Suffolk

Coronavirus: Suffolk running club's challenges 'boost mental health'

Rick Phillips and sons Hayden and Owen Image copyright Claire Phillips
Image caption Rick Phillips ran his back-garden mile with his sons Hayden and Owen

A running club has been getting creative with stay-at-home exercise challenges so its members can support each other through lockdown.

The latest saw runners from Kesgrave Kruisers in Suffolk covering a mile in their back garden - with many wearing fancy dress, and one running backwards.

Step-counting and calorie-burning have been among the other friendly contests.

Coach Rick Phillips said they were about "mental wellbeing" as much as physical fitness.

Image copyright Neil Hardwick
Image caption More than 40 runners have completed the Kesgrave Kruisers' Garden Mile

"It's encouraged our community to keep their motivation during these tough times," he said.

"We were concerned at the mental wellbeing of the members of the club, and we're trying to maintain a level of fun and involvement."

'Fun, positive vibe'

Mr Phillips, who ran his mile dressed as the Pokemon character Pikachu with sons Hayden, 11, and Owen, seven, said many of the club's varied membership came for the mental health benefits.

Despite not being able to hold its regular sessions, which attract up to 150 people, the club could still serve its community, he said.

"I like to run with others, but I also like to have the knowledge that others are there for us.

"The reason I became a coach is I want to be able to support others," he said.

Image copyright Anna Weiss-Hindle/Claire Rush
Image caption Anna Weiss-Hindle donned fancy dress for her garden mile, while Gavin Webber and his family pulled on their Kruisers tops

"People have said that it's really helped them to see other members of the club having fun and enjoying themselves. It's a really good fun, positive vibe."

Under government guidelines, people should keep their time away from home for exercise to a minimum - leading a host of athletes to complete long-distance runs and even marathons in their own gardens.

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