ABOUT THE CLUB

The club was founded by Caitlin Limmer in 2012 to provide a running club with a particular emphasis on inclusivity and to provide an environment for all abilities, a club and community that is warm, supportive, encouraging and educational.

A measure of the success in achieving these aims was a comment made by Paul Sinton-Hewitt, founder of Parkrun, “If Parkrun was a running club, it would be The Bearcat Running Club.”

We enjoy close links with the other running clubs in our area, Ranelagh Harriers and Stragglers Running Club.

In May 2023 a renewed club structure was launched and The Bearcat Running Club became an Unincorporated Association. In this structure the club has a committee made up of four officer posts (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary) and has established a Constitution.

Reflecting the original aims of the club, the Committee determined the following statement to describe the club:

“We are a running club with membership open to those of all abilities from 18 years of age. As a club we prioritise fun, enjoyment, improving fitness and health and making a positive contribution to the community. We strive to be the friendliest and provide a great community that encompasses a walking group, those beginning on their running journey, and all running abilities up to those who are London Marathon good for age standard.”

OUR LEADERS

All our leaders have significant experience with The Bearcat Running Club and understand and embrace the ethos of the club. Each brings their individual personality and running experience to the role which, as with the committee positions, are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

The core leaders of our team are those who have undergone the LIRF (Leaders in Running Fitness) Course with England Athletics. They are insured with England Athletics. We maintain a contingent of at least 21 LIRF leaders.

To supplement the LIRF leaders, we welcome the involvement of support leaders who have the same understanding and commitment to the ethos of the club and are significantly experienced in running with the group for which they take the leader role. The activities they lead are covered by the club’s own insurance policy.

Each week, the leaders are given the route and key directions for the session they will lead but they have discretion to apply reasonable adjustments to these, responding to conditions and circumstances during the session.

Leaders start sessions with the following:

Introductions - particularly making sure that anyone new to the group is made welcome (eg. those new to the club or shifting to a new group)
Explanation of the route and other key features of the session (eg. hill work or speed intervals)
Explanation of any significant health and safety factors to look out for on the route
A reminder for front runners in the group to check from time to time if ‘looping back’ is required to maintain a reasonably close distance between all runners.

During the session leaders will incorporate a warmup, continue to give route directions and promote a group dynamic that is encouraging, motivating and supportive.

Continuously monitoring health and safety, leaders encourage joint vigilance, eg. the calling out of hazards (approaching bikes / other runners being the most common). They carry basic first aid items and also a mobile phone in case of emergencies. At the end of the session they oversee a warm down and stretching.

We welcome interest from any of our regular members about being on our support leader list and from time to time encourage existing support leaders to undertake the LIRF training. The club will encourage LIRF leader training and may be able to make a part contribution towards the costs of training (discussed with an individual or group of individuals at the time that the training is proposed, dependent on current club finances and forecasting for the balance of the year). Anyone interested in becoming a support leader or undertaking the LIRF training to become a core leader should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UNDERLYING POLICIES

Although the Bearcat Running Club is not affiliated to England Athletics, the Club Committee sees guidance issued by England Athletics as an important point of reference in deciding on policies and operational arrangements in the running of the club. This includes using England Athletics’ ‘Club Standards’ as a benchmark.

As well as referring to governance arrangements (constitution and committee), Club Standards sets out expectations that we are working towards in relation to: Grievance and Disciplinary Policy; General Data Protection Regulation; Inclusion and Diversity; Safeguarding; and Health and Safety.