Tonight I gave up … sometimes you have to look after no 1 first so that everything you do works for you. And tonight I gave up my role as a group run leader. I love my running club. It’s the best in the country. Officially. According to the mini poll I conducted tonight.
The club has grown in the ten years I’ve been a member. From a small group of 30-40 runners gathering outside the memorial hall, we now regularly have 200+ members turning up for their Tuesday night run.
Twice a year, I help to lead a beginners running course. The current course is my eighth one! And I LOVE the beginners course. We take complete beginners or lapsed runners from zero to 5k in 9 weeks. It’s amazing to watch the confidence grow. At first the beginners don’t believe that they’ll able to be run 5k at the end of the course. Tonight as I was leaving the club, I got chatting to one of ‘my’ beginners from last year and he’s gone all way up from Group 1 (our slowest group) to Group 7. In just 18 months.
As a group run leader, I take out one of the 11 running groups on a Tuesday night and sometimes lead the Sunday morning run. I usually take out Group 3 or 4 and we do between 4 and 5 miles, at around 10:30 / 11:30 pace.
The thing is … about 5 years ago I made a mistake. I persuaded my husband to join our beginners course. He loved it and then joined the club. So now we take it in turns. Which means I only get to the club every other week so I am nearly always leading a group.
When you lead a group, typically, it’s the group at the pace below yours. I rarely go to the club to just ‘run’. I don’t get the chance to push myself and move up through the groups. When I lead, I have to really concentrate to keep to the advertised pace; as well as keep an eye on the other runners; be alert for hazards; you’re ‘in charge’ of the route and the pace. Sometimes it would be nice to just run and follow somebody else without wondering “what’s the pavement like on Grosvenor Road” or “are the roadworks still on Orchard Grove or should we take the alternative route“.
Contribution – giving and contributing – is very important to me. I contribute to my running club; I contribute to NCT; and I contribute to local schools. However after 4 years, I am hanging up my run leader high viz vest. I ceremoniously handed it over to a new run leader tonight (rather appropriately, she started in one of our beginner courses).
I was touched to get a round of applause before we left the Rec tonight.
Looking after your own physical and mental wellness is so important, and yet, it’s often the easiest thing to drop. Today I decided I have contributed enough. Now it’s time to look after me and my running.
And that’s why I have given up. To look after me and my wellness. Because every time I say ‘Yes’ to taking out a group, I’m saying ‘No’ to me.