A RUNNING group has picked up the pace with a fresh bid for affiliated status.

Since launching in May 2016, Run Knutsford has attracted a large membership across town, putting on a number of sessions each week for runners of all ages and abilities.

With seven qualified leaders now on board, the group hopes to continue to offer a unique social experience as it moves forward as an England Athletics-affiliated club in the new year.

Vicky McKinnon, who founded the club, said: “It’s been an idea in my head for a while but we officially launched in May 2016.

“There were about 12 people there, and I was expecting a lot of couch to 5k but we attracted a complete range.

“We got a grant from Active Cheshire for a few people to do a leadership qualification.

“We carried on with less than 20 members, and it dropped right down over the summer holidays but we kept going.

“In September we started again and gave a bit of a push for our beginners’ course.

“That attracted a lot of people, and then we had another spike in January.

“We have now got seven leaders and sessions three days a week, with a complete range from never having run before to sub-one-hour-30-minute half marathons.

“It’s great to see little groups from Knutsford Academy joining in as well – even through horrendous weather.

“At the same time we have people who have retired, so there is the full spectrum.”

The club’s new status will allow runners to represent the club in road races, bringing with it a new membership format including insurance and discounted race entry.

While this is expected to attract more high-level runners, the group’s stalwarts say nothing will change in terms of the feel-good factor the club offers.

Jane O’Brien said: “We are a really friendly bunch – it’s not like a standard running club in that everyone gets on really well and has a laugh.

“It’s formed a group where people aren’t just here for the running but for a catch-up as well.

“The 7.30pm start time means more people can get out and join in, it appeals to more people.

“On a Monday you might go home, have tea and sit on the sofa and watch telly.

“Instead this week we ran seven miles, and it doesn’t have to be really arduous.

“It’s not pressured at all – you don’t have to be a super duper runner, you are challenging yourselves.

“We are more competitive in little groups and push each other quite a bit.

“For anybody who is looking for something new or has a goal, is looking to start running or has moved into the area, it’s just a nice little club.

“You can either pay for the term or drop in and out for £2 a session.”

Sessions take place on Monday and Wednesday evenings from Beggarmans Lane, and Friday mornings from the Tatton Park Knutsford entrance.

Fees are £2 per session, per week; £20 per term for one session per week; and £25 per term for multiple sessions per week.

The first session for 2018 will be on Wednesday, January 3, and then as usual from Monday, January 8. Friday sessions will start on January 12.