DARLINGTON'S Quakers Running Club hasn’t run out of motivation due to Covid-19 and members can’t wait to get back to normal training sessions again as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The QRC re-started semi-normal training sessions in April. During lockdowns, online and solo running challenges have kept members on their toes, whilst members have also been doing quizzes and t-shirt competitions to stay connected.

Each month, Lee Morris, lead coach, has created a Spotify playlist with a theme, for example, the year 1995, when the QRC started.

“It’s just a nice way to lift people’s spirits and that 1995 playlist was a particularly cracking playlist,” he said.

With marathons cancelled last year, some members have been training for virtual marathons and 10ks.

Philippa Rayner, club development officer, said it has been important to support members but also be responsible towards Covid risks.

“With Covid we’ve had to be really responsible. Obviously we can’t have 20 Quakers running down the old railway line because it’s just not the right thing to do,” she said.

“For members who haven’t been with us very long, a 10K is a massive achievement and we want to ensure our members have the support they need.

“For a lot of people, the social interaction is just as beneficial to their well-being as the actual running.”

“We are a very community-centred club and I think that’s the appeal.”

The QRC arranged to do small group training at Abbey Road Sport Field but most members were still hesitant at first due to Covid.

Mr Morris said his motivation had come in peaks and troughs during the pandemic and was relieved when training re-started last Summer.

“On the first night we had three people turn up. We had capacity for 12 but by the end of the summer we had a waiting list.”

“We realise that loads of our members run for their mental health and my role is to be an ear and signpost people to possible services,” added Mr Morris, who is also the mental health champion for the club.

The club usually offers various social events throughout the year, including a Christmas party which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Find out more about Quakers Running Club at quakersrunningclub.org.uk