Tuesday and Thursday nights from Wrenn School (6.30-8.00pm). We split into 6 groups – from sub 40 minute 10k people to 60 minuters. Everyone gets a decent session, no one gets left behind and there’s flexibility to take account of progress, coming back from injury and race tapering. 

Out and about …

The club is lucky in that we’re based close to some lovely countryside and it’s just a short jog to the scenic trails around the River Nene.

That has encouraged an active trails and ultras section at the club …

Yes, those guys are a pretty relaxed crew. They run for pleasure and enjoy exploring what rural Northamptonshire has to offer. Alan Mills tells us that the group tempted him after he had decided to scale back and encouraged him to tackle the 35 mile Shires and Spires.  A fair test for a man in his mid 70s!

Recent successes?

The club did manage a clean sweep of the Northants Road Running league lifting the men’s, women’s and overall prizes. The Wellingborough women were always well placed but it took a late charge from the men at the Rockingham 10 to seal the title.

Tell us about the social side of the club?

Highlights of the year are the Halloween (fancy dress, head torches) and Christmas Eve (bacon rolls and hot drinks at the end) runs at Irchester Country Park; the summer barbecue; the Welly Wobble (a run around some local pubs); and the annual awards night.

What about foreign travel?

We make an annual trip to Krov in Germany for a brilliant event called the Midnight Run, which starts at 11.30pm with a route through a series of pretty villages on the banks of the Moselle.

There’s no street lights but the locals put out candles, which creates a magical atmosphere.

Any other foreign connections?

A recent recruit to Wellingborough AC is Mariusz Iwaniec, a talented athlete from Poland. Mariusz was a steeplechaser in his homeland but has been recording some fast times on the flat in England. Although the club welcomes runners of all abilities, we’ve always had some tidy performers. Steve Adams and Tony Hale are GB triathletes in their age category.

Wellingborough characters over the decades?

Original member Terry Rolls was a larger than life character in the early days while Barry Flint ran London in 2:36 when he was 50. Julia Cooke-Simmons was another big influence; great for bringing the club together in a social sense. Today Kev O’Reilly is a stalwart of the ‘trails’ section, famed for his unconventional approach to training.

You have a dream …

The club has done remarkably well on quite limited facilities. It would be great to have our own track, maybe in association with Wrenn School. Then we really would be flying.

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Image: Wellingborough & District at Northampton parkrun


Article featured in runABC Midlands March-April 2016