I decided to join Kenilworth Runners after going to support my brother, who is also a member, doing his leg of the Hilly 100 in May 2013. I enjoyed seeing the team spirit and social side of the club. Since then I have joined many club sessions and events, as there is always something going on and it’s really helped me mix my training up, which has helped me improve my 10k time by 5 minutes and my half marathon time by 9 minutes!
When I first started running at Kenilworth Runners I could do 3/4 miles but they soon helped me up to a regular 7/8 miles. A few years later I've now done several half marathons and quite a few obstacle races. In a few weeks I'm doing my first marathon. All thanks to the help and support from Kenilworth Runners.
I had been running for over 10 years, and the idea of joining a club was often brought up in conversation, but I always seemed to have a good reason not to join; Clubs were cliquey and competitive and I wasn’t good enough, or I didn’t have the time with family commitments etc. The truth is I was probably quite shy,
I got to a place in my life where the best time for me to go out running was on a Tuesday and a Thursday evening, and it happened on several occasions that one of the club members who was also out running with the club, asked me if I fancied going along to the club. I always managed to put off accepting the invitation, but then one night he was running past me the other way and asked me to join him and his club mates and run with them. We then had a serious chat about the club, and eventually a few weeks later I decided to take the plunge and go along to see what it was like.
I was really nervous about going along the first night but I turned up and was very well looked after. What I discovered about the club was that all my misconceptions about clubs were misguided in the case of Kenilworth Runners. They are an incredibly friendly bunch of people. There are runners of all abilities there, and after a few sessions, I soon found a group who ran at a similar pace to me.
Being a member of the club has given me opportunities to take part in events I wouldn’t normally do, and it is possible to explore just about every ‘genre’ of running, from cross country to marathon and beyond. Whatever type of event I have been interested in, there has been someone at the club who has experience and they give nothing but positive encouragement for me to do my best and have a go. It really is simply up to me to make as much or as little use of this wonderful wealth of experience and opportunity as I want.
It is safe to say most of what I’ve achieved recently I would not have done if I had not joined the club. But above all of that, I have met some of the friendliest, most supportive and inspirational people I know. My only regret is I didn’t join the club years ago. And at £1.00 per week, it is an absolute bargain. Cheaper than a bag of chips and so much healthier.
My motivations for joining a running club were pretty simple; I wanted to get better at running and get involved in more racing. For me personally, I love the Monday track sessions, they continue to teach me how to increase my speed, and how to do it properly without getting injured. If you then combine that with the wealth of support and advice that is available from the incredible experience and talent held within this club, you have a recipe for some serious improvement.
Whatever your ability, you will find people from Kenilworth Runners at the same level as you, and you will find people at a level that you aspire to; but you will also find people that are inclusive and encouraging however fast they can run. There is real sense of pride from everyone at the club who dons the Kenilworth green vest, and turning up at a race surrounded by one of the strongest and most passionate clubs in the region really does see the minutes dropping off those PBs.
So for 3 years I resisted joining. I can train myself to run, why do I need people telling me how to do it? I was quite happy, improving year on year, slowly getting better. Then in April I had a setback, running the London Marathon much slower than I'd anticipated. That was the cue to look for help. I'm glad I did.
The welcoming nature of the club is what strikes you first. Everyone happy to talk and share experiences. It doesn't matter what level you're at, you run and there's a common bond between us all. Every ability is catered for and no one is left out.
I wish I'd joined 3 years ago, in the 5 months since joining I have made mass improvements, culminating in September 2014, when I PB'ed at 5k, 10k and Half Marathon within 4 weeks of each other. I'm now sub 20, sub 40 and sub 90 respectively. Never thought that would happen. Thank you to all at the club, I've never enjoyed running so much with all of you