More than £100,000 of grant funding will be used to create one of the country’s biggest networks of running routes in Sheffield.
The money from England Athletics was secured by The Outdoor City partnership, which hopes to build more than 20 new routes across Sheffield by March 2017.
The first phase of the project will be completed in April, with 11 new runs ranging from 1km to 10km marked across seven locations.
England Athletics chief executive Chris Jones said the project was the largest of its kind in England.
“The first eleven run routes have been carefully selected to appeal to all people; not just people who already run,” he said. “Essentially we want everyone to have access to well-signposted, well-designed running trails that they can use to run, walk and that are accessible to all.
“Our ambitions to grow participation in sport and support people to be more active are mirrored by the values of The Outdoor City, making Sheffield the ideal location for this nationally-significant project.”
The Outdoor City group hopes to tie the run routes project in with neighbouring communities by encouraging people of all ages and abilities to use, enjoy and take pride in the green open spaces on their doorsteps.
Deputy leader of Sheffield Council Leigh Bramall said: “This is the first big outdoor recreation project we’ve announced since launching as The Outdoor City. It is evidence that this new way of working, of pooling resources and aligning ambitions so that they serve the whole of the city, really works.
“By being truly joined up we have the opportunity to engage with national bodies in relation to health and wellbeing, sport and outdoor pursuits. We are organised in our approach and clear about who we are and what we want for the city and we are being listened to.
“Having these run routes, innovating through advances in technology, connecting to the city’s physical activity strategy (Move More) and securing the ongoing support of England Athletics to help people ‘find their pace’ in Sheffield, are all big wins.
“And knowing that this is just the very start of The Outdoor City story – now that’s exciting.”
To support the use of the new run routes an activation programme has been launched, which aims to raise awareness of the newly marked trails and the many ways that people can use them.
Emma Hurst of England Athletics said: ”Once the run routes are in place, the real fun starts. My job is to work with key partners and community groups to raise awareness of the routes and to create new opportunities for people to use the routes by running as part of a Run England group.
“In some cases this is about linking with existing groups and their run leaders to support them in welcoming new runners, but more often than not it’s about setting new community run groups up by offering training to volunteers to become Run Leaders. We want to help people to think about the different ways the routes can be used; exploring with the kids, pushing a pram or taking a stroll with friends.
“It is all about being active and finding your own pace.”
Maps of the new routes will be published online at www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk. The first 11 will be in the following places:
Lowfields Park and General Cemetery
Ponderosa, Weston Park, Crooks Valley Park
Concorde Park and Wooley Woods
Millhouses Park and Ecclesall Woods