Guidelines for Club Runs – Run Leaders and Runners

These guidelines are for Run Leaders and runners to follow for the safety and enjoyment of all runners on club runs.

Please note that whilst the run leaders are responsible for the safe operations of the group, individual runners are still responsible for their own safety and the safety of fellow runners.

Training Session Ethos:

  • The aim of Club runs is to encourage and motivate Club members (and potential new members who are thinking of joining) to run.
  • Club runs are group sessions and so there is an explicit responsibility to support each other and the Run Leader.
  • Sessions are welcoming and friendly but are also training sessions, so all runners are expected to support the Run Leader delivering England Athletics good practice in respect of warm ups, drills, cool-downs and stretching etc.
  • All club runs need to be achievable for all runners within the group.
  • The pace of a club run should be dictated by the slowest runner in the group.
  • Looping back is mandatory and key to working as a team. This supports slower runners (we’ve all been there) and should not be seen as a chore.
  • Rest stops may be needed and can be initiated by anyone in the group.
  • Remember, we have all been the slowest in the group at some stage, please treat these runners with the same consideration that you would wish to be treated.
  • Run Leaders have the final say on runs. If you are asked by the run leader to slow down, double back or look after the group, then please do so.

The Basics:

  • All groups should look to complete a dynamic warm-up where possible.
  • Groups should be split into appropriate abilities so that the pace and distance guidelines from the associated page on the website for the training night can be met.
  • Groups should be kept to sensible and manageable sizes and there should be at least one Run Leader for every 10-12 runners and no group should exceed 20 runners in total.
  • All runners should arrive at least ten minutes before the advertised start times so that groups can be organised and can warm-up/leave at the advertised times.
  • All runners must adhere to current social distancing requirements.

All runners should:

  • Wear reflective clothing in the darker months (run leaders reserve the right to ask people to leave the run if they are not wearing appropriate reflective clothing.)
  • Carry some form of Identification and emergency contact details.
  • Not wear headphones.
  • Before the session starts, inform the Run Leader of any illness or injury concerns or if you are new or have recently moved up a group.
  • Bring appropriate medication if required.
  • Not run if feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 or are self-isolating.
  • Take note of the advertised pace and be advised by the Run Leader(s) as to which group you should run with.
  • Notify the Run Leader if you are leaving the run for whatever reason (or if that’s not possible, notify another member of the group).
  • Stay within contact of all members unless a split has been agreed with the Run Leader.
  • Faster runners should loop back at regular intervals or when requested to by the Run Leader.
  • If you choose to run with a group that is slower than your usual pace, do not run at the front of this group, stay back and help the leader otherwise your pace will dictate the group and make it harder for others in the group.
  • Look to place themselves in the appropriate group based on their ability. If they find themselves at the front of the group most weeks, consider moving up a group. Conversely, if they find themselves at the back most weeks, consider a slower paced group.
  • Cross on official road crossings wherever possible, all roads and road junctions should be approached with caution and only cross when safe to do so. Do not follow other runners across the road; ensure that you carry out your own checks before you cross. Mid-sections of a group tend to ignore traffic signals while following the front of the pack which can be particularly dangerous. Please re-group in full on the other side of the road.
  • Do not run more than two abreast especially in busy areas.
  • Give way to other pedestrians/path users when necessary.
  • Warn other runners around you of impending hazards, pedestrians, dustbins, low hanging branches, etc.
  • Look after the other runners within your training group, if someone is struggling make sure that they are not left on their own and inform your Run Leader.
  • Report any incidents unseen by the run leader to the run leader.
  • Should a welfare matter arise no matter how small then please report this to the welfare officers by emailing The welfare officers are there to help safeguard the
    health and well-being of members. This ranges from day-to-day good governance to members conduct or how members are feeling.

Run Leaders should:

  • Encourage and motivate the runners in the group by being friendly and welcoming.
  • Provide a fun and safe group running experience for the whole group.
  • Plan a route in line with the expected pace and distance, taking account of external factors such as the weather and according to the ability/ fitness levels of the group.
  • Familiarise yourself with the risks identified in the ‘Generic Risk Assessment Guidelines for Club Group Runs’.
  • Dynamically reassess the risks during the run and adapt as necessary for e.g. weather, group size, individuals ability or issues, distance and speed.
  • Brief the group on any hazards likely to be encountered.
  • Check with the group for any injuries that may affect them during the run and advise any runner who they feel is not well enough to run to not run.
  • Carry a mobile phone for emergencies or when this is not possible ensure that someone within the group has one.
  • Ensure that the pace of the group is determined by the needs of the slowest runner.
  • Ensure that EVERYONE in the group doubles back to keep the group together.
  • Note the number of runners at the start and finish of the run.
  • Not leave anyone behind for any reason.
  • Ensure that someone escorts runners who are unable to continue due to injury or illness, back to the start.
  • If the group is becoming unmanageable due to a wide range of abilities, split the group by asking other experienced runners/leaders to lead one of the sub-groups.
  • Stick to roads with pavements where possible. If there is no alternative, then take every precaution to ensure the safety of runners by avoiding main/busy roads and using the advice from the Highway Code as a bare minimum; single file, right hand side of the road into direction of traffic, reflective clothing, look-outs etc.
  • Stick to routes with adequate lighting when time of day/night dictates and be prepared to slow the group if lighting becomes inadequate to run safely.
  • If running off-road, be aware of trip hazards such as roots and be prepared to shout warnings.
  • Encourage group members to move up (or down) a group when appropriate.
  • If a runner consistently runs with an inappropriate group, talk to the run leader co-ordinator or Welfare Officer as appropriate.
  • Report any incidents to the run leader co-ordinator. If that person is unavailable e.g. on holiday, then report the incident to the club chair person.
  • Should a welfare matter arise, no matter how small, then please seek guidance from and report this to the welfare officers by emailing welfare officers are there to help safeguard the health and well-being of members. This ranges from day-to-day good governance to members conduct or how members are feeling.
  • Follow the ‘Group Runs, Process for Incident Management’, if an incident occurs.
  • If a Run Leader feels a group member is consistently not following the guidelines, discuss the circumstances with the run leader co-ordinator, Welfare Officer or Chair as appropriate.

If you have any comments or suggestions for this document or feedback regarding how the club does or does not implement and stick to these guidelines, please contact the Run Leader Co-ordinator. On training runs you are responsible for your own safety. These tips may be useful but are in no way exhaustive.