Who doesn’t want to join their friendly local running club? Getting together for a social once a week, chatting to likeminded folk, burning a few calories and sinking a pint in the pub afterwards. What could be better? Well, here are a few things for starters.
Don’t be rude
Occasionally, I run past a running club group who move to one side of the pavement. If that’s you, thank you. I really appreciate it.
Because the norm is to carry on running two abreast, forcing me off the pavement and onto the road. When there’s one or two of you, that’s annoying. When there’s twenty of you on a busy road, it’s dangerous.
Don’t be intimidating
Cat calling a runner is never appreciated. But you know that don’t you? Because any other night of the week you run alone as well. And when people hurl abuse at you as you run past a pub, it makes your blood boil.
If you’re like me, you take pleasure in stopping to shout some abuse back. If you’re of a more nervous disposition, it’s intimidating. The next time you think about going for a run alone, it makes you anxious. So you stick to your club run where there’s safety in numbers.
Now, you do the cat calling. You yell at me that I’m going the wrong way. Please allow me to reassure you that away from you will NEVER be the wrong way.
You boo me on the finish line of a marathon, because I beat your mate Ken in a sprint finish. Here’s another little gem of information for you. I couldn’t care less whether I beat Ken or not, I’m sprinting because I’m close to my PB, or maybe because my children are on the finish line watching.
Or maybe, just maybe, I’m sprinting because I’ve spent the best part of two hours running with Ken and we’ve been motivating each other to keep going. Maybe I do care whether I beat Ken, because our friendly competition is the only thing that has seen us through the lonely miles since you ditched him at mile one when he stopped to tie his shoelace.
Don’t run in huge groups
Run in groups of six, run single file when you’re passing someone and run with people who are of a similar speed. Don’t run in groups of twenty with some prize plum at the front who insists on running backwards to make sure that everyone knows he should be in a faster group.
You want new members, of course you do. They pay their membership fee, giving you more money to put behind the bar at your next social. So, run in groups that are friendly and approachable in size. How many people want to join a running club that makes them feel intimidated?
If you must run in massive groups, get out of the way when someone wants to pass you. If you’ve finished your run and you’re standing around on the pavement when I’m still running, that’s even more reason to get out of the way. It’s definitely not a reason to give me daggers when you have to break off your ‘hilarious’ conversation when I run through the middle of your group to avoid oncoming traffic.
My dog doesn’t want to join your running club
If you’re running past, make eye contact. It makes you more approachable and less intimidating. Just for the record, the eye contact needs to be with me, not the dog. Don’t avoid making eye contact by looking at the dog. Believe it or not if you don’t look at me, I can still see you. I will still expect you to run in single file instead of forcing me onto the road.
Most of all, don’t call my dog as you’re running past. It’s hard enough getting her to run in a straight line without you squawking at her. Don’t ask her if she wants to join you, because I can assure you she doesn’t. She hears that line at least six times for every club run she passes.
In case I’ve left you in any doubt, my dog doesn’t want to join your running club. And neither do I.