Run free with GRC
Less than a third of Australians are getting enough physical activity to benefit their health, but a local free health initiative is playing its part in changing this statistic for the better.
Founded by Tristan Austin and Leigh Marten last year, the Geelong Runners Club (GRC) organises community runs three times a week.
Since its establishment, the group has attracted more than 200 members, with people from Geelong, Torquay, Anglesea, Paraparap and Moriac throwing on their activewear every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to join in.
Mr Austin said the decision to establish the club was made with his co-founder and brother-in-law over coffee in Geelong.
“Both Leigh and I work in the corporate world, so individually we have found running to be a fantastic medium in maintaining and improving our own health.
“We both started running about two years ago and have been avid runners since, entering a couple of formal runs and a marathon along the journey.”
When members began signing up every day following the GRC website launch, the pair realised their humble idea was identifying a gap in the fitness market.
Mr Austin said the group hoped to demonstrate to people that incorporating exercise into their weekly routine was possible.
“Both Leigh and I have the same struggles with time and priorities. We both work full-time, we both have families and children to support and look after.
“With that in mind, we believe health is equally important in our daily lives. We have found that by being a part of a run crew, it keeps you honest and focused on your health goals.
“Our run crew provides a social environment but running is generally an individual challenge.”
Geelong Runners Club recently launched its own range of team wear online, making it easier for runners to spot each other in crowds and at events.
Moving forward, Mr Austin said the club planned to participate in formal runs such as the Great Ocean Road Marathon as a team. He also said his wish was to keep GRC free “forever”.
“We have had some excellent local business supporters jump onto our initiative right from the beginning, including Latrobe Health Centre and Pro Feet Podiatry.
“They helped give us confidence that we are on the correct path with the club and that by being able to keep it free, it demonstrates that it’s 100 per cent for the members.”
Runners of all abilities are encouraged to participate in the Tuesday lunch run to Rippleside Park, Thursday night run (5km along the Geelong Waterfront) and Saturday’s 5km Balyang Sanctuary parkrun.
For membership information and running times, head to geelongrunnersclub.com.au.