A social-focused running group set up during the Covid pandemic has celebrated its first birthday.

Go Rogue was created when a group of residents had struggled for motivation to keep fit as the months of lockdown wore on, and with no parkrun to attend.

The idea of offering each other moral support snowballed and enabled them to organise larger runs when restrictions permitted.

Their primary focus is not setting the world alight with personal best times, but supporting every member to keep fit and particularly catering to people with or recovering from physical or mental disabilities.

The "like-minded" group organised a special birthday run on Saturday, enjoying a slice of cake, glass of bucks fizz and an ice lolly in the sun.

Co-founder Amanda Oxlade-Gotobed said: "The mental health side of things was important. Seeing somebody is what we are totally missing.

"More and more people started coming on board. We needed to be very careful on making sure it is not a running club.

"We are aiming towards people that have got health problems.

Basingstoke Gazette: Amanda Oxlade-Gotobed and Geoff HerronAmanda Oxlade-Gotobed and Geoff Herron

"We are not the fastest runners," she continued, adding that members complete distances they feel comfortable with at their own pace.

For example, she added, they have some members who walk whilst chatting to friends and others who are using it to train towards 10k races and half marathons.

The group currently run two sessions a week, on a Thursday evening and Saturday morning.

After a successful summer, they soon found it harder to meet in groups as restrictions on gatherings came back into force.

Instead, they would use their social media page as a forum, so members could post when they are planning on going for a run and one other person would be able to join, in line with previous lockdown restrictions.

Co-founder Geoff Herron added that the formation of the group was about "camaraderie", adding: "We will keep expanding but we will try and keep it friendly and stay responsible.

And the benefits of encouraging each other to stay fit has already had benefits to some of its members.

Among them is Michelle Kent, a 49-year-old retail worker who has lived with cerebral palsy since birth.

She said she joined "for the mental health and physical health" benefits after being furloughed from her job three times during lockdown, and describes joining Go Rogue as the best thing she has done.

Basingstoke Gazette: Michelle KentMichelle Kent

"I have seizures brought on by stress, anxiety and depression," she told The Gazette.

"Amanda contacted me and said 'do you want to join our running group'. It was the best thing I have done.

"It keeps me motivated and they are so supportive, we all support each other.

"I was told if I did not exercise I would end up in a wheelchair.

"My seizures have more or less stopped. I am very slow but I am getting faster.

"You just get into the run and forget about everything."

If you're interested in joining the group, search 'Go Rogue' on Facebook.