All of this running nonsense is down to Frontrunners, really. Every bit of it.
Before about 2013, I either ran as part of team sports, or just didn’t, except the occasional Race for Life. I found out about Frontrunners when I was working for Stonewall, & eventually got convinced to go along to try a 5km. I don’t really remember much about it – I couldn’t run further than about 50 metres without needing to stop and walk, & it was years before a C25K programme was established so I just had to go along with it. It wasn’t until several months later when I started attending more consistently, followed a training plan & saw a steady improvement.
The club has also changed over time – it’s much bigger now, & there are more varied session options than when I first started. Races like OUTRun & the annual Red Run & Rainbow Run are getting firmly established on the Scottish race calendar, & it’s nice to see the club evolving & growing. I did my Jog Leader training in 2016 and my CiRF training in 2018, & if a week goes by without going to a session, it feels a bit like something is missing.
FrontRunners is international. As well as Glasgow, I’ve run with FrontRunners in Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, London, San Francisco and Los Angeles. I’ll be running with Chicago FrontRunners later this year, which I’m really excited about. There are clubs in loads of major cities, and the socialising is just as important as the running at all the ones I’ve been to, or partied with. It’s great to have local running knowledge & friendly folk in cities that you don’t know well; even in London and Edinburgh, it’s nice to not have to think about a route or worry about personal safety. Just turn up and go.
I have tried other running clubs & we are really spoilt for choice in Glasgow, but GFR suits me best at the moment. I enjoy running alone (you pretty much have to, for marathon training…) but running with a group is good for when you want to push yourself, or when you need someone to push you. I have met some amazing people & made great friends through GFR & I love the diversity of runners that it attracts.
It feels a long way from that first run several years ago, when I couldn’t run 5km, to getting the opportunity to run the London Marathon courtesy of the club. Our official spring marathon is Edinburgh, which I was hugely in favour of until I had to move my own training plan forward by a few weeks because of London! Hopefully I will manage some long runs with the marathon training team, because 20 miles is much easier with good chat, varied routes, & a cycling supporter with a rucksack full of Lucozade & fruit pastilles.