Runners of all abilities are full of energy and enthusiasm in Hassocks as they take on the countryside every month, with some even meeting on Ditchling Beacon on Boxing Day morning.
Jane Roweth founded We Run! Hassocks with her husband Malcolm.
The group organises many fitness events, including the Hash.
The Hassocks Hash is a free community event with 170 members which meets on the fourth Friday of every month.
Malcolm said:“Usually there are between 30 and 50 runners, including young, old, super-fit marathon runners, whole families and those just thinking a social jog close to home on a Friday evening might be a nice idea.
“There is no competition, just fun and encouragement,” he added.
In winter they stick to well lit roads in the village, but in the summer they venture out further into the local countryside.
“Afterwards there is always a chance to relax, make new friends or chat with old ones at the café,” Malcolm said.
Runs vary from between two and five miles, starting and ending at The Purple Carrot on Stanford Terrace.
At least half of the runners are children and the group has been steadily growing in the 16 months since it was formed.
Runner Edie Seth, 10, said: “We run together which is really energetic because you run with people who are a lot more experienced than you, so you always have a goal to reach for.”
Edie continued: “Jane makes sure the routes aren’t always the same, so the Hash is different every month, but the coolest thing is the chocolate milkshake in the café at the end.”
This year’s Boxing Day run, the fifth so far, attracted 40 people to the top of Ditchling Beacon at 8.30am in the morning.
Malcolm said: “Getting out of bed is a struggle for some! “It is very rewarding though. Home for breakfast knowing that you have done something ‘good’ and can relax for the rest of the day.
“In 2011 the hills were covered in snow. It was fantastic.”
We Run! also organised the Sport Relief Hassocks Marathon in which two of the group ran 26.2 miles up and down Hassocks high street and raised more than £800 for Sport Relief.
Mum-of-two Jane, a former PE teacher who now runs Aspire Fitness Solutions, has climbed mountains with her family, run a marathon, and celebrated turning 40 by throwing herself off a cliff into the sea with her friends.
She also plans to ride to Paris this summer.
Jane said: “I live and work in some of the loveliest countryside in Britain and I like to share it.
“The Hash provides an welcoming environment and opportunity for anyone to get out there and enjoy it.”
Jane, who battled to lose her baby weight after having children, added: “I know that you can change your life, that it involves hard work and that it feels so good to do it.”
Some group members have just started running, others have completed Ultra Distance challenges.
Membership of We Run! is free, they meet at 7:15 on the fourth Friday of every month. Learn more on the We Run! Hassocks Facebook group, or find out more on www.aspirefitnesssolutions.co.uk
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