Weekly update 23/03/2020
Radcliffe AC has set up virtual running sessions and a hardship fund to help members during the coronavirus crisis.
The club announced the moves because of the restrictions on people socialising and the financial impact that coronavirus is having on some members.
Chairman Chris Paxton said: “As scientists and health professionals work hard to fight COVID-19 and try to minimise its impact on our physical wellbeing, it is worth remembering that the economic impact of the virus is already being felt by our members and the wider community.
“At times of uncertainty it is important that society comes together and rallies around those in need of support.
“With that in mind the committee agreed to a number of measures it can take to help.”
Members affected financially by coronavirus will be able to apply for financial assistance for food and bills, and for grants to buy training equipment such as trainers.
All members, including juniors, will be able to renew their membership in April free of charge and any nightly fees will be waived.
And anyone who isn’t a member of another running club will be able to join Radcliffe AC for free if they live within a certain radius of the club’s base at Radcliffe Leisure Centre.
The club is also posting virtual training sessions on Facebook, WhatsApp and Strava for people to follow where and when they want. Members then post their runs on Strava with a spot prize awarded each week for the longest distance, most effort or even the most imaginatively named run.
Mr Paxton added: “We have lots of members who were training for events, including the Manchester Marathon, and some said they they had lost their motivation, especially with our club sessions cancelled.
“An important part of the club is also the social aspect and people are also missing getting out and catching up with their friends.
“We thought virtual training sessions would be a good way of allowing people to follow their passion, have some fun and stay in contact with other members without having to meet.
“Anybody who loves running, and can’t do it for any reason, will know how hard it is. We hope that our virtual runs will help to keep people’s spirits up as mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing.
“We are renowned for being a friendly and supportive club and coronavirus won’t stop that.”
RAC member Debi Warrington said: “I work in retail and, like a lot of people in this sector, I’ve had my hours cut. These are worrying times for me and I know it will be for other club members. It’s a great idea the club has had to set up a hardship fund and virtual racing which together I know will make a real difference to club members.
“The club has always been there to support its members through good and bad and I really appreciate it. We feel more like a family.”