Monday, 30 July 2012

Goodbye to Herne Hill Harriers

In many aspects of our lives there comes a time when you need to change something, be it a job, house, relationship, habit or whatever. Some decisions may be made on a whim, whilst others take a little more thought and discussion. I’ve had such a decision to make recently. The decision of should I stay or should I leave Herne Hill Harriers.

You might think it would be an easy decision to make, but it’s not for me. When I join an athletics club that club becomes a part of me and hopefully I become a significant part of that club. Despite the fact that I’ve moved houses, jobs and locations on numerous occasions, my athletics club has always been important to me. I stayed at my first club, Belgrave Harriers, for 16 years, and only left because I felt there was no longer a place for me to compete in the team. It was a tough decision to make and took me well over a year before I decided it was time to move on.

Moving to Herne Hill Harriers, local rivals to Belgrave Harriers, was possibly not the best thing for Belgrave, but it was the best thing for me, a local club that was competing in areas I could be competitive and I was already friendly with a number of the team. I was made welcome at Herne Hill and our Masters section has been very successful during my stay. But now it’s time to move on from them.

When I left London for Edinburgh, Herne Hill were no longer my local team but I was able to continue with them, whilst running, in Scotland, for Edinburgh AC. But when I left Scotland for Cheshire, the rules, in England, were different and so I’ve been running a mostly lone race for Herne Hill Harriers, in local races. I haven’t been down to London for three years so my opportunities to run for the team have been limited and being a team man at heart this just isn’t working for me.

I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking through what I should do, I’ve held off because I was never absolutely sure I wouldn’t go back to Edinburgh or London, but my life has started to settle down in Cheshire and it looks like we’re here to stay. So now’s the time to move to a more local team, who I can compete with locally, particularly in the cross country events that I’ve missed so much. So last week, after 7 happy years, I handed in my resignation to Herne Hill. It’s a good time to move on, the club’s ladies have just won promotion in their UK Women’s League and the men are on target to reach the top in their League. So everything is positive at the club and I’m sure I won’t be missed.

Now to find a local team. My requirements are simple, it has to be local, running teams in cross country leagues. They should have a history, with great runners, past and present, to inspire me. Lastly they should have an active Masters section. I pulled together my wish list and looked at all the local clubs and one club stood out, head and shoulders above the rest. It’s an obvious place to go as I’m already friendly with a number of their members. So at the end of last week I sent in my application to join Salford Harriers and AC. Hopefully I’ll be accepted into the club at tonight’s committee meeting.

So I’d like to say goodbye to all my friends at Herne Hill Harriers, and I hope we can all remain friends, even if we’re now on opposing teams. Thank you for letting me be part of such a great club and I wish you lots of future success, unless of course you’re competing against me. And now it’s hello to Salford Harriers and AC, I look forward to running with you and hopefully playing a part in your future success.

This weekend it was exactly a year since I set my Pennington Flash parkrun pb. I’m running much better this year and after last week’s BMAF 5000m I’ve been training hard and with confidence all week. So on Saturday Carole, myself and Carole’s mum set off for Pennington Flash. It was my full intention to have a crack at Jeff Whittington’s age graded record, after all a few week’s ago I ran my 2nd fastest time around the flash. Incidentally Carole’s mum wasn’t running, she was staying with us for the weekend and I didn’t trust her being left alone in the house as she’d start cleaning everything and putting things away in places I’d never find them again. So we volunteered her to marshal.

Come the race, and after the usual chat from Bill, I set off with intent. I knew instantly nobody had come with me and I focussed solely on the job at hand. I ran hard and I felt good, the rain shower on the first lap dampened my enthusiasm a little but I managed to ignore the stiff breeze. It was a little more slippery than I’d anticipated and I did have to navigate around the worst bits, but I really thought I was running a fast time. Starting on the 3rd, and final, lap I felt a slight twinge in my hamstring but it didn’t stop me pushing. I took a look at my watch as I came into the final minute area, it had passed 16 minutes, well I must’ve got my checkpoint wrong, I was flying! But obviously I wasn’t, I crossed the line in 17:19, a full minute slower than my run, on the track, the previous week.

The fact that I was so far off the 16:40 I was aiming for could have had a negative effect on me, but I just reflected on how hard it is to run well around Pennington Flash. It was also a time trial, the next person in was over 2 minutes behind, and I’ve always run better in races than in time trials, though I do have quite a good reputation for relay events. So funnily enough it’s made me feel even more confident about my next race.

Also this weekend the Olympics started. I did enjoy most of the opening ceremony, I’ve never watched one before. But I have to say the BBC have really talked the Olympics to death and I do believe there is far too much coverage on BBC1. They should try to cover as much as possible on BBC Two, Three and Four, plus all the digital channels they seem to possess, and then round up all the highlights on BBC One at about 8pm. That would allow other, less sport minded people to get something out of their licence fee. Even I, who loves sport, can’t keep up with all the channel hopping.

And finally for the bad news, I thought the hamstring twinge was just a one off, but this morning, during a hard rep, it pulled painfully. Of course this just happened to occur at the furthest point away from home. Sensibly I stopped running hard straight away and jogged home. It’s tender and I don’t think it’s a significant pull so I’m hopeful a little rest will do it some good. Unfortunately I’m due to run with a number of clients this week, or not as may now be the case.

Written by Roger Alsop

No comments:

Post a Comment