Coopah Sees First Refugees Graduate from RunStart Academy

To tie in with the end of Refugee Week, Coopah, the digital running coach and training app is celebrating the end of their first ever RunStart Academy, a run coaching program for groups of individuals who would benefit from additional support and encouragement. From refugees to those struggling with their mental health, the RunStart Academy exists to inspire people to start, and keep, running.

The inaugural eight-week RunStart Academy launched on Saturday 7th May at Brueton ParkRun, Solihull at which Coopah met a range of refugees who are newly located to the UK from countries such as Iranian, Yemeni, Iraqi, Kurdish, Sudanese, Nigerian and Ukrainian refugees. Coopah partnered with the Birch Network and ReSole Brixton in order to launch the academy and ensure each refugee would feel welcomed and fit the part by receiving a brand new running kit along with running trainers.

During the 8-week RunStart Academy, groups of individuals from various social backgrounds have been invited to join an eight-week coaching programme which includes, a hosted 5k ParkRun on day one and eight weeks of personalised coaching, through the Coopah training app. It culminated in a second ParkRun at the end of the eight weeks to track and celebrate group successes.



Coopah are proud to say that there was a number of success stories from the event. Most of the refugees had never run more than 1km before, but by the end they all could comfortably complete 5km. We saw Hamzh, a refugee who came to the UK from Yemen improve his time from 24:18 to 19:29 and Fthawi, who is originally from Eritrea and dreams of running a marathon one day, hit 19:16, a 1 minute 29 PB in just 8 weeks.

Most importantly, it led to the refugees feeling welcomed to the local and ParkRun community and help them really feel the benefits of running both physically and mentally.

“We know that running can help change lives,” says Coopah founder Peter Cooper. “It can give people purpose, improve their physical health and refocus them mentally. Having had personal mental health struggles, I know first-hand how running can change lives. It’s been a pleasure welcoming these refugees to Coopah and seeing them improve weekly but also see the benefits of running. Something everyone from all backgrounds should be able to feel”

Coopah is proud to partner with FuelBank Foundation, Run4yourmind and the Birch Network, allowing them to welcome a new intake every quarter.

Each week, academy members meet virtually to share their progress, discuss openly how they are feeling and to get tips from a range of running experts, including Nick Butter, the first person to run a marathon in every country in the world. At the end of the programme, Coopah provides every graduate with a lifetime app/coaching subscription, so they can continue to benefit from the power of running.

“We’re on a mission to inspire 10 million runners,” continues Cooper. We aim to help people improve their lives through running. For every subscription that you buy, we will donate one to someone in need.”

For more information, images or comment/interviews please contact Peter Cooper on [email protected].