Something different seems to have evolved in the past 2 or three years.
A few years ago, Bristol & West Athletic Club decided they needed to engage with recreational and new runners, partly to create a supply of more competitive runners for their teams, perhaps to access sources of funding, but also because it is simply the right thing to do if you are passionate about running.
Keith Brackstone and Chris Elson, both very experienced runners and coaches - the real deal - were the principle engineers of this change, and they now have open, friendly groups meeting and running weekly at locations all across Bristol. (Check out the "clubs" listing on this site.)
Another pair of passionate people have also set up a number of groups for women. Starting with Frenchay Runners, then Brislington runners, and now under the name Just Jog, they have received funding to set up new groups specifically to engage more people with running in the inner city. They are so passionate, they have even joined me to help keep this website going!
And of course there are just regular groups and clubs too - way more than in past years. What's going on?