Swindon’s largest running club have celebrated 10 years of providing an all-inclusive, non-competitive environment for keen athletes to don their trainers and run.

Slinn Allstars boasts 260 members, ranging in age from 18 to 81, just a decade on from being formed by an initial dozen pioneers in 2008.

Mike Wakefield, an original member of the club and its current chairman, said: “Ten years ago Swindon didn’t have a non-competitive running club that embraced all abilities so a few like-minded friends decided to start one.

“Our rationale was simple: to cater for anyone, of any ability, who wanted to run with a group for pleasure rather than in a competitive environment.

“In an age of growing obesity, busy lives and increasing social isolation, sports-related clubs are increasingly important to the health of the nation.

“Clubs like ours and events such as parkruns and Runvember really do make a difference to the lives of a great deal of people. I’m very proud to be part of that.”

Named after Les, who has a personal training business in Swindon, and Clare Slinn, the club was founded a decade ago to provide a welcome environment for runners of all abilities.

It has since flourished, seeing its membership base expand, and organising trips to exotic destinations around Europe.

Recent destinations have included Edinburgh, Madrid, Mallorca and Bournemouth, and this March club members and their partners will visit Cyprus for the Paphos running event.

The club also meets regularly for the parkrun at Lydiard Park on Saturday mornings, and have racked up over 12,000 visits and 36,000 miles between them.

Twice a year, the club runs a ten-week course to introduce beginners to running, pairing members with new starters.

Sarah Clark is one club member who started through such a course. She said: “Joining Slinn Allstars running club was one of the best things that I have ever done.

“Personally, I’ve had a very challenging time recently with several serious health issues within my family, and my mental health has suffered as a result. Being able to run, with the wonderful friends that I have met through the club, has been an absolute godsend for me, and really has helped me through some tough times.”

During Runvember, where members challenged themselves to run each day in November, Slinn Allstar’s members have raised over £15,000 for local charities, including Swindon’s MS Therapy Centre, Prospect Hospice and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

The club, which is affiliated to England Athletics, runs from St John’s Hall, Haydon Wick on Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm. It also runs from Swindon’s Village Hotel on Thursday evenings at 7pm during the winter months, and Broome Manor Golf Club in the summer.