I think I’m a fairly typical man, and so before I joined RunVerity, I thought I could do most things (better) on my own without needing help from anyone else or the need to be part of a team, and that certainly included running. I had dabbled in running before, never lasting very long or achieving very much, often getting injured, and falling far short of my potential. It is with a certain amount of shame that I admit I also discouraged Fiona from joining, and explained what a waste of money it would be, and that the roads and pavements are free
Before joining RunVerity I would have thought that successful running meant being alone, going as fast as possible, as far as possible, for every single run. Anything slower would be failure. Talking whilst running would never be an option, choosing to run with someone, or looping in a group would have been unthinkable. Standing in the cold cheering other runners on would have seemed like madness. Maybe a typical man, but I guess I’m excessively competitive and a bit selfish, so how would I suit a group like RunVerity.
4 years on, and I now realise the benefits of RunVerity. I have reached a potential I never knew I had, run faster and further than I ever thought possible, but more importantly, made so many friends and had so many laughs. We could talk endlessly about the technical benefits, actually learning how to run, proper drills, warmups and cool downs etc. I could bore people with talk of cadence and arm drive etc, but RunVerity is much more than that. The draw of the weeknight group run means I run when previously would have stayed in and watched TV. Running with the group means I get to mix it up – changing pace, doing recovery runs, interval training, hills and speed, and chatty runs. Mixing it up has made me stronger, faster and more resilient.
Yes, I’m still overly competitive, always will be, but I hope I’m less selfish. I still get to run on my own occasionally, and fast sometimes, but the group always draws you back. There is a fantastic feeling of friendship and support. It’s good listening to other runners experiences, challenges and successes, or just chatting about any old rubbish and putting the world to rights. There is real joy to be had supporting others while they achieve their best, or helping them through the tough times. I think I’m less selfish, and have some empathy which didn’t exist before. I have empathy for the challenges that women face doing sport, and now see the barriers and discrimination that shouldn’t be there, and need to be challenged – I now get to run with my daughter Millie, at her pace, and see the confidence that RunVerity and Running has given her. I’ll take that over a fast lonely run any day!