A Suffolk running club has formed a partnership with one of the county’s prestigious events venues, which will offer members exclusive social occasions and loyalty card discounts on food and drink in its bar and restaurant.
The offer has been made by Greshams Ipswich to Suffolk Trail Runners, which was formed four years ago and specialises in social and non-competitive off-road running.
The link up will benefit runners who are paid up members of Suffolk Trail Runners, whether or not they also choose to affiliate to the sport’s governing body. The running club’s membership scheme offers ‘first claim’ runners the chance to affiliate with England Athletics, but members may simply join the running club without affiliation for £5 and still benefit from the link up with Greshams Ipswich.
Mick Parker, from Greshams Ipswich, said: “Suffolk Trail Runners events are fun and friendly and the focus is not on being competitive but encouraging participants to enjoy their running. At Greshams Ipswich our business is founded on entertainment and enjoyment and we are already looking at ways in which we can work with Suffolk Trail Runners to our mutual benefit. One of the bonuses of the partnership is that as well as our fantastic events venues, bar and restaurant, we’re also lucky enough to have 25 acres of grounds right on the edge of central Ipswich so the club could host outdoor activities here too.”
Suffolk Trail Runners was set up by a group of four off-road running enthusiasts in 2015. Initially members joined via social media and the Facebook group promoting the runs now has more than 1,300 members. Affiliation to England Athletics means the club receives support for coaching, insurance for members and resources and training programmes to support the club’s development. Members get reduced entry to races.
One of the club’s founders, Keith Borrett, said: “We’ve kept to our original remit of being a friendly club that was open to all, regardless of whatever pace they run at – or even if they have never run before. As trail runners we choose off-road routes, usually starting from a pub or café so that the runners get to see some beautiful parts of the Suffolk countryside and can enjoy a social element with something to eat and drink afterwards. Being able to do this from Greshams Ipswich will be fantastic for runners in the Ipswich area but the generous loyalty discount for our paid-up members and the chance to hold some members-only events here will make us one of the best value running clubs in the region.
“However, although membership clearly brings additional benefits and we are now very much more than just a Facebook group, we will not be turning away from the ethos that the group was founded on. We want to be the running club for people who might previously have felt intimidated at joining a club, or believed they had to be of a particular standard. Our weekly runs will always be open to all and free to take part, they are not races and above all they are for fun.”
In the summer the club hosts weekly runs in the Suffolk countryside on Wednesday evenings as well as occasional weekend events. There is also a year-round Thursday night social run and curry evening often in the Stowmarket area. Participants are given a written description of the route and most run in small groups with those who haven’t tried trail running before welcome to join some of the more experienced runners.
Keith added: “The club really appreciates the offer from Greshams Ipswich and we look forward to working with them throughout the year. It’s a beautiful venue in a great location and has undergone a stunning refurbishment recently. It will be a pleasure to run from here and then come back and end the evening with a relaxing drink and a bite to eat from their extensive menu.”
To find out more about Suffolk Trail Runners and their forthcoming events, which are currently planned for Washbrook, Stanton, Sproughton, Woodbridge and Brantham visit their website www.suffolktrailrunners.org.uk/ or join the Facebook group Suffolk Trail Runners.
Pictured above are members of Suffolk Trail Runners celebrating the link up with Greshams Ipswich, left to right, Keith Borrett, Nikki MacSephney, Scott MacSephney, Marion Parks and Mick Parker.