Women’s rugby players trade boots for trainers in 18-mile running event
After reading about a group who ran to every ASDA supermarket in Edinburgh, Broughton RFC women’s Vice Captain Ruth Morgan wondered if she could do the same, swapping supermarkets for rugby clubs in a unique way to raise the profile of the women’s game.
After careful planning, Ruth created an 18-mile course which stopped off at seven Edinburgh based rugby clubs each of which are home to a women’s team. Whilst Ruth, who participates regularly in running events and triathlons, could have easily completed the route in her own time, she saw an opportunity to involve the clubs, saying:
“I realised this run would be a great way to raise the profile of women’s rugby in Edinburgh by demonstrating that no matter where you are in the city, there is a women’s team near you. It’s far more likely people will know where to find a men’s team in Edinburgh because every rugby club has a men’s team, but not every club has a women’s team.
“We’re all really missing our usual game time on a Sunday, so I also thought that this would provide a great opportunity to bring women of the sport together, offering a coronavirus-friendly social experience.”
To Ruth’s delight, players from the six other Edinburgh clubs – Corstorphine RFC, Watsonians RFC, Heriots RFC, Lismore RFC, Edinburgh University RFC and Liberton RFC – accepted her invitation and took to the streets on Sunday 6 December.
A core group of players ran the full 18-mile course and were met at each club by representative players, who then ran on to the next club. The route was covered by 63 different participants and followed all public health guidance with no more than 30 socially distanced players running at one time.
The group set off from Broughton RFC and made their first pitstop outside the home of Scottish Rugby, BT Murrayfield, where they were met by Scotland international players, Lana Skeldon and Hannah Smith, who then led the group to their next destination at Corstorphine RFC.
“It meant lot to us to have Lana and Hannah meet us at our first stop,” said Ruth, “because normally we’d be backing the Scotland Women at Scotstoun, so it felt amazing to see that role reversal and have them spur us on and show their support.”
From there, the runners made their way to Myreside before heading to South Edinburgh where Edinburgh University RFC, Lismore RFC and Liberton RFC are based. The group then ventured to Goldenacre, aptly ending their journey back at Broughton RFC.
Not only is it hoped that Ruth’s run will become an annual event, Glasgow based club, Cartha Queen’s Park RFC have pledged that they would like to lead on a similar initiative involving women’s teams in the West of Scotland.
Scottish Rugby’s Regional Director for the East Region, David Drummond praised the clubs involved saying:
“I would like to congratulate all of the participants from Sunday’s run. To see representatives from every women’s club in Edinburgh take part is fantastic, particularly during a time in which rugby cannot be played normally.
“The women’s rugby landscape in Edinburgh is unique in that it is the only city in the country where there are teams playing at every Scottish Rugby league level – Premiership, National 1 and Regional – which means there is a club to suit everyone. I look forward to seeing more from the women’s game in 2021.”
Photo credit: Mark Brown