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New Free Running Sessions Launching June

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A new initiative providing free weekly exercise to residents of all abilities is set to start in Wokingham next month thanks to funding from My Journey Wokingham and Places Leisure.

Running Places is a new initiative from Places Leisure, which has run the borough’s six leisure centres since 2018. It involves providing a safe space for residents aged 16 and over to build their confidence and fitness.

Free Running Sessions

Sessions will start from Tuesday 4 June and all events start and end at the Carnival Hub in Wokingham, with the option to follow a 3km or 5km route. These sessions will run from 9.30am to 10.30am.

Funding for women’s only sessions has kindly been provided by My Journey Wokingham, a borough-wide active and sustainable travel campaign that aims to inspire residents to travel by alternative methods, including walking, running and cycling. Places Leisure is matching the funding received in order to launch a mixed gender running group, which will take place on Wednesdays from 7.30am to 8.30am.

Participants can also get a discount on refreshments at the café at Wokingham Leisure Centre after a session.

Cllr David Hare, executive member for adult services, health and wellbeing, said: “It is great to see there will be even more opportunities for residents to be active. A big thank you to My Journey and Places Leisure for contributing to these running groups, which will be hugely beneficial to people’s physical and mental health.

“Running groups can offer a supportive environment, where people feel motivated and encouraged by like-minded individuals. It is also good to see that these sessions will be free to attend, as there should not be a financial barrier to achieving the recommended amount of exercise.”

The most recent Active Lives survey carried out by Sport England shows that 63% of women in Wokingham Borough are active, compared to 71% of men.

In the National Running Survey conducted in 2022, 47% of women reported being verbally harassed while out running. In addition, 18% also stated they had considered stopping running altogether due to safety concerns, while others had taken steps to feel safe, such as changing the location and time of their run and choosing to run with others.

My Journey is also working in partnership with Places Leisure to launch a ‘My Way to 5k’ initiative later in the year, which will support women to build fitness, confidence and social connections, while working towards the goal of running 5km.

Molly Hale, Contract Healthy Communities Manager for Places Leisure, said: “Places Leisure are excited to be working in partnership with My Journey as part of our commitment to creating active places and healthy people for communities to thrive.

“Running Places is about more than just running for fitness: it will create a safe space where people can enjoy shared experiences, reach goals together and be part of a community where no one is left behind.”