We often have new runners interested in joining the club enquiring about coming along to one of our training evenings. Some are already experienced runners and quickly get into the groove…. others need a bit more advice and encouragement on what to do.

The club meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Our training base is at the Kings School Birleys Field Sports Pavilion off St Stephens Road Canterbury starting from 7pm. There is ample parking space and changing/shower facilities on site( but NB no lockers) It is generally best to come along on a Tuesday evening in the first instance. Aim to arrive by about 6.45pm (nb please make allowance for the level crossing gates on St Stephens Road )  Make your way to the Pavilion which is located opposite the tennis courts. You should ask one of the assembled runners to introduce you to a club coach who will have a brief chat with you.

Training evenings follow a general pattern. Tuesday’s are for specific training sessions. In the summer these are held on Birleys sports field using their grass track and are usually speed based repetition/interval sessions. In the winter we use mainly traffic free paths and the session focuses more on strength and endurance training with longer repetitions and some hill training.. Tuesday evenings are therefore suitable for runners who have not yet experienced longer mileage runs. Thursday evenings are for a road or country run normally of between 5 to 8 miles at a steady but “sociable” pace.  There is the option in all groups for the last mile to be run at a faster “tempo” pace.Groups are arranged in ability levels. As a general rule the fast pace group will run at around 7 minute mile pace or below. The medium pace group will run at around 8 to 9 minute mile pace. The third and slowest group known as the “improvers” group will run at around 10 minute mile pace. Each group will have a designated leader and ‘turn back’ at frequent intervals so that anyone that has fallen can regroup with the other runners.” Shortcuts” are built in to our training routes for those who wish for whatever reason to do a shorter training run on the evening.

Please note that if you believe that currently you would not be able to sustain a 10 minute mile pace  over a 5 to 8 mile distance run then it may be best to consider joining instead a running club or group which caters specifically for  slower paced runners.

All sessions are led by qualified coaches (our Head Coach is Yiannis Christodoulou who is a UK Athletics Level 2 Endurance and Marathon Coach) and before each session the content of the session will be explained. Never run outside of your comfort zone until you are experienced enough to know how far you can stress your body. Indeed if you have any doubts about your general health then you should have this checked out by your GP before embarking on more intense running activities. We believe that running will contribute to healthiness – but never take risks by always listening to your body. Never try to run through a heavy cold or a muscle strain. Better to rest up for a short while rather than risk needing a longer recovery.

Our general view is that running is a great form of aerobic exercise with many health benefits. It boosts fitness and stamina, and strengthens muscles and heart. However of you do have a medical condition might impact on your running ( severe asthma etc) then do mention this to the Coach taking the session.

You don’t need much equipment to run – other than a pair of good fitting running shoes as advised by a well stocked and dedicated running shop. Look for one that has a running treadmill where you can be assessed for the right type of shoe for your running tread (‘pronation’ is a word that you might hear and a little bit of research on what type of tread you have could be handy before stepping inside the shop). Other than shoes the clothing that you need can be quite basic – until you are ready to consider what sort of gear you feel most comfortable wearing. The only real advice is to wear sufficient warm clothing in winter (better to be too warm than cold) but  when running in the dark Canterbury Harriers request that members  have some form of reflective patch on  clothing or wear a high viz bib which can be seen by motorists.

If you are visiting the club for the first time then we don’t expect you to take a membership straightaway and there are no fees for joining in the sessions whilst you are deciding. Come along to one of our sessions have a chat to a coach  and to other runners and find out if the club is likely to suit what you are looking for from your running. As a club we compete in local inter club league competitions( road relays in the spring and summer and cross country in the winter NB the club pays the costs of all  league event entry fees for members). We value the social side of running as much as we enjoy excellence in performance – and we are certainly not elitist in the way that we welcome new members. When, and if, you are ready to join complete a membership form and pass to one of the committee members (just ask one of the other members to direct you)  Fees are very modest and we think great value for money.

Also take time to ask about social activities, including summer pub runs, presentation evenings, social get togethers, overseas trips and our ever expanding member interest in Triathlon, Ironman and other challenging events.


Tuesday Night – Speed Session

Tuesday night sessions, which commence at 7pm from Birleys Pavilion, mainly comprise speed work or hill work. These sessions are actually very good for people relatively new to running since they can rapidly improve strength, aerobic efficiency and endurance. Furthermore, the number of repetitions attempted can be built up over time.

In the winter (between October and March), we use various well lit and traffic free locations for interval and hill sessions

  • Wincheap Industrial Estate
  • St Stephens Playing Fields
  • Eliot College footpath
  • Rheims Way, by Victoria Recreation Ground

In the summer, the venues used include the following:

  • King’s School Sports Field (various short distance repetition training mainly on grass track)
  • University fields

Those locations are shown on the following map:

Thursday Night Runs

Thursday night sessions, which start at 7pm from the Birleys Pavilion, normally consist of steady runs of between 5 and 8 miles (8 and 13km). People will run in groups according to their pace. In the summer (between April and September) the routes can vary, going westwards along the Stour Valley walk or up on the North Downs Way or north and east to Tyler Hill, Broad Oak, Sturry and Fordwich.

In the winter the routes are around the city.

There are no separate charges of any kind for our training sessions or runs

If you are interested in joining the club then please go to our Membership & Privacy Policy page.

And finally, our  a warm welcome to all new members…