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261 Club spotlight: New Zealand

Get to know the 261 Club New Zealand and learn more about the fearless women running there!

261 Fearless Club New Zealand began in February 2018 and became an official Incorporated Society in 2021.  The Club Directors are Kate Southern and Kathrine Switzer. We have seven clubs around the country - three in Auckland, Central region (near Mount Ruapehu), Palmerston North, Wellington, and Christchurch. Our team of 19 coaches loves spreading the 261 Fearless message amongst their community and look forward to running with their groups each week.

We have another Train the Trainer booked for August this year and we're looking forward to consolidating our existing groups and seeding one or two new groups in the country.

You can apply as a 261 Coach in New Zealand here

The support of my running friends is essential for my mental health

I run to talk to my friends. At first it was to get fit and be physically healthy. In my twenties and early thirties I ran as a sport. I ran fast and trained hard. It gave me, as a young mum, a sense of identity. When the children got older we went into a Seven Day a Week Business. Running stopped. In my late fifties I semi-retired with few friends, because work and family was all consuming. I took up swimming and then running (when I couldn’t swim for a while) – slow running because I was very unfit. I saw an advertisement in the local free paper about a new group starting up. 261 Fearless. I turned up to the first meeting in Palmerston North and have been running and laughing with new-found friends every Wednesday ever since. I now have lots of friends. Supportive friends. I run to talk to my friends. Running fast is not on my agenda. Competing is not on my agenda. The fitness aspect is an enjoyable side effect. The social aspect of the support of my running friends is essential for my mental health. 261 Fearless is a supportive non- threatening and non-judgmental group, for women to support each other with some running and walking as the vehicle for this empowerment.

Karen, Palmerston North

261 Fearless makes room for all women, no matter how curvy or jiggly they are

I am a generously curvy, very jiggly woman. I was not a runner.

By secondary school, I had all but accepted I was sedentary. In my early twenties, I moved away from home, and to make friends, joined social sports clubs. Realising I'd need a foundation of fitness, I flirted briefly with running...and ended up with shin splits and stress fractures. Not to mention the jiggles when I jogged! 

I was not a runner.

Then my friend became a 261 Coach. To show my support I showed up to a couple of her meet runs.  My friend and coach was, so supportive. She worked with me to slowly, slowly build me up. Her 261 Club was kind and supportive. Everyone believed in each other and no one judged the jiggles as I ran. I was having fun! Before long I was doing my first 5k. Then 8k. Then she guided me, as incredibly frustrating as I'm sure I was, to cross the finish-line of my first half marathon.  Then my second. Jiggles and all.

She encouraged me to apply to be a coach. 261 Fearless makes room for all women, no matter how curvy or jiggly they are. And now I have a chance to share that with other women who don't think they are, or can be runners.It's not been a straight line. Life's happened. But my coach, and my club are there, and every week they continue to support and encourage me. and I hope I can do the same for them too.

I am a generously curvy and very jiggly woman. 

And I'm a runner. 

Gina, Howick, Auckland

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