Athletics East Fun Runners: A Step Ahead
Up for a run? Grab a coffee too with the Athletics East Fun Runners. Celebrating 20 years of putting its best foot forward, this running club welcomes all shapes, sizes and speeds.
After being involved with Athletics East as a runner for seven years, Wayne Morgan became a coach. Following a number of requests, Wayne helped form the sub-group Fun Runners for those wanting to enjoy running without the pressure of having to compete with serious runners. He became the coach of Athletics East Fun Runners and is on the Committee of AE Inc.
“In the first intake, we probably got 20 people of all ages, which is what we wanted to attract: people in their late teens right through to a couple in their 70s.” Wayne says. Fun Runners still has people from across the age groups: “One of our members is celebrating their 79th birthday soon!”
Fun Runners has continued that way – this year is its 20th anniversary. “We just want people to know all the benefits of running; we want people to continue to be healthy and happy,” Wayne says. “It’s good for your body and for your brain. It’s just a fun activity,” he observes. “Many people say it’s also a fantastic way to start your weekend!”
The many health effects of running are well documented and it is supposed to help people live longer. “Older people should be doing regular exercise,” Wayne says, “So if we can get people running and get them fitter – lungs work so much better and heart conditions can reduce.”
Wayne further reports how some members have significantly reduced knee pain while others have really surprised him in terms of their stamina and weight loss, as well as maintaining it.
Athletics clubs can often intimidating: “They’re way, way too fast and comprise very young people; so older, slower people don’t want to join,” Wayne observes. In the eastern suburbs, there are a number of running clubs which are quite serious – in fact, one includes this year’s winner of the City To Surf.
Every year, after the famous local fun run is held, people often seem lost, Wayne has observed. “They’ve trained and they’ve done the City To Surf, and then there’s kind of nowhere for them to go,” he says. Fun Runners is a popular and obviously fun as well as healthy alternative.
The Fun Runners groups are arranged according to capability and include a walking group.
Downing a hot beverage is all part of the journey: “Our side is a little bit more social; our group has a bit of a coffee problem so we interrupt running for a coffee,” Wayne explains.
Fun Runners meets twice a week – a long run, the designated training run, is held on Saturday mornings from Centennial Park. Afterwards a big group of head out for coffee in Paddington. Monday training is also based in Centennial Park and done with a coach. “Every Monday night we do something different,” Wayne explains. Afterwards the group usually goes out for dinner, often in Randwick.
At the moment the group is focusing on the Maroubra Fun Run, which has also been going for around 20 years. It takes place at the end of October and is only a 4km or 8km run – participants can do one or two loops. “There’s a big hill in it – so we’ll be focusing on that. We’ll be training people how to approach it,” Wayne says.
Fun Runners mixes with other clubs as well putting on its own events. And everyone is welcome.
“We have all sorts of people, all sorts of nationalities. We have a fun time,” Wayne enthuses.
Those interested should check out the site https://athleticseastfunrunners.teamapp.com and FB for details. “People can just show up if they want to,” Wayne says in typical Fun Runners friendly fashion. And to ensure you enjoy it to the max: “Just bring some water and have the right gear on – especially correct running shoes!”