Sharon and I have been running ‘seriously’ for a year or so now and I think one of the first signs of this is when you become a member of a running club. I’d never thought about such a thing before but about a year ago it was suggested that I join a club. There were two that I knew about in my local area and part of the deciding factor in deciding which one to join was which is the nearest one to home - especially as I commute into central London most days so need something that’s not too far away at the end of the working day.
One wintery Tuesday evening in November 2006 Sharon and I ventured to Ranelagh Harriers who are based just outside of Richmond. We introduced ourselves to a chap who immediately made us feel welcome and told us about how the club operates. He invited us to ‘try it out’ for a couple of weeks or so with no obligation to join. Well, within a couple of weeks we’d paid our cheque and were now members of a running club.
A couple of months later we chose to also join The Stragglers running club - the reasons for joining the club were because of 1) we know quite a few members of the club, and 2) their ‘club’ night group run is on a different day so we pretty much double the opportunities for club running during the week - which is ideal if I’m stuck late at work or whatever.
One of the things I love about being a member of a club is that you get to meet and socialise with like-minded people - you feel part of a group, which is a fantastic feeling when you’re at a race and you’re part of a group of club runners. When you’re racing, people around you know you’re a club runner and you’re serious (or at least look the part wearing the club vest!) - you’re never on your own. Additionally, since I joined a club the number of times I’ve run on my own has gone right down - there’s always someone to go running with - both on long slow Sunday runs around the park, or on club training nights when you’re working on things such as speed training.
A very good friend of mine with whom I went to University (many years ago) recently took up running has recently joined a local running club near to where he lives and has blogged about it. If you’re thinking about joining a running club then I urge you to read about Richards experience of his first night at a running club.
Finally, this time a year ago I took part in the Cabbage Patch 10 road race in Twickenham as an unattached (non-running club member) runner. Next Sunday I will be running this race again, and wearing a Ranelagh Harriers vest with pride, and I’m going to get a PB (personal best) time over the distance whilst I’m at it (famous last words eh!).