At a recent meeting the committee tackled the ongoing problem of people ending up running on their own during club runs.
In the past, some of us – mainly, but not solely, committee members – have run at the back to ensure the slower runners (a) don’t get lost and (b) have someone to run with. Whilst this has worked to some extent, it has had its drawbacks – namely, runners in the middle of the group also end up running on their own and people accompanying the back markers have had to run more slowly, often making the slower runners feel guilty for holding them back.
Again, we have tried in vain to encourage “looping back” – where people at the front occasionally turn round and run to the back. This has not always worked well because, even after a mile, the front runners can be 3 or 4 minutes ahead, with the result that few members even bother.
Bearing these points in mind we have decided to try a new approach. As far as is practicable, we shall split runners into pace groups as follows:
Individuals will NOT be allocated to a group, instead you will decide each evening which group you want to run with. Occasionally, you may wish to run with a faster group to push yourself or, perhaps following a strenuous race the previous day, run with a slower group as a recovery run. Such grouping should also make it easier to keep the group together and facilitate more frequent looping back. It is also incumbent on us all to take it in turns to run with back markers, just for 5 or 10 minutes, when we should then expect someone else to come back and take over.
It is very important to appreciate that on occasion we may not have enough committee members to lead these groups, but that does not mean they can’t operate. What it does mean is that members must take on collective responsibility for keeping the group together and not rely on someone else to look out for people running on their own.
It is worth remembering that one of the main reasons why we joined our club in the first place was to run with other people, so spare a thought for those of us who find ourselves on our own in the middle or at the back of the group.
To paraphrase the Liverpool anthem, our motto should be “You’ll never run alone”!