This weekend I had a new running experience; a running club race. I’ve just joined my first ever running club and am now the proud of owner of this very fine black and white singlet. My first singlet nonetheless, which in my mind when I wear it I look like a white Usain Bolt. Alas I think Mr Muscle may be a better description.
The race was an interesting one, the Ridgeway relay is a team relay along the Ridgeway (as the name suggests), all 83 miles of it. Each person does a leg of between 4 and 10 miles and obviously it’s the first team to complete all legs. There were 40 odd teams competing which when you multiply by 10 legs and often more than one person running a leg together that’s a whole lot of people. All good fun I thought, plus being along the Ridgeway I figured it would be perfect training for the Race to the Stones next month so I put my name down for a 10 mile leg.
As I said this was my first experience of a club race and if I had to sum it up in one word it would be SERIOUS. The way some of the teams were talking as they waited for their runner to come in you’d have thought it was the Olympic games. Quite a different atmosphere to the trail races I normally frequent where most people view the taking part and the camaraderie as important as the time and place they finish.
Also I’m really not sure about the whole singlet thing, seeing so much hairy flesh on show is enough to put anyone off running, although it is an incentive to overtake someone just so you don’t have to look at a hairy back any longer. I think I may have been shunned a little by the other runners as was running wearing my race vest. 10 hilly miles in this warm weather mean I want to carry water with me, however I seemed to be the only person who thought that was a good idea.
But it was good fun, I ran the time I expected and only got overtaken by 1 runner so I class that as a success. However it’s fair to say it hurt quite a lot, especially as I decided to run the 6.5 miles from my house to the start of the leg. I wanted to get a few more miles in for my ultra training and the leg finished 2 miles from home so logically made sense not to take a car to the start. That is probably ultra runner logic rather than normal logic though right? I told myself that the 2 mile run home would be a good cool down, which it was as I walked most of it.
Could that be my first and last appearance in club colours though? I joined mainly to get my UK Athletics number so I start getting my race stats recorded (vain I know). I’m inherently an anti social person when it comes to running, I really enjoy getting out on the trails alone, it’s my ‘me’ time and time when I can think or just enjoy the views. I also am most definitely a morning runner, that’s the slot that is both my preference and the one that fits with work and family life. With club training on weekday evenings it’s unlikely I’ll get along to many to actually enjoy some of the other benefits of being a club member.
So what do you think? Am I missing the whole point of being part of a club? Can you be a happy active club member if you are most at home on the trails?