In Your Area - Northamptonshire
Northants Is A Rose Among Shires
Small but perfectly formed, Northamptonshire is a county where the natural environment is the ideal backdrop to a vibrant club and group scene …
Northamptonshire is something of an ‘unsung treasure’. At the heart of England it is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in the country and numerous pretty villages with their thatched cottages, country lanes and parish churches.
The geography of the county lends itself to relaxed running with spacious country parks, canals and areas of ancient woodland just waiting to be explored. Miles of cycle path follow the landscape of the Brampton Valley Way and stately homes and ancestral seats, including Rockingham Castle and Althorp, are all part of the local heritage. The network of canals are another great resource for runners.
With the infrastructure in place it’s no surprise then that the county boasts a flourishing running scene. At club level a dozen or so established names compete for the big prizes in the Northants Road Running League, a nine-leg series that starts in April with the Corby 5K and includes the Silverstone 10K and Northampton Half Marathon before concluding in November with the Rockingham 10 Miles.
We talk to Wellingborough & District AC, one of a number of clubs that happily encourages both top level runners and beginners with an inclusive ethos. Other big names are Wootton RR, Kettering Town Harriers, Northampton RR and Corby AC. A number of clubs are associated with Jog Northants beginners groups and are able to use club resources (coaches/facilities) to help people into running and in turn benefit from a supply of new members.
Jog Northants has been a hugely successful initiative since it was launched in 2009. Over 50 beginners groups around the county have been established in that time. The groups have varied backgrounds - some are ‘school gates’ groups, others associated with slimming groups and, as mentioned, a number linked to established clubs. Groups likes Redwell Runners and Body Magic Marvels, who we profile, have made a huge impact and introduced thousands to healthier and fitter lifestyles. Go to northamptonshiresport.org/jog-northants to find out more.
parkrun was introduced to the county in 2012 at Northampton racecourse. Now that event regularly attracts 300/400 each week. Corby (2013) and Daventry (2015) have been added to the roster and although they have more modest fields they still play an important role in sports provision in their areas.
Race for Life stages a big weekend in Northampton in June with a 5K/10K double header on the Sunday and a Pretty Muddy 5K on the Saturday. Although there are dozens of events staged in Northamptonshire throughout the year, they tend to be small-scale with the exception of the big London Marathon test at Silverstone Half Marathon.
Image: a group from Wellingborough & District AC get set to sample the delights of the Northamptonshire countryside
Article featured in runABC Midlands March-April 2016
We are compiling a list of running groups, clubs, stores and facilities in Northamptonshire. If you would like to add information to our listing please get in touch with us.
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