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Brian Bailes

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Join a club, we’re a friendly bunch. I have been running now for almost 30 years and love it!

Running is a great sport that anyone can do, and is as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. That is that beginners can just go and run to the shops and back if they choose on a Sunday afternoon, or the more serious runners can run sessions whenever they have time, and often run 10 miles or more on Sundays. The beauty of it being you don’t have to be a member of a club, you can just open the front door as “ X-Factor “ starts, and run ‘til it finishes completely free of charge.

The keener of us, often join clubs, and then it can become a social point round a more competitive atmosphere where training programmes are followed, or sessions are lead by either an experienced runner, or a coach. The result of that is often improvement! The improvement will often be based around the style of coaching, but can be faster times, or just completing a run without walking. (I know people who run for clubs, but still walk up hills, although their times are much better nowadays). The club I run for tends to concentrate more on middle distance training for the seniors, and track/shorter distances for junior runners.

I started running because I was sick of hearing a friend talking about running and so tried it to see what it was all about. Within a month I was hooked and running every night after work. I entered some local races, and reset the target performance after each race, sometimes it was made quicker, but sometimes after a reality check the time was extended. It was shortly after I married that I actually joined a club, still didn’t take it too seriously, but I had targets and was told the only way I would achieve these targets was if I joined a club that had a structured training programme.

When I joined the club it struck me what a pleasant set of people runners were. No aggression at all, it was an absolutely family friendly club, but with a hard working ethic. When I started working away for short periods of time I have continued with my training and often ended up as a guest at local running clubs always made welcome and always enjoyed seeing other clubs sessions that I have carried back to my own club. It is a wise man who listens and takes notice. There is never just one way to achieve a goal, and sometimes a change can be just what makes that difference!

I have enjoyed running for my club, when I joined I wanted to get below 40 minutes for 10k and 90 minutes for the half marathon, it took me 4 years to peak, but once I settled in to proper training with hill sessions and intervals etc, at the age of 34 I managed a 34 minute 10k and a 78 minute half. But, because we varied the training, I did venture onto the track, but that was never my thing. Pleasant and sociable, but hard work; there is nowhere to hide on the track. I managed 58’s for 400, but never achieved a sub two 800, although I got close. I have to say though if you stick at it… I managed an 82 minute half, two weeks before my 47th birthday. I was pleased with that.

As now I am in my latter years, although to look at me you couldn’t tell, (joke) this could actually be my running epitaph. I have run all over the north east, never been special, but always a good team counter, and as a result cannot go anywhere in athletics without a handful of people stopping me to pass the time of day, and that is what I love about it all. There is a message in this tail, if any of you reading this haven’t got so bored that you didn’t make it this far…

7 weeks ago I was knocked off my bike and run over by a lorry. I was very lucky in as much as the lorry just ran over my foot, so I survived. The doctors say it will be 12 months before I run again. I say, if I am not starting in 4 months I will probably never start again. It is really sad, I have still attended the cross country meetings on my crutches, and spoken to many people from “rival” local clubs, and for their well wishes I thank them all sincerely. I volunteer at park runs to try to encourage people in the sport to join in and compete. The local Harrier leagues are starting to swell in numbers and it is great to see, but please look up running clubs in your area and try them; most clubs will give a couple weeks free to see if you wish to join. You know, I have just thought of another reason for joining the clubs, safety in numbers, this isn’t sexist ladies, but you are much safer running in a group than on your own during the dark winter months; a good reason in itself.

Its dead easy, just google running clubs and the name of your town and you will find they have sprung up all over “since you last looked.” (Running clubs have Xmas parties that you don’t get if you run on your own).

I hope this will make you think, and consider joining a club, and I hope you all enjoy your running as much as I have over the last 20 odd years.

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About Brian Bailes

I have been running now for almost 30 years and love it! Running is a great sport that anyone can do, and is as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.

Author: Brian Bailes
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