A community running group has set out with the aim of making Liverpool a less lonely place for women.
In the process, it has encouraged hundreds to be active and social in a safe environment.
Every Saturday and Sunday Sefton Park sees more than 100 of Liverpool’s women from all ages and abilities come together to run walk and jog without the pressure a lot of young women feel when exercising alone.
Girls on the Go was set up by Stephanie Barny after experiencing the exclusivity of other running clubs where members were already active and usually with a substantial starting distance. This inspired birth of the amateur running group which is fuelled on fun and friendships.
The 22-year-old said: “A lot of beginners running groups start at 5km, and we don’t believe that’s always right, as we wouldn’t have been able to do that.
“We wanted to start a real beginner friendly club and start from the start with one kilometre, building up. Then we decided, actually this is getting quite popular, so we do the Saturday 1km and on Sunday we are progressing every week.”
Barny alongside close friend Catlin Lewing did their first run with 20 girls at the start of September and entered February with more than 970 club members and 160 amateurs joining them across the weekend.
She said: “Most our girls haven’t run before and that’s why we’ve set up the group and why we’ve made it so beginner friendly.
“We have girls who turn up and think they can’t run a 1km, and they do it and look like they’re about to cry because they thought they’d never be able to do it, which really does make it all worthwhile.”
Holly, one of the girls who has been with the group from the beginning, reinforced this point.
She said: “I looked at joining other groups, but they all started at 5km and that was too much for me, so this was the perfect opportunity. I found my first run really hard, but they’ve been getting easier, especially with the support of the other girls.”
The heart of Girls on the Go will always be running, but that hasn’t stopped it from blossoming into events and activities for anyone and in the process members have raised over £3,000 for a range of Merseyside-based charities the group works closely with.
Lewing added: “We also wanted to create more safe spaces for girls to actually hang out. To do this we are collaborating with yoga instructors, independent venues, and small businesses so there is something for everyone.
“It’s not always the easiest having a chat whilst running. You’re out of breath. Hopefully these events will give people a break so they can chat and get to socialising.”
The wellness club has accumulated nearly 30,000 followers across their social media platforms, pushing their passion about empowering women through fitness and friendships further to encourage more to get involved. Find out more about their events @GirlsontheGo
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