Jon Leech’s appeal on twitter had a huge response as people from across the UK and the world pledge to donate their old running kit.

Jon and his wife Mandi lead a Couch-to-5k running group at 2pm every Friday in Buile Hill Park, Salford.

Jon's running group
Jon’s running group

After setting up the group, Jon noticed that the financial impact of taking up running is a huge reason as to why so many people are reluctant to partake in the sport.

Jon said: “After discussing the barriers which prevent or put people off starting running and exercising, one of the reoccurring theme we kept returning to was the initial financial commitment for people to buy suitable equipment and clothing allowing them to train safely and comfortably.”

Taking action on social media

Jon and Mandi had lots of running kit at home that they don’t use but is still in good condition and so decided to appeal to the wider running community for kit donations.

“I made an appeal on Twitter to the running community to ask for donations of used and unwanted running kit and equipment, so that I could the help members of the community who wanted to start running and exercising gain some equipment to start them on their journey.”

Here is Jon’s appeal:

GB athlete Tom Bosworth was one of the many who got in touch offering to donate his old kit to Jon.

The appeal was incredibly successful with people across the country pledging to send their unwanted kit to Jon.

“The appeal for kit on Twitter has been absolutely fantastic and overwhelming, to be honest. I’ve had offers from people all over the UK and inquiries from outside the UK. I’ve had offers from sports retailers and GB athletes who would love to donate kit!”

The kit donations are going further than expected

Due to the appeal’s success, Jon has decided that the kit donations will first help the Salford community before being sent to other communities in the UK.

“Over the next few weeks, I hope to be receiving the first donation which we can sort and pass to the people who need them the most in Salford. As well as this I will be looking for ideas of creating a nationwide network to help more people get access to running and exercise in our communities.”

Listen to Jon’s full interview about the appeal:

As a Mental Health Ambassador for England Athletics, Jon wanted to make a difference to the local community by helping those struggling with mental health conditions to take up running.

Jon said: “When I became a Mental Health ambassador for England Athletics I approached numerous mental health charities in the local area offering my services and assistance to help promote the benefits of exercise on mental well-being and health.”

The charity START in Salford had recently acquired funding from Sport England to create some outdoor exercise groups for its members.

Mandi leading the group through some post-run stretches
Mandi leading the group through some post-run stretches

Jon and Mandi, therefore, linked up with START to create the Couch-to-5K running group for the charities members in Salford.

The group has been so successful so far that Jon and Mandi will begin another Couch-to-5k program in May 2018 and then set up an evening run for members.

How to help

Anybody can run with the group and it’s free to take part, Jon asks that people who are interested contact START before coming along.

The appeal for kit is also ongoing and anybody who would like to donate should contact Jon via email.

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