Every step matters for the Sole Sisters runners

Two photos of Sole Sisters runners by the Living Landmarks plaques on The Common East.
Sole Sisters runners visit the Living Landmarks plaques on The Common East.

By Caroline Doidge, Sole Sisters running club.

It’s been over five months since our club has been able to meet, based on government and England Athletics guidelines. A real first for us, as in our 20-year history as a club, we have met every Monday evening (Wednesdays on Bank Holidays), come rain or shine, light nights or dark wintry evenings. Nothing stops the Sole Sisters.

In April, Sole Sisters kept running or walking, like most people, as part of the daily exercise allowance, posting our solo activities on the club Facebook page. The coaches created a video, each running and passing the virtual water bottle to each other as a message of support, encouragement and solidarity, in a time when we couldn’t be together as a club.

May arrived and we started to track our collective mileage. One of the coaches counted every mile walked or ran by a Sole Sister. We wanted to know how far we could go, and every step counted. We were missing each other, our family and friends near and far, but the May Miles Mini League, took us on a journey without breaking the rules. Club members, collectively, covered a total distance of 3,851 miles, averaging 124 miles a day. We all did so well, we were ticking off our holiday destinations (cancelled holidays). By 10th of May we had covered the distance needed to get us to the south coast of Spain. Six days later it was Crete, then Egypt. By the end of the month our club mileage could have taken us (from Baileys Court) to Nevada in the USA, Cancun in Mexico, Kenya, or even the Chinese province of Qinghai.

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May saw us go a long way, but we wanted more, as well as walking and running miles, we tracked our elevation, to see what mountains we could climb (virtually of course). In just 12 days our collective elevation took us to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro (and back down again). I used to think that us Sole Sisters avoided hills, but things where definitely changing. By 26th June, we had climbed Mount Everest, Kilimanjaro and more.

We did climb mountains, and in two months, we covered over 7,500 miles. Crossing oceans and continents, we walked and ran our way to Australia – a fantastic achievement.

In June we should have been holding our annual Bradley Stoke 10k. The event didn’t take place, but sisters (who normally, plan, organise, marshal and make the event happen), ran the route throughout the month. Each time, donating money, and raising £180 for the Brightwell Centre (MS Therapy Centre). Well done Sisters.

For July and August, we stopped counting miles and focused on having fun and adventure with the Scavenger Hunt series – a collection of weekly challenges that has seen us running together and finding/discovering hidden gems in the local area, then posting our findings on the club Facebook page. Did you know there are approximately 15 Living Landmarks plaques, detailing the history of the area? If not, go and find them, it’s a great way to get out running. We did, and we loved it. These challenges have seen us go from Solo Sisters back to Sole Sisters, and really enjoying our runs in small groups.

Photo of Sole Sisters runners at the Jubilee Centre.
Sole Sisters runners at the Jubilee Centre.

We hope that it will soon be safe enough for us to meet again as a club. But no matter how long it takes for us to be able to return to Monday club nights, I am sure the first night back will be more talking than running, as we will have so much to catch up on.

When we do return, we hope we can plan when we will be able to reinstate our beginners’ courses and welcome new runners to our club. Anyone interested in joining Sole Sisters should check solesistersrc.co.uk for joining information and details of beginners and club runs (when they start again).

Happy running, from all the Sole Sisters.


Living Landmarks plaques in Bradley Stoke

Within Bradley Stoke, there are ten Living Landmark plaques sited at places of historic interest. A further series is dotted around Patchway. The ceramic information panels mounted on pink limestone boulders are the fruits of a Heritage Lottery funded project organised by Southern Brooks Community Partnership in 2007. Find out more and view a location map at http://bit.ly/bsj-living-landmarks

This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 10 & 11). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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