On a Tuesday evening in October 2006, eleven local residents met at the Memorial Gardens in Petts Wood in response to a poster put up at the railway station for those interested in running to meet up as a club and run in company while exercising.
Since then, there has been a Tuesday club run every week, during which time the membership of Petts Wood Runners has grown to 240.
Although runs during the evenings between September and April have to be undertaken on pavements, the light spring and summer evenings enable the runners to go out and explore the local Petts Wood and Hawkwood Estates managed by the National Trust, as well as during longer Sunday morning runs, adding considerably to the enjoyment of our members as a change of scene from the built-up areas and hard surfaces where we usually run.
In fact, the softness underfoot is very beneficial for runners whose legs experience a pounding on hard surfaces in the town, and when combined with the attractive environment in the woods, the opportunity to escape enhances the enjoyment of each run and remains in the memory for much longer than those in built up areas.
Many visitors to the area who run with us comment upon how fortunate the club is to have such facilities on its doorstep. For this reason, these woods were made the central feature of the club’s annual October 10k run when over half of the distance is run by the 700 participants within the green lungs of the Petts Wood and Hawkwood with the permission of the National Trust.
Additionally, ‘Run England’, the initiative set up to encourage and foster newcomers by forming into groups under leaders who have attended an England Athletics leaders’ course also find these woods to be ideal environment for those new to running.
The National Trust is therefore an ideal place for Petts Wood Runners and Run England groups, and also those who wish to run informally without group membership and benefit from the freedom enjoyed by exercise in a friendly and forgiving environment away from the noise and fumes of traffic.
For further information on Petts Wood Runners and on beginners’ running courses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Richard Dunstan