We talk to Run Wild MCR’s Mark Harrison about the society, running events in Manchester and how to reach your full potential
Following the recent announcement from SPORT Manchester that the University’s Sport Office has negotiated 1,000 places for staff and students to run the Great Manchester 10 KM, the largest 10 kilometre run in Europe, what better way is there to make the most of this opportunity than by joining like minded students at Run Wild MCR? And ahead of what is often referred to as ‘Running season’, or ‘Marathon season’ with both the Manchester and London Marathon amongst many others taking place just after Easter in April, I caught up with Mark Harrison from the Run Wild MCR society to discuss running in general, the events you can get involved in across campus and also some advice on how you can reach your full potential.
1) So what exactly is ‘Run Wild MCR?’
We’re a group of students who love running, whether that means going for a light jog followed by brunch on a Saturday morning or pushing our limits on a track. We focus first and foremost on having a great time, and enjoying the benefits that running can offer for your health and well-being. There is also a great social side to running, and this is integral to the Run Wild community.
2) What types of events do you host?
We arrange a wide variety of sessions, ranging from track sessions to fell runs. Our regular meeting is every Tuesday evening, where we go for a run either into the city centre or around the campus. We also coordinate a ‘Great Run Local’ event in Birchfields Park every Sunday. Our other sessions are organised on a more ‘ad hoc’ basis, and usually take place on Thursdays or Saturdays. Our Facebook page is also a place where runners can find others to run with, or organise informal runs whenever suits them.
3) Is this society only for students with running experience or can anybody join?
We welcome all abilities, from beginners to more advanced runners. To do this, we split into a number of differently paced groups on our Tuesday runs. Our one request is that you can do at least 30 minutes of light continuous exercise to come to our Tuesday sessions, as the routes are usually at least 5km. We occasionally organise 4-week beginners’ courses, and our next one (led by qualified leaders) will take place in the coming months.
4) Other than the Run Wild MCR events, what events would you recommend for aspiring runners?
Manchester has a wide variety of free timed runs that take place in local parks. For example, there is Park Run in Platt Fields and Heaton Park, Great Run Local in Birchfields Park, Salford Quays etc. There’s always a great vibe at these events and there will always be runners of similar ability to you. Also, events like the Great Manchester Run are great targets to work towards and can give that extra incentive to keep up the training!
5) As a runner yourself, what are your hopes or goals for 2016?
Personally, I’ve decided not to worry so much about getting lots of personal bests in races (something I used to care about a lot!), but to do a wider variety of running events such as fell/trail races. I’d love to explore more of the trails around the country, rather than just the local ones. Also, I want to keep increasing my limits in terms of distance and see how far I can push it!
6) What piece of advice or encouragement would you give to anybody still hesitant about coming to a Run Wild MCR event?
Don’t be nervous! As I said before, we cater for all abilities and on our Tuesday runs we have a group specifically for beginners, so you will not be left behind! If you do feel like you need a bit more confidence though you can always drag your flatmates along as well! Alternatively, keep an eye on our Facebook page for announcements regarding our next beginners’ course.
7) And finally if you had to give three tips to help potential runners reach whatever their target may be, what would they be?
1. Make your goals ambitious but achievable.
2. Never say “I can’t”. Anything is possible with enough work.
3. Enjoy it! Running can be challenging and still be fun! If you plan your runs around interesting places and sights you will enjoy them a lot more than if you run simply to cross off a certain number of miles.
The University of Manchester is offering a discounted entry price of £20.00 for staff and students only, which also includes a purple technical running T-shirt. Everyone is welcome, as long as you are a member of staff or a student at the University of Manchester, but please note that there will be no refunds available.