A Visitor’s Tale

Local runner and Newcastle parkrun regular Robert Brand ran with us recently. He writes about his experience.

After running for several years with my Garmin and music for company, I visited a running club for the first time on January 7th. After hearing good things about Claremont, I chose them, not knowing what to expect when I arrived. Following is my report on my (good) experience.

I arrived at the University of Northumbria sports centre at around 5:50pm, as the expected start time of the session was 6pm. I spotted a couple of faces that I recognised from Parkrun, namely Sumanth, Tom, Lorna and Charlotte. That helped a lot, as they were able to tell me what was happening, and where to go.

Just after 6pm, there was an announcement about a race happening on Sunday… and then the first group left. I wasn’t sure which group I should join (I was told that I should be in the fast group, but I had no intention of pushing myself too much), so when group 2 left, I was advised to wait for group 3 to leave. The idea being, there are 4 groups, where the slowest runners go first, and the faster ones leave later and catch them slower runners. When group 2 left to start their run (led by Tom), most of the people who were waiting, headed out with him. I took that as my cue to follow along.

So out we went, around 20 runners. I was told that the group would go at the pace of the slowest runner for the first half of the 7 mile run, and then on the second half, people were free to go at whichever pace they were comfortable doing. So along we ran, with me having no idea where we were heading! I generally ran by myself, except for having a good chat with Elizabeth about running styles. She is trying to turn into a Chi runner, meaning that she is trying to land on her mid-foot instead of her heel. She said that I had very good running form, and it looked natural.

After around two and a half miles, the fast group of around 10 runners caught us up. I decided to tag along with the faster runners for a bit. After a few moments, we caught up with the slowest group, so I then slowed down and joined them. This slower group of runners were very chatty, quite a contrast to the serious runners that I’d been running with just moments earlier.

Around 4 miles or so into the run, the faster people from group 2 (which I’d left earlier) had caught the slowest group up. There were 6 or so runners in this faster group, so I joined them. At this point, I became a bit of a pain, as I ran ahead of them a few times, then slowed down to let them catch me (not knowing the route, I couldn’t stay ahead for long). I stayed with this group until we all returned to the sports centre.

After the run, there was talk of some people visiting a local pub, but I didn’t go with them. I was just happy to have ran with a club for the first time, and being able to tell the tale! Will I join Claremont Road Runners? If they want me, I think so.