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Brief History of Poplar Runners

It all started with a simple idea – get a few friends together, and go for a run to keep fit.

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Shelly Runners started on 13th May 2013 as a group of friends, keen to keep fit. We encouraged all sorts of runners to join us for a few miles.

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It started small. But we were having fun, so it continued. Runners soon started to join, attracted to our laid back attitude. We signed up friends through Facebook, building friendships and fitness at the same time. It wasn’t clear that people would join in… but they did!

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We didn’t, and still don’t care what you wear, how fit you are, or how you think you look – we want you all to join in and feel welcome. Just look at the founder Lee, on his first run, he was still wearing his football training kit.

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Poplar Runners became the official name, and our kit was decided as a smart black and white vest The name was taken from Poplar Road in Shelthorpe, as this was the place the club frequently met.


A wide range of ideas for kit were submitted from all members.

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As the club grew, the black and orange kit was taken – it really helps our runners stand out from the crowds.


Training was taken seriously from the start. Kevin Brooks and Darryl Hughes became the club coach and run leaders, and encouraged us to run harder, taking on hills and developing our running.

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Having fun is part of the pops story too – The first official night out of many was in 2014.
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The club had ambition to take part in races.

Our first race was at the Shepshed 7 in October 2013 – Darryl, Lee, Nicola and Bex all ran, and were recruiting runners on the way around!

In March 2014, we took a few runners to the Loughborough Half marathon.


We brought back a much larger team for the 2015 event


By 2016, we had to take over the band stand! Taking over the loughborough half marathon in style!

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We are a member of the Leicestershire Road Running League and Cross Country leagues, and have enjoyed great success, being promoted to the second division for mens and ladies teams in our first season.

Junior Pops, Cycling and walking too

In 2015 Gemma and Nicola approached Lee, Darryl and Kevin, separately, about setting up a Junior section. After getting the go-ahead, they got together and successfully started Poplar Runners Juniors, affectionately known as Junior Pops. Nicola and Gemma were joined by Roger and the Juniors made their debut at Rushcliffe Junior Park run in January 2016. After securing Adam Vasey as the Juniors coach, weekly training sessions began in February 2016. The Juniors team now consists of Gemma, Nicola, Roger, Emma and Laura and it continues to go from strength to strength!

Poplar Cycling Club began in 2014, with Guy Taylor leading a successful group of road cyclists.

In 2016, a walking group was created, to support those not quite ready to run.

Memories of the Poplar Runners

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Happy third birthday Poplar Runners


We remain true to our original purpose. We are now one of the biggest clubs in the area, but we try hard to retain our small club feel. Come and have a run with us, make some friends, and keep fit!