Introduction – Ian Wharton

Introduction – Ian Wharton

Some of you will know my name because I post the blogs onto the Red Rose website and share them on Facebook.

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I started running off and on about seven years ago but have only been consistently running for the last three years or so, which by happy coincidence is the same amount of time that I have been a member of Red Rose Road Runners. I started running to keep fit as I have a sedentary job and spend a lot of time in the car and so I joined Red Rose so my running would be a bit more structured and give me more motivation to run. That’s not the reason that I’m still here though.

I started posting the blogs almost 12 months ago. At the time, I thought they would be a way for members to post updates on races they had run, the training they were taking and other general running activities. Indeed some of the posts have been exactly that. However, I have been amazed at how the posts have evolved over the months. The blog isn’t so much about what people do any more as about WHY they do it.

The posts have made me realise that the reason I’m still with the club and the reason that I love it so much is not the running anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still love running. I sometimes feel that it keeps me sane. There’s nothing better after a stressful day than to get out and have a run. The stuff that’s been bugging me seems to melt away.

I also love racing. I’m not bothered about winning which is just as well, but I do like to be able to compete and thankfully, there are plenty of runners around my pace for me to chase round a course. But I’m sure that I could get all that from any club. The difference with Red Rose for me, isn’t what the club does, it’s the PEOPLE in the club who do it. The stuff you learn about members through the introductions have reinforced this for me.

Some of the posts are very personal. Many of us have struggled with problems such as injury, depression and stress. Some members have even battled cancer, heart problems, M.E. etc. It’s easy to forget that we all have challenges in our lives and it’s easy to become consumed by a negative view of the personal issues and problems that surround us but reading the individual challenges people have faced in some of these posts reminds me when I’m feeling down that none of us is alone. We all need support from time to time. I feel lucky that I have found great friends and support.

Some of the posts have revealed the drive and ambition of club members at all levels to challenge themselves with longer distances, faster times and better performances. It’s inspiring to see. In fact I almost feel like going for a run now but I’ve just had a large pizza and it’s cold outside and raining. Maybe I need a bit more inspiration.

I believe that the club and its members somehow have a way to help bring us together as individuals and makes the club very special. Something about it and the members creates a supportive and friendly atmosphere. I realised this at the first inter-club I attended in Blackpool. The run was great and I did ok, but what I remember was the awards ceremony afterwards. Prizes are given out for the previous years competition and it went something like this: –

Award for mumble goes to Preston Harriers (polite applause)
Award for mumble mumble goes to Chorley (polite applause)
Award for mumble goes to Red Rose (Massive cheer, stamping, clapping, high fives etc. for about five minutes)

I wonder what members of other clubs must think. “How do I join?” most likely.

Anyway, I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to contribute to the blog and I encourage others to share their own story. All the posts reflect the ethos of Red Rose and are a fantastic advert for the club. (With the possible exception of this one)

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