Introduction: Run to Quit is a national community-based program that combines smoking cessation support with physical activity through learn to run group-based curriculum, self-help and smoking cessation materials. The program is currently in a three-year scaling up phase.
Aims: The aim of the current study is to explore participant experiences of the Run to Quit program after its first year, and identify potential areas of improvement for future iterations of the program.
Methods: Participants (n = 55) were interviewed over the phone at the end of the 10-week program. Participant interviews were recorded and transcribed. A thematic analysis was conducted.
Results/Findings: Participants were satisfied with the program. Strengths of the program were the group aspect, supervised participation and the running. Weaknesses were seen as the variability in walking and running abilities and inadequate engagement by the Smokers Helpline. Many people who successfully quit smoking reported using additional quit aids. Non-completers of the program gave mostly logistical and personal reasons for dropout.
Conclusions: Overall, Run to Quit was well received by participants. Multiple health behaviour interventions at a scalable level appear feasible. Based on participant feedback, key recommendations to improve the program in the future include greater tailoring to walking or running preference, and increasing engagement with the Smokers Helpline.