A NEW couch to 5k 10-week programme will begin on Monday January 16th at Marl Pits Running Track in Rawtenstall.

The Rossendale Leisure Trust fitness regime is run by Michelle Heys and her daughter Alex Alvarez-Bleasdale who themselves were on the first couch to 5k course when it was organised by Up and Active. They enjoyed it so much; they now volunteer to run it.

Trust Facility Operations Manager Mark Kay said: “We have just finished a couch to 5k which started in October and we had 58 people on the course; I have known us to have as many as 90 people at the start.

“On week one, participants are partly walking and partly running and as they progress, they do more running than walking until at the very end they complete 5k without stopping.

“We find that people enjoy the social aspect of the programme and a lot of people do the couch to 5k and then return for the next 10-week session because they get a lot out of it. Being part of a group motivates them to keep on running.

“From a fitness perspective, couch to 5k is great to get people started on their running journey.”

It costs £10 for the 10-week programme and to book contact the reception at Marl Pits on 01706 226850. Participants can attend on Mondays or Wednesdays, or both days if they wish for the one-off fee.

Since the new running track was completed in September, it has been in regular use by groups including Rossendale Harriers, Rossendale Triathlon Club and special needs sports club Rossendale Rays, as well as being used by solo runners.

For a one-off £5 administration fee, users are given a code to access the track and nearly 300 people have already signed up to use the facility.

The track now lives up to its all-weather name as the new surface can still be used when it rains.

Mark added: “The track was used a lot during Covid when people could only look at a gym but were not able to exercise indoors, however it was not fit for purpose in its condition.

“The feedback we have had from people who have used the new track has been really positive. The spongy surface is useful for people using the track for recuperation if they have had an injury and it is an excellent facility for the community to use.”

The track was paid for thanks to a mammoth fundraising effort by the user groups and Rossendale Leisure Trust which raised £190,700 was raised towards the new track and Rossendale Borough Council added a further £100,000.

More was raised offline including £70k from the will of the late Harry Frost, a former councillor.

Cathrine Smyth Media.