Health & Beauty

A Rookie’s Guide to Running Clubs

By Susannah George
13th Oct 2013

There are two types of people in this world. Those that run, and well, those that don't. Runners, you know what I mean.

After one extended layoff from running I was feeling frustrated that I couldn't hit the track. My friends, trying to be helpful, I'm sure, would say, 'What about swimming? Cycling?' 

'You don't understand,' I would say. 'I'm a runner.' (Cue the sage nodding from runners out there.) 

Upon my return to running, and on account of my thorough lack of running fitness, I decided that very small but consistent jogs were the way to go. I jogged 10-20 minutes everyday for a couple of months. I then decided to try a running group to help me improve.


With some trepidation, I called the intimidatingly named Galeforce Running Squad and had a chat to head coach, Chris Gale (name of club now making sense….).  He coaches different running sessions in and around Brisbane throughout the week, including sessions specifically for women, beginners, kids, and the rest. 

Smoother than selling ice to an Eskimo, Chris had me agreeing to attend a 'speed session' at UQ at the rather rude hour of 5.20am. When my alarm went off at 4.40am, my husband sniggered and said 'have fun!'  On my way out, I took extra care to ensure our 3 year-old and the dog were well awake. (He no longer wishes me well at that time of day). 

Running with Galeforce has opened my eyes to a few misconceptions that I had about runners. Running does cop a bit of bad press so I'm here to clear the air.


Misconception: Only people built like noodles can run distance.

Just whom are we comparing ourselves to? Olympic athletes? You may, however, find your inner noodle after a few months effort!

Misconception: You have to run long distances to benefit from running.

Wrong again. If you jog for 15 minutes a day, 6 days a week, that's 1.5 hours of exercise at the end of your week. Consistency is far more important that distance or speed. You've got the rest of your life to get faster and run further. What's your hurry?

Misconception: Running clubs are full of elite runners and triathletes.

Sure, there are some incredible runners in my running club, but what strikes me when I turn up to Galeforce is the wide cross-section of ages, ability, and the high numbers of women.

Misconception: Running isn't good for you.

I call these people the Run Police. Truth is, rest and balance are so important. Chris' running program for me is quite specific and has built steadily over time allowing me to reach my goals in a reasonable amount of time, injury free.

What I love most about running is it's so very democratic. Almost any able body can do it. Anytime. Anywhere. No gear required, no expensive membership, no lessons, no right or wrong way. Run alone or run together. Run fast or run slow. Run to compete, or just run to enjoy. Just don't let the Run Police stop you.

Contact Chris Gale at

Do you know a great running club? Let us know in the comments below! 

Image Credit: Free in Madrid, Tone Tan Fit Ready

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