Peter Vincent, of the Bros Pearse Athletics Club, explains how people of all fitness levels can benefit from training as part of a group:
"Bros Pearse AC is in existence for over 50 years but in recent years was seen predominantly as a juvenile club. In January, 2009, a number of workmates who were training for the Chicago marathon were encouraged to join and train together and the rest is history.
"Word spread in the Knocklyon area about what we were trying to do. We grew slowly but steadily and prospered well as the running and fitness boom kicked in.
"We now have well in excess of 125 people in the club and welcome all levels of runners from complete beginners to the experienced runner. We are attracting all levels at the moment, primarily by word of mouth, as the stories circulate on how the club philosophy on enjoyment first and foremost seems to bring out the best in people. Relaxed and happy runners train better, improve faster and are better at avoiding injuries.
"Our biggest success was converting over 50 beginners into real runners in six months. These people are all running races regularly, improving weekly and above all just enjoying the benefits that running has given them.
"They are healthier, happier, and more confident because they run. What greater success can we ask for when we have brought that much to so many?
"I think we will have about 20 members taking part in the Flora Women's Mini Marathon this year. It's a high-profile women's race, so it is important to families that they can get out and support their mum, their sister, their daughter, even their granny. When you have a race that buys into the affection of the general public with the support that they give their loved ones and the charities that they make a difference to, then it is hugely important."
Club member Debbie Hilliard, from Knocklyon, is taking part in the Flora Women's Mini Marathon for the fourth time. "I took up running just two years ago," she explains, "I began running in my local park and it was a very start-stop process at first. I decided to stick with it as it was the only way I could try to improve. Now, I try to get out three times a week with Bros Pearse AC. At the moment, there is a gang of us training for the Flora Women's Mini Marathon and no matter what time the clock shows when we finish, it will be a great personal achievement for everyone."