Here are some of the questions asked most often from runners thinking of joining us. If your question is not answered here, please contact us here instead.
Q/ I don’t need any more information… I just want to crack on and join! Where can I find the membership form?
A Membership form can be found here – Go on… just do it!! Spirit of Monmouth Membership Form 2023.24-2
Q/ I’m ready to try you out, because I’ve already read about the guest runner opportunity (try-before-you-buy!). Where’s the form I need to fill in?
Please email us at [email protected] and we’ll send it to you.
Q/ Where do you meet, where do you run… and can I just turn up?
- Our main club run nights are Tuesday and Thursday… with Tuesday the main club night of the week – and the better option for newcomers, though don’t worry if Thursday suits you better. If you wish to risk just turning up on a Tuesday evening, at the Monmouth Boys’ School Leisure Centre (Hadnock Road, Monmouth NP25 3NG) at about 6:55pm, we’ll almost always be there and able to accommodate you (we do want you to fill in a membership or guest runner form before you run). But we cannot guarantee we’ll be there, for example if there’s a big local race on… or if we’ve changed the start location on that particular evening, so it is much better to please email us first at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can to tell you everything you need to know and hopefully welcome you as a new member. We can arrange for you to run with us two or three before you commit, if you’d first like to give us a try. We look forward to meeting you!
- Most often, we run from the location listed above. But this isn’t the case ALL the time… for example, (especially in British Summer Time) we do sometimes vary that to bring variety and find some beautiful local trails. So it’s always better to get in touch with us first in order to know where we’ll meet – and maybe to get advice on the best type of running shoes to wear.
Q/ Am I fast enough?
Probably the question asked most often… and if you’re asking it, the answer is very likely ‘Yes!’
On club nights, the minimum distance a group will tend to run is about 4 miles, in about 50 minutes. If you would be comfortable with this, then there will be a suitable group for you.
The fastest tend to run for about an hour or so, at 7-8 minute/miles and cover around 7-8 miles. There are usually 3 other groups in between these extremes… so there really should be a group to suit you
If you are not yet able to run for 3-4 miles, a really good way to build up to this safely over the course of a couple of months is to follow the NHS’ Couch to 5k program.
Q/ Can I Join Online?
It is possible to join without actually attending a club night – but if you’re thinking of coming to a session, you should get in touch with us first… especially as occasionally we change the starting location. Just contact us using our Contact Us details
Most people come and have a trial run with us first (see the FAQ below), but whenever you’re ready, there’s a membership form you can download from this site (or we’ll email you one if you have any problems with that). When completing your membership application, you will also need to transfer the membership fee electronically (the bank details are on the form).
The vast majority of members take up full membership, where part of the membership fee is affiliation with Welsh Athletics. They will contact you separately with your membership number. Of course, if you’re already affiliated to UK Athletics, you don’t need to pay for that twice.
New in 2022/23 – as an experiment – we introduced an option for simple club membership without the cost (and many benefits) of Welsh Athletics affiliation. This could be suitable for some runners who have no interest in races or who need to keep costs right down.
If you have any problems at all with the process, please contact the address on the form, or contact us here.
Q/ Can I run with you to see if the club suits me, before I commit to membership?
Yes – come and run with us two or three times to see how it suits. Please contact us at [email protected] to make arrangements – we’ll send you the Guest-Runner form that you need to complete.
Q/ How old to you need to be to be a member?
Right now, we a club for the over 18s. But it doesn’t matter how far over 18 you are. We have active members in their seventies. ***. UPDATE… talk to us about 16yr-olds running with their parents as members of the club.
Q/ I’m already a member of a different club, affiliated to UK Athletics. Can I join the Spirits?
Yes. People often move between clubs. Find out more here
Q/ I’m visiting the area, can I join you for a run or two?
We might be able to help runners who are members of a UK-Athletics affiliated club.. ask us! Please email us (preferably a week in advance) and we’ll discuss.
Q/ Please give me ten reasons why I should join Spirit of Monmouth Running Club !!!
