We all love goalball but with most clubs now taking a short break before the start of the new season – feeling inspired by the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics (plus the summer sunshine) – maybe you are considering taking up an additional sport or physical activity?

If so, running is one possibility. It is a great way to build up your cardiovascular fitness and requires minimum specialised equipment. It is very inclusive with lots of local running clubs and groups catering for participants of all levels of ability. Furthermore, if you want to set yourself a challenge, there are countless races (varying in distances and terrain) all around the UK that you can enter.

Here are some signposts to more information and opportunities:

parkrun has already returned in England and Northern Ireland and is due to begin again in Scotland on Saturday 14th August and Wales on Saturday 21st August. Many members of the #GoalballFamily are already keen parkrunners (having participated in our #parkrunToTheParalympics challenge). For those who aren’t yet familiar with parkruns, they are free 5k walk/jog/runs that take place in parks around the UK on a Saturday morning – there are also 2k Junior parkruns on a Sunday morning (for 4 to 14 year olds). There is a parkrun Facebook group page specifically for VI runners where information and ideas can be shared. You can also post requests for guide runners. Alternatively, you can directly email any parkrun (details are available on each individual parkrun web page).

Keira stood next to an Itchen Valley parkrun banner

Couch to 5k app
If 5k is too far to begin with, you can gradually build up your fitness using the ‘Couch to 5k’ app. This is a 9 week running plan specifically designed for beginners. However, there are also lots of similar apps and downloadable training plans for different distances and abilities (e.g. improvers and advanced). You can even choose to be chased by Zombies! To monitor and record your runs there are also various accessible tech options available.

VI running groups
There are a couple of VI running groups who hold regular training sessions, take part in races and just generally connect VI runners and guides. VI Runners Bristol meet on a Wednesday evening (at 7pm at different locations) whilst over in London, Achilles International UK meet on a Thursday evening (at 6pm at Green Park Tube Station). There is also a ‘Running Blind’ group for VI’s and Guide Runners in Northern Ireland.

Find a Guide database
The England Athletics and British Blind Sport ‘Find a Guide’ database can be used by VI runners to do just as the name implies – Find a Guide! You simply enter your postcode and it will tell you about guide runners (who have been trained and DBS checked) local to you. You can then directly contact them and decide where, when and how far to run.

Image shows Gemma mid run with her guide runner

Great Bristol Run 10k VI Challenge
On Sunday 19 September, the 10k VI Challenge will be happening as part of the Great Bristol Run. This is the first time that such an event (for recreational VI runners) will take place in the UK. The VI runners will set off ahead of the mass start and special medals will be presented to the first 3 Men and the first 3 Women to finish.

If you would like more information about anything running related, please contact Kathryn Fielding (Tel. 07795 263642 or email kathryn@goalballuk.com).Visit the British Blind Sport shop for Guide Running bibs and tethers.

Please remember to tag @GoalballUK and use #RunForFunInTheSun in any social media posts.