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Running Group Leader Receives Regional Recognition

His words of encouragement have helped swell the numbers of people who regularly pound the streets of Swindon...And now Steve Goulding has been recognised for giving up hours of his time each week to coach and mentor aspiring runners after receiving a prestigious award.

Steve, who is the group leader of the Swindon Shin Splints, was presented with the 2012 Run England Leader of the Year award for the South West as part of the England Athletics National Awards and Hall of Fame programme in Exeter on Wednesday 5th December.

The Shin Splints group was formed by Swindon Borough Council’s Cathy Caulfield with the help of five experienced runners in May 2010 and has seen its membership grow to more than 400 runners.

It aims to help runners of all abilities to improve and to train regularly and in particular to train for either the 13.1-mile Swindon Half Marathon, the five-mile multi terrain or the two-mile fun run.

Volunteer mentors are always on hand to give out handy hints and tips on how to prepare for all of the three races at the Swindon Half Marathon event. The Shin Splints operates four sub groups including a rolling beginners’ group, so that people can join at any time throughout the year. This also applies to regular runners who want to join the group at any level.

Steve joined the group in August 2010 and, since then, has been a regular fixture at the club running a 10-week course for beginners on Saturday mornings as well as organising routes for the running group’s more experienced runners. He has also been assisted by a number of volunteer mentors who also give up their time for free to help motivate and encourage members.

The vast majority of complete beginners who have joined the Shin Splints have gone on to regularly run 5km, 10km, half marathons and even marathons.

Steve said: “I have been running for over 25 years now and in that time I have seen the sport become one that is enjoyed by thousands. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are now pounding the streets of Swindon, whether it’s training for a marathon, relaxing or just for fun.

“For me, being involved with the group has been incredibly rewarding as I have watched people who have never run before go on to tackle 5km, 10km and even marathons.
“But most importantly those people have in turn used their new found experiences to help and support the new runners to the group. It’s like one big happy family.”

Cllr Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Strategic Transport, said: “I would like to congratulate Steve for receiving recognition for all his hard work and to thank our other volunteer mentors who also give up their time to inspire and motivate so many people.

“The Shin Splints has been an incredible success and I would encourage anyone who wants to join a running club or those that want to catch the running bug to pop along and see what the group has to offer.”

The Shin Splints are running a new beginners’ course from Saturday 19th January and new members are always welcome.

The group meets at The Sun Inn, Coate Water at 8.45am on Saturdays and at 6.15pm at the same location on Wednesdays for a training run.

Anyone interested in joining the Shin Splints should just meet in the Sun Inn at Coate Water at 8.45am on any Saturday morning, call Cathy on 07977 915606 or visit the group's Facebook page

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