From Zero to Hero with Dalbeattie Running Club

I thought it might encourage some other newbies if I told you about my first 2 years as a runner.

I was reasonably fit when I started as I walk the dogs and do dog agility but the only time I tried running, I was an absolute gasping wreck for hours after! Then I read about the Jog Scotland programme and thought – “I can (probably!) do that.” I started in February 2013 and found everyone welcoming and encouraging. It was a real buzz graduating with my certificate just before my 66th birthday. I found it quite a challenge to join a proper running group round the town but Marvellous Margo was there to make it OK. It seems extraordinary now to remember that I was so self-conscious about wearing running gear – I popped round Tesco in it today!

Diana Lord

The next big challenge was the Holywood Stroll – I remember lurking at the back before the start, feeling slightly sick and hoping I could finish! Then the Dalbeattie 10k – that was better because we had tried the route beforehand – I was so chuffed to get round and enjoyed the steel band and all the cheering. On the strength of that, I entered the Great Scottish Glasgow 10k. I couldn’t believe the size of the field and the atmosphere with the pipers, the bands and all the spectators! I have a wonderful picture of the finish under the arch at Glasgow Green; I look awful but I am in front of two guys in their 30s who look worse – result!!!   After that, I had an awful cold and I had to nerve myself up to rejoin the club on Tuesdays but, of course, everyone was very welcoming.

I have a friend who is a serious runner and he once said – “I don’t really enjoy running but I love the challenges”. I think that is probably me too so I decided to give myself lots of challenges in 2015. I ran 5 5k races, 5 10ks, a 5 mile, a 10 mile and a half marathon. I set myself target times for PBs, which I have achieved on the whole, although I have yet to get under 27minutes for 5k (and maybe I never will). The Dumfries Half on September 20th was my big challenge of the year. I decided to do this race because I could try the route – I was not sure I could walk, leave alone run, 13 miles. Five weeks before, I did a recce run in 2 hours 47 minutes and felt awful. However, I trained hard and felt good on race day when the weather was ideal. I was thrilled with my time of 132 minutes and even managed a bit of a sprint at the end. My family called me a hero! My current challenge for December 2015 is the Marcothon.

So what have I learnt over my first 2 years as a runner? Firstly, there are perfectly normal looking people out there who achieve amazing things, like running ultras – astonishing! Secondly, lack of confidence is the biggest hurdle for a new runner to overcome but meeting that challenge is very rewarding.   Thirdly, runners are universally nice people (or, at least, I have found them so) – supportive, jolly and apparently genuinely pleased that you are trying their sport.   I owe an enormous debt to everyone at Dalbeattie Running Club who got me started on this adventure – THANK YOU.

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