14th Nov, 2019

Running club in Solihull searching for training base

John Carlon 7th Nov, 2019

A RUNNING Club in Solihull is hunting for a new home following a rapid expansion.

Knowle and Dorridge Running Club has 250 members, but recently it has been without a base to meet and warm up.

The club currently meets by the Sainsbury’s Cafe in Dorridge on Wednesdays, after losing meeting bases three times over the past two years.

Chair of the club, Darren John, said: “We’re looking to build a semi-temporary facility to provide a home for our 250 members.

“We can’t cater to the demand and currently only have the space in the car park at Sainsbury’s as a sheltered venue for meeting, but this area isn’t the safest for a hundred runners to warm up.

“Demand for the club is now so huge we desperately need somewhere in Dorridge with access seven nights a week.

“Our efforts have secured a a £20,000 commitment from Sport England, and we hope that £15,000 to £25,000 could come from Council community infrastructure levy funding.

“If that bid fails we’ll have to look to corporate sponsorship or other grant funding schemes. Obviously if the likes of Tesla wanted to discuss Solar or Jaguar-Land Rover’s electric division wanted to support us in our green RunHub we’d be open to talks.

“We have reserves but being a relatively new club at 10-years-old, plus having grown massively over the last five years we’ve not got the greatest amount in the bank to fund it all ourselves yet.

“The plans for a RunHub would use recycled shipping containers, wooden cladding, Solar Panels and non-permanent foundations to make the hub as green as possible.

“We’d also like to open it up to as many endurance sports groups (Cycle Teams etc.) in the region and other community groups.

“We’ve recently hosted Dame Kelly Holmes and elite Ultra Runner Holly Rush and we’d really like to use the facility to host inspirational talks from people who can enthuse and inform athletes.

“There is no agreement as yet with Solihull Council, but they are open to us using space in or around Dorridge Village Hall.

“A rarely used space near Dorridge Village Hall would be ideal – having temporary foundations would allow the building to be relocated in the future if we could also find a piece of our own land – meaning if we used a small patch parkland near Dorridge Hall any land will never be lost.

“The fact this area is rarely used and is well secluded means any building would be sympathetic to the area and be relatively hidden. It’s also a rarely used as a park space due to Dorridge Village Hall being there.”

Knowle and Dorridge Running Club specialises in training adult runners, from sprints to marathons, Its runners compete in the Midlands in Division 1 of the Birmingham and Disctrict Cross Country League and the Midland Women’s Cross Country League.

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