An East Tynedale running club has been recognised as the best in the region.

Prudhoe Plodders Running Club has won England Athletics’ Regional Volunteer Award Club of the Year for the North East.

The club will now be put forward with other regional winners to be considered for Club of the Year for the UK.

It comes during a particularly tough time for sport, with coronavirus putting paid to grassroots training sessions.

“In two years we’ve gone from nothing, to being North East Club of the Year”, said chairman Stephen Leonard. “It was a pleasant surprise on the evening, it was a strange awards night, obviously being on a Zoom call, but it was a good night.”

The club comes from relatively humble beginnings, launching officially in 2018 with its free ‘Run Together Couch to 10K’ programme.

Now, England Athletics (EA) affiliated, it has over 200 members, around 70 of which are juniors.

When asked what made Prudhoe Plodders special, Stephen said it was the club’s inclusivity. “It’s our main selling point,” he said. “We support everybody – whether they’ve ran for years and are just coming back to it or are brand new to the sport.”

As well as twice-weekly training sessions, led by volunteers and qualified coaches, the club has taken on an active role in the community, organising the Prudhoe Easter Egg Run, which raises money for local charities, and reinstating the historic Prudhoe Miners Race.

Runners have also benefitted from training sessions and motivational talks with Olympians Aly Dixon and Laura Weightman.

During lockdown, interest in the sport has increased ten-fold.

And to ensure members are still able to get their fix, sessions have been taken online and solo inter-club and outer-club challenges have been introduced – a decision that Stephen said had partly been motivated by mental health.

To alleviate any financial burden caused by the pandemic, club membership has also been kept at £20, and every member’s EA fee for the year has been funded, as well as several virtual race entries.

Award-winning Prudhoe Plodders is now awaiting the Government green light for a restart date, and its runners can’t wait to get back on the track together.

A video showcasing the club's achievements can be viewed at