After finishing my first 5k I felt a little deflated as I had nothing now to work towards, so a friend suggested I join a local running club, the Lytchett Manor Striders.
I was pretty nervous the first time as I arrived at the pub carpark where everyone met after work. I had been worried that I would be way too slow and get left behind, but everyone was so lovely and I ran for a lot of the way with an older gentleman named Ken, who was actually the organiser of the Tuesday evening group. It became apparent to me as we chatted that Ken was an extremely experienced runner, and he kind of took me under his wing a bit and became a mentor to me in the beginning which really helped boost my confidence.
Of course at the end of the run everyone needed to rehydrate… We sat in the pub chatting, and this gave me the chance to meet a few of the other members. I noticed that there was a ring binder being passed around and asked what was in it – possibly my first mistake! It turned out to be a folder of application forms for all of the local races coming up. Nowadays you enter races online and give over your credit card details but back then you had to fill out an actual application form and mail a cheque!!
Of course as soon as I had expressed an interest, everyone starts telling me about which race I should target next, and before I knew it I had an application form for a 10k race which was to be held in November. I had four months to build up to it which seemed reasonable, and I was excited for a new challenge, although not entirely sure how I was going to run for double the distance that I had just completed. But everyone was so supportive and assured me that I could definitely do it!
If you like the idea of running with a group and socialising with other runners then joining a club is a great idea to meet other people with a common interest – but be warned, you may well get caught up in the excitement and start entering other races you didn’t even know about. That is how my racing addiction really started to take hold!!