In my 20’s and 30’s (whilst the children were little) I enjoyed jogging alone, I liked the peace and quiet, the time to think and the chance to explore the area I was in. Running on my own also meant I could go short distances at my own pace – very slow, so slow that little old ladies with Zimmer frames would pass me by! As the children got older I found that I didn’t need the peace and quite as much (!) and I started to think that it would be nice to meet other runners and maybe get a bit fitter and faster. However, the thought of joining a proper running club was scary! What if they were all super fit and left me puffing and panting miles behind them, they might all secretly laugh at me as I struggled to keep going. I researched local clubs and found that Waverley Harriers did a run on a Wednesday evening, which was a night I could manage to have a couple of hours to myself, but still the fear of embarrassing myself in front of seriously fast athletes kept me from making any contact. As I write this now I am trying to remember what the tipping point was for writing the email and being brave enough to actually turn up was. I think it might have been a new year’s resolution, whatever it was I found myself at the Farncombe Day Centre one Wednesday at 7pm with butterflies in my stomach and stood nervously on the edge of a group of about 12 people who all seemed to know each other, thinking what on earth have I let myself in for..
Within a minute or two Penny and Rachel had welcomed me and introduced me to another lady (Liz) who had only been there for a couple of weeks and was about the same fitness level as me and then all of a sudden we were leaving the club house and I was on my first run. I’m not going to lie, it was tough, really tough. They could all run faster than me and they seemed to be able to talk whilst they were running; I was struggling to do anything but breathe!. I thought it would never end but eventually the torture was over and I really thought that there was no point in me coming back, I could never be fit enough to join this club but Liz begged me to come back so that she had someone to run with so I said I would and that was 2 or 3 years ago now.
Gradually I found that it got easier, I started to get fitter and faster, the people in the club are lovely and all different levels of fitness and speeds. They were very patient with me, supportive and kind and have never made me feel embarrassed. I now have a few medals for taking part in local races, including one for a half marathon – which I never thought I would be able to do and am currently in training for my second one. I really enjoy keeping all my running statistics using an app on my phone and trying to increase my personal times and I am hoping to run this one faster than the first. I’m not a competitive person and am quite happy just trying to beat my own times. Being part of the club has given me the confidence to train more on my own as well.
Penny always leads the runs and Rachel stays at the back and nearly 3 years on I still run with Rachel and we spend the hour chatting as we run (yes, I can actually talk and run now!) so, if you are reading this and wondering if you are fit enough or fast enough, just come along and run with us at the back of the group. Honestly, if I can do it– you can!