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Clapham Chasers benefits from the Club Run Support Programme. Endurance Coach Urban Bettag delivered three coached session to help the Clapham Chasers prepare for the Summer 5k.

The Clapham Chasers (aka ”Chasers”), identifiable by their blue-white- green coloured vest and bobble hats, are a Running and Triathlon club with more than 1000 members based in South-West London.

Initiated by a group of local runners back in 2005, the Clapham Chasers soon affiliated with England Athletics and experienced rapid growth over the next 15 years.

While there have been many notable performances by ”Chasers” in running and triathlon, most recently, at a national level, the Clapham Chasers’ women marathon team won the England Athletics Team Marathon championships.

The ”Chasers” base their self-understanding on the three pillars. The social aspect, inclusiveness and ambition. They provide support for a broad audience wanting to improve their running, cycling and swimming throughout the Wandsworth, Lambeth and Battersea catchment area. Often big groups of Clapham Chasers can be spotted training at Battersea Park on and off-track on a Sunday long runs around Richmond Park.

While experiencing a surge in memberships, the Clapham Chasers reached out to England Athletics and applied for the Club Run scheme. There is already an enthusiastic and keen training group in place. Many ”Chasers” take part in the Tuesday track session. The sessions have been top-rated. Consequently, the club is now considering offering another quality session on a weekday night. In preparation for the annual Clapham Chasers Summer 5k, England Athletics deployed Endurance Coach Urban Bettag. Coach Urban has worked along with Cathryn Rees, newly qualified Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) with the preparation of the Thursday ”Super” Track sessions.

As part of the Club Run, participating clubs will work together with a specialist endurance coach and deliver three regular quality sessions in support of the chosen running event. The ”Chasers” were no short of enthusiasm and determination. The sessions helped to address the athlete’s development needs and introduce best practice. For example, athletes were guided through a dynamic warm-up routine including mobility exercises, dynamic stretches and running form drills. A well-structured warm-up ensures athletes take the time to prepare for a quality session and avoid injury. During the sessions, we developed pacing, breathing and good running form.

”Chasers” felt these sessions helped them to get a different perspective on how they approach training and understand the benefits of a more structured session. The sessions introduced a sense of mentorship due to time constraints is not always a big part during a regular club night. Coaches were working with athletes and give them feedback on their form. ” Running faster is as much about becoming more efficient as it is about improving your cardiovascular capabilities.”, stated a Thursday night regular Chaser.

Quality sessions and interval training can be a daunting experience. The open and friendly training environment gave athletes a confidence boost. Having completed and executed the session well gave the Chasers a sense of accomplishment and motivation for future workouts. Some athletes saw immediate improvements in their 5k times, parkrun and the Chasers 5k.

”These sessions helped to ease me into more intensive track sessions and get comfortable with running harder. The smaller groups allowed for some individual pointers which I was able to apply in subsequent races (5k and 1 mile), with PBS in both. They were fun, despite the hard work! Thanks.”

”I am pleased to have taken part in this series. I think it has done wonders for my confidence and I have enjoyed taking part in sessions that I otherwise would not have tried (such as the last session, which was more geared towards middle distance running). The warm-ups were informative, and I now make time for these exercises before track sessions. I have taken a minute off my 5k PB this year, which I’m absolutely thrilled about. Thanks very much Cathryn and Urban for all your support.”

Coach Urban summarised, ”I enjoyed working with the Chasers. The group fully embraced the Club Run ethos and were focused during the sessions to get the most out of it. I was impressed by how everyone conducted themselves. Over time and with Cathryn leadership, I am confident that we will see more improvements from the training group.”

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