A brand-new Couch to 5k course has launched this week offering residents the chance to take up running for free. 

The course is being supported by fully qualified volunteers and takes participants on a journey from zero running fitness to completing a 5k in nine weeks. 

The programme started on Monday, January 22 and anyone who wants to take up running this year is welcome at any session. 

Portfolio holder for leisure, Joanne Beecham, said: "Our Couch to 5k programs have proved popular for over a decade and we are really pleased to be continuing to provide these sessions for free for our residents.

“It is important for residents to stay active, but it is equally as important to be able to provide a place where residents can socialise and be part of a community whilst taking advantage of some of the wonderful leisure assets we have access to in the borough.”

Regular exercise such as running is proven to have many health benefits including reducing the risk of chronic illnesses, boosting mood and controlling weight. 

Many graduates from local Couch to 5k groups also go onto join running groups including Parkrun and continue a new healthier lifestyle. 

The sessions run every Monday at 7pm at Arrow Valley Lake, Stitch Meadow, Wednesday at 7.30pm at the Abbey Track, Thursday at 9.15am at the Abbey Track and Sunday at 9.30am at the Abbey Stadium Track. 

The programme is fully endorsed by the NHS with participants able to listen to downloadable podcasts each week to help on solo runs. 

For more information visit www.redditchbc.gov.uk/things-to-do/active-redditch/in-the-community/health-and-exercise-sessions/list-of-health-and-exercise-sessions/couch-to-5k.aspx