The Winsome Run

a running blog

Janathon Day 4 – A Breakaway Club Run


My running club struggles to attract and retain women (in contrast to almost every other running club in the country!) and is currently going through some soul searching over the possible reasons and potential remedies. My thoughts are that the pace of the runs is too fast. I like the club, and running 4 or 5 miles on a Thursday night at a higher pace than I’m used to is good for my running however I can’t do my long runs with them: I’m dropped within a mile and the remainder of the run is soul destroying.

Yesterday at parkrun, I was chatting to two of my female club-mates who are also parkrun regulars. We were discussing the issue and discovered we all felt the same about the pace of the longer runs, so we decided to form a one off breakaway group and run together this morning.

We met at 10 am in a cold and frosty Victoria Park (strangely empty without the usual 200 other runners) and headed towards the River Clyde. It was not quite as icy as I expected, although we took to the grass verges from time to time. We ran 6 miles at a nice easy 11:00 min/mile pace and were able to chat and enjoy the scenery, which was at its best.

River Clyde, Glasgow

River Clyde, Glasgow


Now I’m off to a club meeting for jog leaders. One of the agenda items? How to retain women in the club 🙂

Running: 14.1 miles


12 thoughts on “Janathon Day 4 – A Breakaway Club Run

  1. I was a member of a running club, and we had the same issue: difficulty in attracting and retaining women. I felt that new female members, especially those new to running, would feel bad about holding faster runners back. This was the case even when someone buddied up with them so they weren’t alone – ‘go on, I don’t want to hold you back’ would be the type of thing they’d say. They’ve tried lots of initiatives to encourage more women members, like paying for women to enter a women’s only race, women’s Wednesdays etc. In the time I was with the club, lots of women would join and try it a few times, maybe longer, but often I wouldn’t see them after that. I’m not sure what else the club could do to retain the female members to be honest.

  2. My club has same issue, us plodders can do the miles not the speed. We don’t like to hold them up, some club nights we splinter in to three groups. Would be interested to see how your club resolves the issue. Glad you had a good run with the breakaway group! X

    • Interesting to know we’re not alone! We usually have 3 to 4 runs of different distance but they speeds vary a lot from week to week depending on the jog leader. I’ll keep you posted!

  3. Interesting. It’s precisely the reason I’ve been put off joining a running club. I’m not fast and would be worried about either being left behind (defeating the purpose of running with others in a club) or holding people up. I do like the idea of running with other people though, so maybe I should just get over myself! Lovely looking run by the way – I enjoyed a riverside run today too, though in much gloomier conditions.

  4. Soul-destroying pretty much sums it up, though with a little planning, your run leaders should be able to structure the runs to cope with a variety of paces. On our club run this morning, the coach kept giving anchor points – faster people could go on ahead, but when they reached that point, they looped back to the group again. 5 points was enough to keep us together over 10 miles and everyone seemed happy enough with the arrangement.

  5. did you take those pics on a mobile? they are awesome!!

  6. Yep – iPhone 5c. It’s loads better than my camera!

  7. Great pictures! Hope you can solve the problem, but your breakaway group seems to work as an idea!

  8. The Club I belong to has handicapped races so we al finish at about the same time. I hope you find a solution 🙂

  9. They’re fantastic photos! I’m afraid that I have little to add on the women’s running club issue. I don’t belong to a club. I’ve thought about it in the past, and I have been put off where there isn’t a lot of information on a website about how fast people run, the make up of the groups etc. Hope you work it out though!

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