I quite liked running at school and won the 1500m at sports day when I was 12 years old. Then nothing at all, for a very long time. Zilch! The years rolled on, and I thought when I got to age 45 it would probably be a good idea to actually start doing some sort of exercise while I was still physically able to do so. Better late than never and all that. I’d been quite good at running many years before, so thought this would be an excellent option! So, I got myself a pair of trainers and started going out at 6am in order to protect the public from the spectacle of me running about like an out of breath beetroot. I started slowly, with one minute run, one minute walk recurring and after 6 minutes running in total I thought I was going to need medical assistance. At this point joining the gym seemed like a sensible option where the paramedics could be summoned quickly if necessary, so off I went to do treadmill running. I hated it. Very, very boring and the only time I could go was when Jeremy Kyle was on the big screen which did not add to the experience. Still, I persevered and when I could run for about 30 minutes I saw an advert for Red Rose Road Runners in a local newsletter and went along on a Thursday about four years ago. I didn’t know anyone but was made to feel so welcome, and never left!! My first ever race was the Preston Guild 10k in 2012, which I entered sponsored to ensure I didn’t give up, and I was overwhelmed by the support from other Red Rose club members, mostly people I had never met, just because I was wearing a club vest!! I tend to go on the Thursday evening runs, and have recently started going along on Friday morning runs which start from Avenham park.
My favourite races are probably the ones where there is a big Red Rose turn out. The first time I went to one of the Interclub races at Worden Park, I was really impressed that as a club, the idea that no one gets left behind runs true whatever the event, and while other clubs were charging off to the buffet, Red Rose waited until the last runner had come in.
I think I am slightly addicted to parkrun and attend Cuerden Valley parkrun most weeks. I have volunteered as pacer quite a lot in the past to try and help other people get a better time and I’m happy to run with anyone who I can stay with and still be able to talk. Having another person there seems to keep you going on the bits where normally you want to slow down – not very scientific, but seems to work. There have been times when the person I have been pacing has been so fast I have had to shout encouragement from a distance somewhere behind, and sometimes not been able to speak at all!! You know who you are . More recently a few of us have been venturing further afield to try out some of the other local parkruns but none of them seem to have the same community family atmosphere as Cuerden Valley parkrun. All welcome on future excursions 🙂
I tend not to be a PB chaser myself but am pleasantly surprised if I get an improved time. I would much rather run with someone else and have a bit of a chat on the way round than run on my own, and I hardly ever do any solo running. I much prefer social running and have met a fantastic group of people and made some wonderful friends through Red Rose and parkrun who also like to run and talk, and sometimes even sing!