Sonja Foster an enthusiastic sportsperson from Barrow came along to a Sport Makers workshop back in November 2011. Sonja also completed England Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness course and was inspired to set up several very successful running sessions a week. The group became known as the Parkside Panthers and the hard work Sonja put in was recognised in 2012 when Sonja was named North West Sport Maker of the year after Active Cumbria submitted a nomination video for her.
One of nine regional winners across the country, Sonja was inspired by Sport Makers to of introduce more people in Barrow to running. She now leads a local running group from Barrow Leisure Centre and she supported some of her runners to set their own club up on Walney Island. Sonja’s running club is for people of mixed abilities and she has also helped set up a local park run and has been helping coach at a local swimming club.
She said: “I became a Sport Maker as it sounded really good – getting people off the sofa and out exercising. It’s made me feel really good to see people achieving things they thought they couldn’t do. To be honoured with this award is amazing but I was a bit embarrassed when I first found out as I do what I do because I enjoy it.”
Sport Makers is part of Sport England’s official legacy programme, Places People Play, bringing the inspiration and magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities across England.
Sport England Chair, Richard Lewis, said: “Sport Makers is all about finding and supporting local heroes like Sonja. After being inspired by the Games and wanting to make a difference in her local community, she is now helping people create a sporting habit for life. Sonja is what the Olympic and Paralympic legacy is all about.”
Becky Underwood, Development Officer at Active Cumbria, said: “Sonja is a truly inspirational Sport Maker, the number of people she has encouraged and supported to take up running in Barrow is fantastic. Sonja truly represents the legacy of London 2012 and the great work being done by Sport Makers a cross Cumbria and the North West”