1) We are friendly and sociable
We are an inclusive club and runners of a very very wide range of abilities join us. As a guide, our group runs on Tuesdays and [normally] Thursdays cater for those able to run at least three or four miles at twelve minute/mile pace. But equally, if you find yourself at the sharp-end of races, you’ll have good company in the faster groups. Whatever your shape, goals or reasons for running, you will be made to feel welcome. There will always be someone to run and chat (if you’re not running too hard!) with.
2) Running in a group has many benefits
Group running is safer and, for many people, more motivating. If you know you have people to run with it can make the difference between sitting on the sofa or getting up and exercising. Catching up with friends while running can mean you train harder without even noticing. Don’t just take our word for it:
3). The coaching
We have a team of qualified coaches and experienced runners who can and will help you to improve – whether you’re really new to running or perhaps been running for years. Coached sessions are held every two weeks on a Tuesday evening and cover a variety of training methods, such as intervals, VO2 max and hill work. If you want to become a faster, stronger runner, this training is really beneficial.
4) Work-friendly start times
We routinely start our runs at 7pm on Tuesdays (main club night) and Thursdays – certainly the big majority of the year (we occasionally plan a cancellation around Christmas, or if there’s a big league race on). Also, there are often additional runs organised informally for weekends or other days. So even for those who work a bit late or with big family commitments, there should be opportunity to run with other club members.
5) As a trial for 2022/23, we’re offering a super-cheap option for membership.
For a trial period of one year, we have introduced an option for our running members NOT to be compelled to join Welsh Athletics. This does mean you’d miss out on running in a lot of fun races, miss out of discounted race fees and on some other benefits offered by Welsh Athletics membership (see their website for details)… but you still can run as proper SoM members every week, benefit from coaching and the social side of the club. A real opportunity to get into running in a low cost way. You’d miss out on the remaining five benefits below… but it’s a real option for some people. Give it a go!!
6) Save on race entry and get discounts at specialist running shops
It is possible for you to join as a social running member… where you have the benefits of running with club, coaching, taking part in SoM-organised events and socialising. But by joining as a full member (as almost everyone does) you will become a member of Welsh Athletics, which provides some insurance cover and will get you around £2 off the cost of race entry for many races. Basically, if the race entry form asks whether you are affiliated, you can say yes, put Spirit of Monmouth as your running club and usually pay less for entry.
As a member we are also eligible for discounts in certain running shops. These may include the following, but please do check with them for their up to date policies
10% at Run and Become (Cardiff):
Moti (Cardiff, Bristol), though they don’t have a dedicated web page:
Welsh Athletics members are eligible for a 15% discount from Physique
So once you’ve done a few races and bought a new pair of trainers, the membership fee starts to pay for itself!
7) Be part of a team
On race day it’s much more fun to be part of a team – car-sharing with other excited runners on the way to the race, wearing your club vest with pride, a bit of friendly rivalry with other running clubs, being cheered on at the finish and, of course, trying to beat your friend’s PB!
Spirit of Monmouth enters teams for the Gwent Leisure Centre Leaguecross-country and road race series’, the Rack Raid and other team events on a more ad hoc basis – such as the Cotswold Way Relay. These are all really enjoyable and well-organised events and are either free to enter or subsidised by the club. Some of these events are only open to running club members.
8) Compete in the club championship
We also have our own running club championship, which includes selected runs of various distances and terrains throughout the year.
At the end of the year there is an awards ceremony, where the male and female championship winners are announced and presented with a trophy (there are other awards too, for outstanding performance, improvement and contribution to the club, among others). A list of previous winners can be found here.
A few members each year attend a one-day training course to become LIRF (Leader in Running Fitness) qualified, which gives people the skills to lead a group of runners, from safety to warm-up and planning a training session. For those willing to dedicate a larger amount of time, there may be the potential to undertake a full coaching qualification (depending on the availability of funding).
10) London Marathon ballot
Spirit of Monmouth running club receives ballot places for the London Marathon each year. Members get the opportunity to enter a draw for the place(s).