Walking down a local high street yesterday morning, after the final WeightWatchers meeting for the year, I spotted a bright orange poster advertising a C25K programme to start on Sunday mornings in a Sutton Park. Found the running group on Facebook and sent a message asking if they minded very slow runners (5k >40 minutes). Got a very friendly response saying they didn't mind at all and they never leave any Bullets behind! I have done a couple of 5k runs but always run out of breath after a few minutes; I cannot run in a group or pace myself properly.
Rolled up this morning at 0740 for the warm up. That went well; the leader explained why we were doing what we were doing. Makes a change from doing the five minute brisk walk. The leader then asked if there were any newcomers. It was explained the aim of the group was to enjoy running; not win, get to know each other and run at our own paces. The group split into fast, medium and social - and I joined the social group. It was made very clear at the start and during the run, that if I wanted to walk, I should walk.
There were two or three Bullets who kept me company - and kept telling me to slow down! They even stayed and held open pedestrian gates - not sure that was a positive - stopping to open a gate is always an opportunity to catch your breath! I received good advice about how to run, how to keep moving, how to use pace, and - perhaps the most surprising for me - I was able to talk and run for most of it.
Exhausted but happy I persuaded one of the Bullets to take a picture of me in my Acorns Santa hat with Phil, the Bullet that ended up keeping me company right through to the end.
Being invited to join them for coffee afterwards was very nice. Rounded the event off quite nicely and on a high. Found out they change the route around the park and have socials every couple of weeks. I feel encouraged to carry on running during the week, but at the same time not obligated to run with them every Sunday. I was the slowest one there and it was strange leaving Laura behind, but it was worth it to meet up with other runners who enjoy the sport and want to share their enthusiasm.
I will definitely return next Sunday and see if it is any easier.