During a cool autumn evening in 2009, I was out in the park with my friends Elliott Egan and Matt Smith. Back then we didn’t really have very much work of any kind to do, so we regularly met up in the evenings, it was a rather enjoyable time, really.
Now, in Corsham (where I live, and subsequently, where this anecdote takes place) there is a running club (named, unoriginally, The Corsham Running Club, as far as I can remember.) The members of The Corsham Running Club like to do their runs during the evening (perhaps because it’s cooler then) and are usually wearing yellow clothes so that they’re easily visible to drivers.
While the three of us were sat socialising in the park, a group of those runners began passing us by…
“You know what’d be funny?” said Matt (it could have been Egan, but I think it was Matt), “If you ran along behind them until you reach the end of the park.
“Heh nah,” I said, “I don’t really want to…”
“Yeah you should,” said Egan. “It’d be really funny!”
“Yeah, go on!” Matt said.
“Ah, I guess. Okay then,” I said, somewhat reluctantly.
So I ran up to the group and started running along with them. As I got close to the end of the park, the head of the runners slowed down so that he was no longer in front, but beside me instead.
“So you’ve decided to join us then?” the Head Runner asked me happily. “We’ve just set out for a mile long run about the town!”
“Ah, sheesh, that’s a lot! I’ll probably only do a small bit, I might stop in a second.”
“No you won’t! Have confidence in yourself, you can make it!” he said and then gave me a pat on the back.
“Heh yeah… I guess…” I said.
So it seemed I didn’t really have much choice but to run with them for the entire mile. This was especially difficult due to the fact that I was wearing a pair of jeans and my old large black coat (which was full of important items.) As the run went along, the runners were divided into three groups: the athletic people who ran often (they were at the front), the overweight or elderly people (who were at the back) and me (I was in the middle, but about twenty metres from both groups of them). After a while, I started to become rather thirsty (the whole thing was rather unexpected after all) and I realised that, as I was so far ahead of the slower people, I could stop for a couple of seconds to sip from my Trusty Water Bottle. After enjoying those few seconds of luxury, I had to quickly start running quickly again to maintain my position, I didn’t want to be beaten by the slower people.
Before long, the whole thing had come to an end and all the runners (and me) were standing around outside the gym getting their breath back. I tried to quietly sneak off and get back to Egan and Matt (who had called my phone quite a few times during the run), but before I could, I was approached by the Head Runner again.
“I’m very proud of you, the way you spontaneously started running with us,” he said.
“Yeah well, you know, just wanna keep in shape!” I replied, smiling at him.
“And that you will! Let me just go and get the forms and you can become a proper member of our club!” he went in to get the forms and left me outside feeling awkward and guilty.
“Here are the forms,” he said when he returned, “you just need to fill out these few bits and I guess we’ll see you here next week, same time, same place! I suggest you wear something more suitable for running by the way…”
So, I filled out the forms nice and easily (I always have a pen on me, after all) and that’s the story of the only sports club I’ve ever joined, I suppose the moral of this story is that you shouldn’t be so easily persuaded to do things, or you may end up having to do something crazy… Like running a mile.