Tonight I was Janathon running with my fledgling runners around Stafford – they’re a great bunch: hard working, enthusiastic and always cheerful (despite the winter weather and their aching legs). As we ran (Runkeeper), I was chatting away (the usual meaningless bollocks that normally comes out of my mouth) but in the background, I quietly was musing. When does a beginner become a fully fledged runner? What defines a beginner?
Earlier in the year, two friends of mine entered the Tamworth 10K as absolute beginners. However, with minimal training Duncan finished in 46 mins and Matt in 56 mins (or there abouts)! I was seriously impressed. My first ever 10k was 63 minutes! ‘Beginner’ clearly doesn’t mean slow… Now these two chaps have competed in a race, are they no longer beginners? Neither run regularly… their 10K shenanigans the result of drunken bets. Are they even runners? It’s all very confusing.
We are getting to the stage where some of my enthusiastic work-based troop are ready to head off, into the big wide world, and join an official, bona-fide affiliated UK Athletics running club. If just a few of them do, then I will be delighted, as I will have achieved my goal. But how do I convince them they are ready? Joining a club can be intimidating, and no doubt, they will call themselves ‘beginners’ when they do!
It’s clear, in light of that, that people self-define as a ‘beginner runner’, regardless of their capability. However, a few weeks ago (I’m sure they won’t mind me saying) 100 yards was enough to bring some of them to their knees. Tonight, they all ran a mile circuit without stopping. Did you know that less than 1% of the population can do that? And they’ve had Christmas in-between. But they’ve kept at it, and are now part of an exclusive club. They are getting fit for life.
Tonight I told my folk that it wasn’t about speed, it was about having a go, and doing their best. And I reminded them that it’s not the winning that counts, it’s having the courage to enter the race. That said, life is like a race… as The Housemartins sang: “and they’ve always got to be there for yesterday, welcome to the new Scalextric breed“.
Folk these days move so quickly. You drive at the speed limit, there’s always some knob-head wanting to get past. You wait patiently in a queue at the supermarket, there’s always someone moaning about the wait. I’m enjoying running with my (now intermediate) runners, but since they won’t be beginners for long, I hope they remember that if they move too fast, they run the risk of forgetting that we’re not just club runners, we are friends.
Janathon 2013 Stats
Total Miles = 54.15
Total KM = 87.15
Total Calories = 6954
Big Macs = 14.2
Pints of Strongbow = 29.0
Days Worth Calories = 3.5
Journeys to Work = 3.90