What a six months it has been, you will often hear that you can count the number of true friends on one hand and such friends are hard to come by. I would suggest there may be some truth in that but if my first six months at the Harriers is anything to go by, I am pretty confident I have made some true friendships which will last a lifetime.
It was Tuesday June 7th 2022 when I first stepped through the clubhouse doors, only to be told to head to Magdale for a 5k time trial, talk about being thrown in the at the deep-end!
That said, the welcome was tremendous, or was that everybody trying to work out what time I was likely to run, trust me back then it was very much all the gear and no idea!
I should have attended one of the induction evenings on offer which I have since seen occur on a regular basis, a fantastic idea and one which would have genuinely helped. Phil, Rob and Kevin did a tremendous job in helping me to settle in and allow me to get up to speed on how the club operates; I also think it is a cunning ploy to induct you into some speed and stamina sessions!!
I started back running after a 25 year ‘recovery’ period and, like so many through COVID, very much for my own mental well-being, I have to say this has become even better since joining this wonderful club.
The Club does so many things well but I wonder if they realise just how well?
In my world, I often talk about a WW, MM and FF and many may think I have lost the plot here but bear with me and let me share my experience of how this happens at the Harriers.
Every Tuesday and Thursday you are met at the door with a smile and a hello, there is no better warm welcome (WW). This is further enhanced by the announcement committee, Helena, Michael and Helen who do an excellent job in informing every one of the latest results, achievements and news, memorable moments (MM). Finally at the end of the sessions, I have yet to leave the club without that fond farewell (FF), everyone makes the effort no matter how hard the session was, how bad the weather was or how they are generally feeling, there is great camaraderie. It doesn’t stop there though, Strava shares your run and any disappointment you may have is gradually reversed as you receive kudos and comments, all of which are very much appreciated and subliminally integrates you more into the Club.
On a personal level, last week was the Ribble 10k (27/12/22) where I travelled with Phil and Tim and albeit a cold and early start, both were welcoming and very generous with their time and knowledge (WW). I managed a new PB (MM), despite the lead car being out of site within 1km, which wouldn’t have occurred without the help of the many groups I have trained with but in particular Helen S., Chris, Helena, Sally, Craig, Katie & Adam to name but a few. Finally the trip home, coffee in hand, we digested and dissected our runs, never underestimate how important this is, particularly when just starting out, the observations from like-minded interested friends are priceless (FF).
Everyone will have their own aspirations and goals in terms of their athletics and also different expectations on what the Club should offer but, as with any Club, if you are willing to reach out to other members and give a little, I promise you that will be reciprocated tenfold, I can say that from my own experiences so far.
As a new member I would like to say that I feel the Club is very much going in the right direction. I couldn’t have wished for a better start to my rekindled love of running and feel very thankful for the new friendships I have already made.
To everyone I wish you all a wonderfully healthy and injury free 2023 and hope that you all achieve your own aspirations, whatever they be.
Interested in joining HHAC? Find out more on our New Members Page.