1st sept 2017, 9am, 17 novice, inexperienced, average 5 mile runners have just frantically gone through the stress, the excitement, the tears and fears as reality has set in as they have signed up to run the Lakeland 50 mile event in July 2018. As the rest of the run club, support, encourage, sooth and I'm guessing thinking to themselves, 'silly people', but thats what makes our running group so special we each individually set ourselves goals, we inspire, we encourage...
The Lakeland 50 event is a challenge for most runners that enter.
Why? Why did these 17 people feel that they want to enter such a massive challenge, we talked previously about Cathy, our couch to 50 mile runner, running for brother? But what has made these individuals want to put themselves through this painful yet amazing experience?
April 2017: The start of something special.... Or not!
Daddy Dave turns up to run club one Sunday morning armed with his bum bag, a kit list and the items needed to 'save your life!' little did they know that the prospect of a new Ron Hill bum-bag would be the start of something that only a small percentage of people, a. have the guts to try and b. enjoy pain and yet a sense of self of achievement 3 days later!
"It's only 3 miles" he tells them with a little grin on his face!
It's a Tuesday evening not too hot not to cold, flapping about what to run in, we drive into the field and daddy dave says, its just up that hill and back down for Pasta.... We are currently at Mearly Clough fell race, 3.5 miles and 380 metres ascent. Good job we are beginners and have no idea what that really means, or whats in store.
This is one of the toughest challenges yet.
Bev and Donna became friends through their fitness and decided to join the run club on a Sunday together to get fit for a 10k race little did they know that only months later they would be competing in fell races, smiling, they worked so hard throughout the race, they were out on the fell longer than most and one of the last runners to come through, this does not matter, winning does not matter, being on that start line with some of the fittest people, some elite athletes and just finishing the race is what matters, that sense of achievement that feeling of pain that only a fell runner understands, crawling on your hand and knees up the climb, sliding down on your bum as the descent is so steep your gonna fly down on bum anyway when you slip. That smile through the pain hours later knowing what you just did was utterly amazing and the toughest thing you will ever face.... To date anyway!
Could this be why our runners felt they to could complete the Lakeland 50 mile Challenge?
For some of our Sunday Runners the challenge doesn't always mean setting yourself an ultra running distance race, Its often just overcoming the fear, and turning up each Sunday morning, It's running that first 3 miles, 5 miles etc, it's being able for the first time to run up the hill and only have to stop twice. its about not feeling the need to be a certain level but come along because you enjoy it, you enjoy the company, the fun, whilst being healthy, getting fit and the happiness it brings. It's also about belonging, and I've been told by members that the running is great for their fitness but the 'yellow army' is what is great for their wellbeing, that sense of belonging, someone to be there when they had a bad day, need advice (not just running related), when your injured, or struggling, having someone to check that you're ok, if you need anything? Even at times motivate you... and this is were the Mummy Margaret comes in, a non runner, a running widow to her daughter and husband, a full time mud cleaner... and that caring mother hen of the group, always there cheering on, giving hugs at the end of an Epic Adventure, a race or just when you need one. She is the photographer, first aider and most importantly the brew maker!
And the big question is what else have the yellow army members achieved in such a short time?
Why are they so powerful?