At last, sports clubs for the slowpokes.

I’ve never been shy about how ‘bad’ I am at running.

I was beaten early on in my running at a half marathon by a person dressed as The Stig. I’ve been lapped by a person dressed as a chicken at a 10k. I’ve had a woman in a 15 foot tall inflatable dinosaur costume smoke me at a finish line. And let’s not get into the mysterious giant pumpkin that would appear at an annual Houston Halloween 5k and run 8 minute miles before disappearing into the night.

You won’t ever find me on the podium unless there is an error in the finishing results, or somehow I am the only one in my age group, or (the most likely outcome) if no one showed up to the race but me. Thing is, I never got into running for the glory – I got into it to be healthier both mentally and physically. A long time ago when average runners entering distance races over 10k was still new it wasn’t uncommon to find myself quite alone on a course for big stretches. Now it’s common to see walk/jog pacers as well as race walker early starts to make events more inclusive.

Now that I’m re-entering the running world I even get to join online running groups that don’t give a monkey about how fast I am. It used to be that to be a part of any running club you had to meet at a certain time and run at a certain pace – the pace being my biggest issue. Now I’m part of the Lonely Goat Running Club and for all the bits and pieces surrounding it I use the Stay Home Stay Motivated group for moral support. This morning I talked myself into running early before I could find an excuse not to and took all my online buddies with me – whoever happened to be up and about either running or not. It was great to feel as connected even though my course was solo – knowing other little slowpokes were out there walking or running or strength training or stretching… just doing their respective things and ready to hand out a thumbs up or high five or heart emoji.

So if you are like me – slow but terribly determined to finish whatever insane distance you signed yourself up for – know that right now there are loads of others who will gladly celebrate all your goals – no matter how big or how small they are. Consider joining a community – trading running stories – and encouraging others who may be just as scared as you once were. The world of running keeps getting bigger and more welcoming. Let’s keep it going.

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