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ENGLAND ATHLETICS LAUNCH RUNTOGETHER

RunTogether, a new national programme set up by England Athletics, has launched with the aim to motivate people to improve their physical and mental health by running with others.

By simply logging on to the website, you'll have access to local running groups which offer fun, organised jogs and runs with other people, with qualified group leaders.

The website also includes access to marked running routes specific to your area, searchable using your postcode.

Trying to start running can be a daunting task, as Sam Mollaghan - the face of the This Girl Can Run campaign, and a qualified Run Leader - understands.

"When I started running a couple of years ago, I was very self-conscious about how others would perceive me," she said. "So I empathise with how many runners feel anxious when running alone.

"Now I'm a Run Leader, I'm able to help others enjoy the benefits that regular running in a group has to offer - it's such a great way to improve fitness and socialise at the same time.

"I'm also more confident when I run, as I know I'm doing something that benefits my health and mindset. I've made some great friends in running groups and would encourage as many people to join their local group."

Runners are also being encouraged to take photos and tag which friends and celebrities they would like to run with, using #RunTogether.

Matt Birkett, head of running participation at England Athletics, said: "We know that running with others is more effective in changing behaviour, making people more likely to sustain a running habit, and we know how much of an impact running has on improving emotional health and well-being.

"We want to get one million more people into regular athletics and running by 2021, and ensure that everyone in England has access to a local RunTogether group across the country."

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