Monday 3rd April 2023.
4 (four!) first timers joined us for our Monday social run on the first light, sunny evening of the year. Welcome to Hayley, Evie, Becky and Bethan! As encouraged in our club, there was a wide range in abilities even between those 4 - from (in their own words) "keen runner" to "can't run for more than 25 minutes" to "just doing my couch to 5k but need some friendly encouragement and a weekly commitment to improve". More on them later...
The "usual" Monday evening 45 minute out-and-back was on the menu - run out around the housing estate for 23 minutes, then turn and try to get back to the start in 22. We were missing some run leaders today after exertions in races the day before, so some of the regulars were asked to support with faster runners while I brought up the rear with the couch to 5k lady. All were happy to oblige as always - more people to run and chat with, particularly on these social runs, are a positive to all.
At the halfway point, couch to 5k lady and I still hadn't stopped - so we kept going around our 5k loop. Trying to get to a first 5k for a couple of years was a real possibility, and a much bigger milestone than the original 45 minute target. At 4k we still hadn't stopped - I (half-jokingly) let her know that stopping now wasn't an option, and that we were pushing to 5k no matter what. And that's exactly what happened - the milestone came and went, and I hope she was half as happy as I was to help her get there weeks earlier than if she'd continued with the C25k program. I was absolutely buzzing afterwards!
The lady that "can't run for more than 25 minutes"? She'd told me her average pace beforehand, and it was quick! Not just 'quick for a beginner' - it was quick quick! She'd been grouped with someone running at a slightly slower pace than she normally would at the start, and with them pacing her she coasted round the 45 minutes and had plenty left in the tank for a sprint finish.
I think everyone enjoyed the session tonight. I certainly did - it was one of those that reminds you why you wanted to be a run leader. Fingers crossed it continues through the spring and summer.