A FREE fitness group helping people to lose weight and get active is is proving a runaway success.

Inverclyde Couch to 5k was started by Stephen Jenkins and Jennifer McKechnie, who both live in Port Glasgow, to help like-minded people gain the confidence to get out and about pounding the streets to improve their health.

Completely free to join, it’s aimed at getting men and women who have either not run before or pulled on their trainers in a while from a starting position to doing a distance of five kilometres in nine weeks.

Nine people recently crossed the finish line of the first block by taking part in the Saturday morning Greenock Parkrun 5k on the Esplanade.

A further four folk also completed the nine-week course but missed out on the run due to work and holiday commitments.

Organiser Stephen is encouraging even more first-time runners to take part in the new block of weekly sessions at the Battery Park, which started last night.

He said: “The group is based on offering each other support and companionship to achieve a common goal.

“Obviously promoting the health aspects of doing exercise is also important not just for physical but mental wellness.

“Our motto is ‘start together, finish together’ and we all start our runs together and wait on everyone finishing before having a group chat.

“On the back of the first course our group has now reached 250 members on Facebook ready for the next course at the Battery.”

Jennifer got involved after relocating from Clydebank to the Port and says the group has not only helped her get fit but to meet people after moving to a new area.

She is now preparing to take on the Great Scottish Run 10k in October along with some of the other runners.

Jennifer said: “The first night is a sixty second run and people don’t think they can do that to begin with.

“I’d never run before in my life but I’ve done it and that’s why I love it.”

Stephen works for Farmfoods and the company donated £25 worth of water for the runners.

The group meets at 6.45pm every Tuesday and Thursday at the Cove Road end of Battery Park.

For more information join the ‘Inverclyde C25K’ Facebook page or email InverclydeC25K@hotmail.com