How you can get involved in a virtual running club to keep your spirits up during the coronavirus outbreak

A South Shields running group has launched a virtual club to keep spirits up while people are self-isolating.

Its founder Luke Adams, who set up the group eight years ago, has now created an online club to encourage people to keep running – even if they are social distancing or self-isolating.

On Tuesday, March 17 England Athletics advised that all face-to-face activity such as club training sessions, events, competitions, should be suspended until at least the end of April.

Members of the Run Eat Sleep running club in South Shields.

It came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to stop non-essential contact with others and avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other social venues in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

But anyone can now sign up to the virtual Run Eat Sleep club through the sports app Strava and use it to track their times and distances.

Members also have access to the club’s Facebook group where they can share photos of their runs and connect with each other.

Each week the club will set different challenges - such as running to a particular South Shields landmark or taking a photo outside their favourite local pub.

The club which meets every week and has over 100 members already but has been seeing dozens of new people sign up every day.

“We’re trying to show that you can still get out and be a part of the community, while still following the government guidelines,” said Luke, 32.

“It’s just about trying to stay positive and keep things going.

“We have found it’s been really good having something to focus on for everyone’s mental health- it’s a scary time for everyone.”

Luke has asked for a voluntary suggested donation of £6 to join, in order to help him keep things going.

He added: “The club is my business, this has made me unemployed and I know others have been affected too.”

If you have concerns about finances or employment contact Luke at [email protected] to be added to the group.

Head to Run Eat Sleep Facebook page for more details

Request to join RES Virtual on Strava.