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This run club is using fitness to support each other rather than competing: 'Nobody's left behind'

Run Club in Bristol stands apart from the crowd by focusing on community fitness rather than competition.

This run club is using fitness to support each other rather than competing: 'Nobody's left behind'
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @lhgrunclub

In today's age, it is of utmost importance to look after one's body. Unfortunately, this pursuit is not exactly great for the mental health of individuals, as it brings insecurities and comparison to mind. When competition creeps in, people shift their attention from being fit to trying to one-up the other. To avoid such negative manifestations, in 2019, Jay Medway established the Left Handed Giant (LHG) Run Club in Bristol, United Kingdon, per BBC. This club actively avoids the element of competition and instead emphasizes supporting each other. The idea seems to have touched a chord with many people as the club has become hugely popular in the locality within a few years.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | RUN 4 FFWPU
Representative Image Source: Pexels | RUN 4 FFWPU

Medway's initial objective behind establishing the club was to create a place for runners that was less "intimidating" and more productive. In this club, every person was applauded once they reached the finish line. It did not matter whether they were slow or took too much time everyone was worthy of praise in this establishment. Moreover, the club encourages participants to talk while running. As Medway says, "If you can't talk while you run, you're running too fast."


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by LHG Run Club (@lhgrunclub)


 

In this club, everyone is equal regardless of age, gender, sexual identity and body size. According to runner Robert Taylor, the group has been a boon for the LGBTQIA+ community. The community gives them the trust and belief that they are not alone. It is a safe space for them to express their emotions and feelings. "Especially in the dark at this time of year, it can be quite daunting to be on your own," he said. "So, it's nice to have a community around you that's inclusive and they can help you out if any problems occur."


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by LHG Run Club (@lhgrunclub)


 

When the club first started, there were just 17 members. But the count over four years and a literal pandemic has flourished beyond anyone's expectations. It has become so popular that almost 160 people turn up for their meetings. The routine is simple, the club has to meet two times a week in one of the Left Handed Giant pubs in Bristol, its namesake. After that, they need to run an entire loop around the city center. Medway ensures that no one feels left out and everybody's hard work is equally appreciated. Till the last person completes the round, everybody is clapped in. "Nobody's left behind, we're all in it together and it's more about talking to the person rather than the pace," she added.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by LHG Run Club (@lhgrunclub)


 

In Medway's opinion, when people are not face to face and away from the world's troubles during running, they are more open to talking with each other. Cat Hicks, a female runner in the group, is elated to be a part of the club. Not only does it help her prioritize fitness, but it also allows her to socialize with others in a protected environment. The woman shared that when she first moved into Bristol, the club helped her to make new friends. "It's just a really inclusive run club and because you're running, it's not really awkward," she said. The members have grown quite attached to the club. So much so that even in bad weather they turn up in huge numbers. "I didn't think I'd ever get this big, but it's great," Medway said. Now, she aims to help other runners establish a community like this in other places.

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