The Fliers - a runaway success!
Published on: 24 Nov 2016
A POPULAR running club started by two local men to give something back to the community is celebrating its first birthday this month.
The Stanbridge Fliers started off with just five runners in mid-December last year but now, after the word got out via social media, the numbers have swelled to 30 who attend each week.
The Downend running group was set up by Matt Mundy and James Baker to encourage people to get more involved with the community and make friends.
James and Matt, who are also members of Frampton Cotterell Harriers running club, believe that running with a group gives people a sense of community.
James, a teacher at Stanbridge Primary, said: “Whether you're running socially together, volunteering at a parkrun, or cheering on your teammates at a race, it's fun and rewarding to be connected with like-minded people and be part of something that's bigger than you.
“Runners can really relate to each other and are supportive of one another through running (and non-running) problems and triumphs.
“I am so proud at how far the group has come and in one year; we have not only set up the running group, but a School Gates running group as well.
“These sessions on a Monday morning are led by Emma Wood who is a parent at the school and a Fliers leader. She is an amazing lady who quietly inspires the people around her.
“That group is going from strength to strength. In school many of the classes go outside for daily runs and we also have a ‘Mini Fliers’ running club for pupils aged six to 11 on a Thursday after school.”
Indeed, for the Stanbridge Fliers it’s about the three ‘Fs’ – Fitness, Fun and Friendship.
Matt added: “Our group has a family feel to it. The Fliers are so welcoming and they love their social running.
“Of course fitness is of paramount importance, but without friendship and certainly not fun, people will not want to go out for a run on a cold, wet winter’s night in December.”
The group has also just successfully completed its first Couch to 5k programme.
About 30 members completed the free course and graduated at Chipping Sodbury parkrun. They are set to join the Fliers on a Wednesday night and participate in ‘Stepping Stone’ sessions to help them become established runners..
One of the Couch members, Kelly Collis, said that she was so pleased to be part of the group and that she would never have started running otherwise.
Another Couch runner, Kelly Walters, said: “It is such a brilliant and lovely group to be part of and I really enjoy running which is never something I thought I would say.
“What is really good is that my children have been inspired to run now which is great as it is will improve their fitness too.”
If you’d like to join the group, you can find them on Facebook - Stanbridge Fliers - or their website www.stanbridgefliers.co.uk.
They run on a Wednesday night at 6pm - meeting in the Stanbridge Primary School car park.
Happy to be highly visible
MEMBERS of Stanbridge Fliers are celebrating after securing sponsorship from Ocean Estate Agents for hi-viz running tops for winter runs.
As the running group is free, the sponsorship is really important as it will help keep the runners safe on the dark winter nights without anyone being out of pocket.
Scott Hudson, who works at the branch in Downend, said: “As a local resident and a proud father of two at Stanbridge School, I was delighted to be able to help."
The Fliers will also have a new group leader in the form of Jer Cross in the New Year. Fellow runner Charlotte Spencer has also applied to be a Mental Health Ambassador for the group. Another Couch to 5k course is planned for Spring 2017.
In the meantime members will be out and about this December running the five-mile Saltford Santa Dash and carol singing at residential homes in the lead-up to Christmas.