I’ve been checking back on my running log (I use Veloviewer) and the first Red Rose run I can find was on Thursday 27/12/2012. I had done the Boxing day 10k in Worden park the day before and noticed some (quite a lot of) Red Rose vests. I remember googling running clubs when I got home after the race and deciding to give Red Rose a go.
I wasn’t a member at this stage of course, I just went along to see what it was like as I was bored and demotivated running alone.
On the Thursday, I turned up (at the wrong car park as it turned out. I went to the Walton Fox for some reason but no one there looked like a runner. At the time, I thought I knew what a runner looked like. I have since learned that apart from the clothing, the only way you can tell a runner is by their watch) so I quickly checked the details for the meetup and got to Poachers in time.
I remember being amazed that 40 or so people had turned up on a freezing cold Thursday. I’d expected a dozen or so at most. I know that seems like a small number now, but this was 8 years ago. The club has grown massively.

Stu Cann was leading the group and we did reps on Cow Well Lane. It probably tells you something about me that I can write that my fastest rep was 24 seconds that night (I love a good stat). I also distinctly remember Dave Maudsley running with me and making me feel welcome. He could obviously tell that I was new and didn’t know anyone but he was so friendly and supportive that I was sold right there. A couple of weeks later I joined.
In the following years, I got to know a lot more of the club members and running became a much bigger part of my life. Actually, that’s not true. Red Rose became a big part of my life. Running was just the thing that enabled me to meet my mates in Red Rose. Thursday was a chance to chat, catch up, meet new people.
Club run on Thursday, parkrun on Saturday and maybe a race on Sunday. Nice.

At the time, my job was pretty pressured and stress was a constant issue. Running let me ‘turn my head off’. It’s amazing how difficult it is to worry about anything when you’re running. Of course, the stress came back later but it took a while. Running was my fix. Some of my mates used alcohol. I’m so glad that I didn’t go down that road.

Last year, that all stopped. I’ve had achilles problems off and on for years but in February last year it stopped me dead. I still don’t know what caused it after being generally fine for so long but for a long time I couldn’t run at all. After a few weeks I could jog a bit but not enough to run with the Thursday group.

Shortly afterwards I had some employment related disruption. If you remember, the weather at the time was fantastic. I suddenly had plenty of time but couldn’t run.
After being so active for so long, I did nothing for weeks. It took me a while to drag myself into a better place (with the help of some very good friends). Eventually I started cycling more and bouldering with my daughter at a centre in Walton Summit.

Mostly I spent my time falling off and wearing ridiculous shorts.

But it gave me something to focus on and I’ve found that I need that. I can’t have nothing to do.

Now here we are with this Covid-19 rubbish and I can’t climb anymore. It’s a shame because I was getting better.

I’m still falling off but I get further and my pants aren’t as ridiculous.

It’s a tough time though being apart from family and friends. I sometimes find myself going several days without speaking to anyone except Alexa and she’s getting a bit predictable, although asking her to do a squeaky balloon fart is always entertaining. Try it. 🙂

So now I can’t climb and I’m still not running much, I’m using an indoor cycle trainer and Zwift. www.zwift.com to fill my activity requirements during the day.

Unfortunately I can’t be on the bike all day and I still get bored so I find myself eating (Do you find yourself doing that?) When this is all over I’ll either be exceptionally fit or exceptionally fat. Maybe both, who knows.
I’m still not running but maybe when this is all over my ankle will stand up to a bit of Thursday club running. I certainly hope so then maybe I’ll be able to see you all again. It’s been too long.