Sheffield the City of Running

Volunteers needed to test and design new recreational running routes in Sheffield, Seb Coe-damol need not apply.

England Athletics have just confirmed funding of £105,000 towards the creation of 24 running routes around Sheffield; over the next 2 years.

Image of a female runner passing a wall with text Ther is no one giant step that does it, it's a lot of little steps

A lot of little steps

Sheffield’s leading the way

The funding forms part of the Recreational Running & Athletics Plan for England: 2013-2017. Through which, England Athletics have the ambition of making athletics, including running, the single most popular individual sport by 2017 with 500,000 new weekly participants.

In line with the City of Sport and the Outdoor City, on completion, Sheffield will take first place as the City of Running.

All of the routes will start from parks or woodlands and vary from easy starter circuits of around a mile, building to 3 miles or more. They will be clearly sign posted and simple to follow. Maps, leaflets, website and apps are also being developed to support each route.

Move More

Emma Hurst, Club and Coach Support Officer, England Athletics, explains:

“It’s not just about running, we want more to people to be more active more often, whether that’s running, an easy jog or a walk in the park. Start small and build it up a lamp post at a time. Just enjoy being outside and meeting people. Sheffield is the greenest city in the country and we want people to get out and enjoy it.
This won’t be a Field of Dreams where we install the routes and hope people will use them. A range of methods to get Sheffield moving will be used, from activators creating new opportunities in local communities, through to clubs and volunteers providing support.”

The first 7 Routes

The City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service are leading on the implementation of the project, with specialist help being provided Accelerate, Sheffield and the Peak’s largest dedicated running store. Debs, from Accelerate, is now working up the first 7 routes, and they will be in place by April 2015.

Female runners stretching in a park using a bench

If you haven’t tried running in a park with friends you should

The first routes are:

Bradfield Dam

Concord Park and Wolley Woods

Graves Park

Lowfields Park and General Cemetery


Manor Fields

Millhouses Park and Ecclesall Woods

Debs is keen to stress:

“We need local people to help us plan the routes and test them to make sure they work. You don’t have to be a runner. In fact, it would be great if people got into running through helping to plan the routes. If you would like to help, you can catch me at:”

4 beginner runners stretching outside a park cafe

4 beginner runners stretching outside a park cafe

A brew, the loo and something to do.

It appears the messages warning of the dangers of an inactive lifestyle are not having the desired effect; frightening stats are not enough to change behaviour in isolation.

That’s why we are putting in place a range of supporting activities to help develop the habit of being active. One of these will be a Get Fit for Sport – or running – programme, which is designed ease beginners along a step at a time. We know that confidence, motivation, achievement and enjoyment are key elements in making physical activity a routine part of everyday life, and this is how we aim to help.

We also recognise that the social element of exercise is important. Put simply, for places to be attractive for exercise, they need to have: a brew, a loo and something to do.

Wouldn’t it be great if a small investment in the brew-loo-do culture saved health service budgets millions in the future. Now that’s something worth getting your kit on for.

A runner at a running event holding a placard saying, "Run Like you Stole Something"