Despite only catching the running bug shortly before moving to Wimbish, on arrival Katy Robinson was moved to set up a group when she found herself a jogging buddy in fellow military spouse Sam Sanders. Two years – and almost 100 members – later, we caught up with the fleet-footed mum-of-three to find out more about Wimbish Wives Running Club (WWRC)…

“Most of my life I’ve moved around, meeting new people and making memories in different places,” says the avid runner, who grew up in a military family and has now been an army wife for ten years.

“I think bringing the community together is so important as a military wife,” Katy adds, explaining how her group is open to all women and ideal for those ladies keen to lace up but reluctant to do so alone. “We need to look out for each other when partners are away, like a step-in family.”

Prior to lockdown 3.0, the group were clocking up weekly runs in socially-distanced groups of six.

“This was a great way to meet ladies that had moved here during the first lockdown and didn’t get chance to go to any other groups,” continues Katy. “We all share the same love/hate relationship with running. The group is super-encouraging and it’s a safe place for women to share with no judgement at all. I ran right up to thirty weeks’ pregnant with my third child and the group were so supportive. We just have a knack for uplifting one another and I feel really humbled to be a part of it.”

Mutual motivation

In addition to regular runs, Katy has organised several competitions, supported charitable events and sourced medals to mark members’ milestones. Referring to the prizes, which include ‘most improved 5k’ and ‘best route art’, she says: “I like to keep the ladies motivated to try to challenge themselves.”

Making it work

Katy is quick to acknowledge the help she has from Sonya Johnson, Fernanda Rhead and Kate Davill in arranging sessions, creating routes and serving as co-admins of the club’s Facebook group. For Sonya, doing so is a welcome task: “I love being a part of the WWRC. It’s friendly, encouraging, flexible and helps bring us all together.”

Army spouse Ashley credits the group as being the catalyst for her passion for running, so much so that when she left on a posting to Germany, she created a group there. “I arrived just after the first lockdown,” she says. “With schools out and no coffee mornings it was difficult to meet anyone. So, I ran.”

And on noticing a few kindred spirits, she decided to follow Katy’s lead.

“It’s a small community here but the [Facebook] page has flourished,” Ashley adds. “I genuinely believe it’s helped everyone with their mental health and to get through lockdown.

“Katy deserves this award, not only for running the group in Wimbish but for being the inspiration for this one too.”

If you’re thinking of starting a running group on your patch, Katy says go for it: “I would 100 per cent recommend it if you think others will benefit. We have all connected over the same interest and made friends for life.”

If you know a person with a military connection who works hard to improve your local community, tell us about them – email editor@aff.org.uk 

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