With more than 800 parks, woodlands and green spaces, Sheffield: The Outdoor City is already well known as the perfect place to walk, jog or run.
But now getting out and about on the city’s trails has been made even easier, with the launch of signposted run routes at seven new locations.
This is the second phase of the Run Route initiative, funded by England Athletics, which officially launched last year as part of the wider Outdoor City project.
In total, 30 signed Run Routes have been created at 14 locations across the city, providing simple to follow trails through Sheffield’s parks and woodlands.
There are a number of different routes at each site, which are colour coded, graded as Easy, Medium, Hard and Challenging, and which loop back to a clear starting point with a noticeboard and map.
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said: “As The Outdoor City, Sheffield is becoming increasingly well-known for its unique blend of outdoor activity and city culture.
“And what is particularly special about the run route project is that the signed trails are not confined to spaces which people may traditionally associate with walking or running. From the urban city centre routes to Thorncliffe in the north, Rivelin in the west, Shire Brook in the east and Ecclesall Woods in the south of the city, we’ve tried to incorporate these new routes into communities across Sheffield, to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live, can join in.
“Ability is also no object. While the trails are graded from easy through to challenging, there is no expectation as to how fast people should take them. It’s all about finding your own pace, whether that’s a hard fast run or a short gentle stroll with the family.”
A launch event for this second phase of the run route project took place today (Tuesday, 16 May) with trained community run leaders supported by Accelerate, a running store and performance centre based in Attercliffe.
At the event, volunteers and running enthusiasts were led around two of the new city centre routes; one shorter route along Victoria Quays and back over Spider Bridge, and a longer route via Norfolk Heritage Park and the Cholera Monument.
In addition to the city centre, the other sites to be included in this new phase of run routes are Rivelin, High Hazels, Firth Park, Shire Brook Nature Reserve, Thorncliffe and Wharncliffe.
Sites in the first phase of the project were Concord Park and Woolley Woods, Ecclesall Woods, Bradfield, Graves Park, Lowfield, Manor Fields Park, and Ponderosa and Crookes Valley.
Matt Birkett, Head of Participation at England Athletics, said: “England Athletics is committed to growing the opportunities for everyone to experience running. We are therefore delighted to see more routes being made accessible through the Outdoor City programme in Sheffield.
“Through further research we also know that running with others helps to sustain a running habit. Those that run together with others are 23 per cent more likely to be regular runners than those that only run on their own.
“Therefore, England Athletics through RunTogether is attempting to encourage people to run with other people. In addition to the friendships that are created through running with like-minded people, the camaraderie that people experience and the benefit of achieving goals as a ‘team’, RunTogether groups offer a running opportunity for people which will also help to enjoy the great outdoors.
“If you’d like support from others as you head out, why not visit www.runtogether.co.uk to find a friendly running group close to you.”
As well as the signed routes, led runs with trained running leaders are also taking place at several of the sites. These include Ecclesall Routes, Rivelin Valley, Bradfield and Shire Brook Nature Reserve, and are led by trained community run leaders.
Organised runs to try out the new routes will also take place throughout Move More Month in June.
These will be held at the Ponderosa park at 12.30pm on Wednesday 7 June, meeting at Weston Park Bandstand; at Thorncliffe on Wednesday 14 June at 7pm, meeting at the new sports centre; at Firth Park at 11am on Saturday 24 June, meeting at Henry’s Café, and from the car park of High Hazels Park on Friday 30 June, starting at 7pm.
Walkers and runners who prefer to explore alone, meanwhile, can see maps and descriptions of the routes, as well as videos, on The Outdoor City website.
Meanwhile, handy pocket-sized leaflets are also available, detailing each of the run routes, with photos and maps.
For more information, visit The Outdoor City website HERE.