The Salford family kick starting community fitness by running 2500 miles and teaching 250 people to run 5k

4th April 2019

Exactly two years ago the Thompson family of eight, from Winton, were concerned about their weight and fitness. They admitted to overeating, snacking too much on unhealthy foods and not doing enough exercise.

Two years on, Guy is now a run director for their local Park Run, they’ve set up a beginners running club of their own, have lost three stone between them and run 2500 miles (and counting). Here’s how they did it.

Back in January 2017, Becky and Guy Thompson decided to set a good example to their six children, aged between four and 17, to encourage healthy habits that would stay with them for life. Along with other Salford families, the Thompson family entered a scheme to receive a free six-month gym and swim membership through Salford Community Leisure, and were picked as clear winners.

The Thompson’s journey began with the #OneYouSalford campaign, which saw Salford Community Leisure working with Salford City Council and Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (Salford CCG) to encourage families in the area to make the most of their community sports and recreation facilities in order to improve and enhance their own health and wellbeing.

Guy (41), Becky (36) and their children Jordan (19), Connor (17), Jessica (13), Guy (12), Lucy (7) and Ava aged 6 applied to be a part of #OneYouSalford through Salford Community Leisure as they wanted to improve their fitness levels. The busy family-of-eight also wanted to spend more quality time with one another.

The family embraced the opportunity and literally ran with it to the extent that now, two years on, Guy and Becky have got the running bug and dedicate all their free time to helping others through their new, free, running club GMCR.

In 2017, the whole family set off on their own fitness journey. The younger two daughters went swimming regularly and mum and dad started to use the gym, participate in Park Runs and started road running. It took a few months before Guy and Becky were confident runners. It was a slow and difficult start but within six-months-to-a-year, results started to show.

In August 2018 the running bug had taken a tight hold on the family and Guy and Becky became trained as Run Leaders and set up their own running club, GMCR, at which groups of people train to learn to run a full 5k in ten weeks or less. The majority of people joining GMCR have never run before and some have pre-existing health conditions including arthritis, back pain and obesity.

Guy Thompson, says:

“We’ve turned our lives around thanks to Salford Community Leisure giving us the kick start that we needed. We love health and fitness now and can see the clear benefits of exercise so much so that we want to help others in our local community realise their own potential. Its addictive this helping people!”

GMCR is a free local beginners running club that has been set up to help non-runners run 5k. Guy Thompson believes that he can convert anyone to try running and improve their fitness through running.

Runs take place on the Worsley Loop Line and at Cleveley Running Track, which was supported by Salford Community Leisure in its trial phase. The next C25K group started on 1 April - people can join at anytime.

Guy explains:

“The OneYouSalford campaign from Salford Leisure really started our family’s healthy journey. I felt that it was just what we need to motivate our wellbeing goals for 2017 and beyond. I do suffer with arthritis but it doesn’t stop me from doing most exercise and this is what I communicate to other people at our running club.’

Currently GMCR has 80 members. Beginners are welcome and the programme starts every ten weeks. Members that that have already been through the programme join to do a 5k social run after the running training at 10am every Friday. Guy and Becky have worked incredibly hard to recruit members from all walks of life and all shapes and sizes. With two children at primary school, they have recruited teachers and parents amongst many other people that they encounter in the whole Salford area.

Says Becky:

“We are an entry level running club, accessible and free to everyone in the community. We are friendly, approachable and relatable. If people want to simply learn how to run 5k independently then that’s our job done but we are finding that 80% of our members get the running bug. It’s great to see our members’ progress. We have many members that have a lost a great deal of weight and to see and hear how happy they are with these life changes is very rewarding”

Mark Chew director of leisure at Salford Community Leisure, says:

“The Thompson family are an inspiration. We are very proud to see how their journey has evolved from when they joined Salford Community Leisure in 2017. They are a shining example of just what can be achieved in terms of improving health and fitness in the local community.”

Find out more about GMCR.

Editorial information

Alison Short at Project Communications 07530 732 071 or projectcommunicationsAS@gmail.com.

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