GEOCON High Society Masthead

Running with the pack: group running for women in Canberra

Alison Senti

Okay – for this story intro to work, you need to channel the hushed, dulcet tones of Sir David Attenborough, eminent English naturalist….work with me here!

“Pack Runners move quietly in the pre-dawn, making little noise other than the slap-slap of their treaded rubber hooves and the occasional cry of ‘bike, front!’.  Always maintaining their two-abreast formation, they proceed swiftly on their curious mission, forever keeping left. Should the Pack leader falter, the weakling is sheltered at the rear until they regain their strength. Toting feed and hydration supplies in small, unusual vessels stowed about their bodies, the Pack keeps an ever- watchful eye for their natural predator, MAMILis pelatonis cyclists, using their reflective hide markings to warn off those looking to distract them from their course. At the conclusion of their ritual Saturday migration, Pack members comfort each other, tend to superficial wounds, and then immediately arrange the next Pack run…”

We’ve previously told you how get run-ready – set a goal, get your kit sorted, find a buddy, eat right and look after your body, and enjoy the benefits of your improved vitality. If you are looking for that next running challenge – middle to long distance running – then you would do yourself no harm by finding a supportive running group to help push you into unknown territory.

Like a herd of beasts, group running relies on the strength of the collective to protect and nurture its young (okay I’m going to lose the David Attenborough thing now!). When you run with someone else, you share the pain, the triumphs and double your motivation. So how does running with a group work, and what are the benefits?

Canberra is blessed with many fitness groups for those wanting to push it to the next level.  There are a bunch of clubs for group running, including Females in Training (FIT), Parkrun and various local athletics clubs.  One of Canberra’s most popular groups is the YMCA Runners Club of Canberra (formerly the ACT Cross Country Club, now the YCRC) with around 1,000 members whose abilities range from new runners through to veterans, most with with many half marathons and marathons under their belts.

The YCRC has five kilometre and half marathon (21.1km) training groups starting soon, each of which will support and guide you through a structured program.

If you are new to this running caper, the five kilometre training group may be just right for you.  The program kicks off on 16 February for seven weeks and aims to have you run in the Women and Girls Fun Run on 6 April. You’ll run three times per week – Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. An info session will be held at 6pm on Wednesday 12 February at the Y’s Aquatic Recreation Centre, 25 Alexandrina Drive Yarralumla. Cost is $145 including membership to the YMCA Runners Club – all details for inclusions are on the website.

For the more experienced runner, the half marathon program starts on 1 March, and assumes you have got the basics under control – you can comfortably run 8km. By running three times per week over the 12 weeks of the program you will increase your long run by 1-2km each week. No shock-and-awe tactics here: this program is proven and will minimise likelihood of injury if you build slowly and consistently. The $225 fee includes the training program, Club membership, entry into the Weston Creek Half Marathon (as a relay team) and entry into the YMCA of Canberra Half Marathon in May. An info session for this group will also be at the Y’s Recreation Centre at 6pm on Wednesday 19 February.

The fees for both programs also include a nifty Club t-shirt and drink bottle.

The YCRC team is chock-full of experienced runners of all ages and abilities; these guys have seen it all when it comes to events, injuries, food and hydration, clothing, shoes and recovery.  All this experience is yours to tap into if you choose to sign up. Groups for both programs will be limited to about 60 participants – so get primal, sign up and run with the pack.



Alison Senti

Alison Senti is a child-rearing, part-time working, globe-travelling, gourmet-gutsing, marathon-running, shoe 'collecting' second generation Canberran who likes to take life by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake. Most of her stories on Her Canberra are selfishly of interest to her personally! More about the Author