Student Spotlight: Astrid Blee (Bristol Uni Run Leader)

At Bristol Uni Sport we’re expanding our community of student and staff Run Leaders! Whether you’re a cross-country superstar, or total beginner, it doesn’t matter – we’re simply looking for enthusiastic, community-minded individuals to get involved and support your peers in keeping active this year.

Astrid, Bristol Uni PG: Run Club leader


Astrid Blee is a third-year PhD student in the School of Physics, but in her spare time she also is a Bristol Uni Run Leader. We spoke to Astrid about her experiences as a Bristol Uni Run Leader over the past 12-months, and why she thinks that you should get involved this year!

Astrid’s Run Leader journey started out when she discovered how running with other people can make the experience more enjoyable.

“I’ve always run by myself, but after trying a couple of runs with a friend of mine, I discovered that running with other people is actually good fun!”

The comradery that came with running as part of a group inspired Astrid to set up her own running group.  She thought setting up a running group would be a good way to meet new people and have fun being active together. 

“I was delighted to find out that at the same time, the university was offering the LIRF (Leadership in running Fitness) training.”

The Leadership in Running Fitness (LIRF) training is an official qualification led by England Athletics and is designed to prepare you to provide a safe and enjoyable running experience for young people over 12 years of age and adults of any ability, size or shape. Astrid applied for a place on the LIRF course, offered to prospective Bristol Uni Run Leaders for FREE by Bristol Uni Sport.  

Astrid has now been leading PG: Run Club for almost a year, and told us that the LIRF training offered by Bristol Uni Sport was really beneficial and a huge help in getting her group ‘up and running’! 

“[The LIRF training] was really good fun, and very informative – I felt really reassured.  …it’s definitely helped me with planning PG: Run Club

Astrid also takes PG: Run to Parkrun some weeks too!

And, whilst Astrid was running fairly regularly before she signed up to become a Bristol Uni Run Leader, we’re encouraging everyone from the runner-bean to running-novice to get involved with this opportunity to give something back to the #WeAreBristol community! Astrid agrees; “Some awareness of the difficulties of long distance running/training is pretty useful, [but] you definitely don’t need to be an advanced to runner to be a running leader”.

Becoming a Run Leader is a unique way to get active, get social and give back to the #WeAreBristol community. Astrid highlighted how rewarding the Run Leader role can be both personally, and as being part of a community that you have helped to build;

“I have loved getting to know people I’d have absolutely no interaction with otherwise – I’ve met lots of post-grads and definitely made new friends!

It’s really satisfying to see other people’s progress as well as your own. The beginners group that I’ve been leading for about a month now have already made great steps towards running a continuous 5K (our soft goal!), which I’m really proud of.

The Run Leader role is open to staff and students, with Run Leader training taking place in December 2019 at the Coombe Dingle Sports Complex.

Astrid’s top tip before you sign-up? Don’t fret: it’s really easy to build up your own skills as well as helping others to develop. 

Click here to express your interest in joining the Run Leader team!  

If you’re a post-grad looking for a group of friendly faces to stay active with, why not join Astrid on their next run? Visit their Facebook page for all the details.

For more information about the role, email john.wilford@bristol.ac.uk.

Healthy Minds: Charlotte’s Story

When Charlotte Jones first stepped into her university’s gym two years ago, she had no idea that exercise would be the remedy to the depression and anxiety she’d been living with.


Charlotte and her mentor, Pete Burrows.

Charlotte experienced mental health difficulties following a series of personal issues which coincided with the pressure of her final year at the University of Bristol, where she was studying Neuroscience. 

The 23-year-old is shared her story on World Mental Health Day [10 October] to give hope to others who are going through a tough period, particularly whilst at University.

Charlotte had experienced low-level mental ill-health before coming to university in 2014, but was coping well. This was the case until her final year when her brother fell ill, a family member passed away and her relationship broke down. 

At the same time, Charlotte was having to manage her dissertation project and the looming prospect of her final exams. 

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