My running journey with Sneyd Striders started in 2012. I had been looking at running clubs for a while, but found that a couple of miles was too far to travel to a club. Funny now that those distances are warm up runs……
I eventually moved closer and took the opportunity. I haven’t looked back. I was the same as everyone else that joined the club then, always at the back. Fortunately I had a very patient and amazing leader, Anita Holland, that looked after me for quite a while. I never really felt like a runner until I beat our Treasurer, Dick Johnson in a race. Bearing in mind he is over 20 years my senior, shows what a great runner he is. However I was still so immensely proud, and felt like I had earned that vest.
Although I am proud of my PB times, and improving, it is probably more changes at the club that has made me more proud.
I trained to become a Run Leader in 2015, but the way the club was structured at the time I didn’t feel that I could give any benefit to the members, as majority were both faster and more experienced than me. So when I heard that Walsall Council wanted to set up a couch to 5k, I volunteered my services to them.
So since January 2017, I have been Jog Leader to Walsall Council led C25K. This usually means we are training about 100 people per year through 3 structured plans in January, April, and September. Many of those that have finished the course have gone on to become members of Sneyd.
I joined the committee around this time as men’s cross country captain, and have also been kit manager for a while. I am proud that we have never failed to get a team to a fixture, and I am proud that we got the ball rolling with the production of additional kit items; hoodies, zoodies, jackets, hats and caps. I wanted the Sneyd brand to be seen and we have been successful with that.
Finally my biggest success before this last year was the reintroduction of Thursday runs; it was a conversation with Stan Harrison, a previous club captain that set this off, and it also meant I could introduce some of my run leader experiences into training with fartleks, single file running, and hill training. So now we have 2 club runs a week and variation in our training.
COVID although the worst pandemic to hit us for a long while, has actually given us time to sit back and see things from a different perspective. After nearly 10 years at the club, I eventually felt I was ready to put myself forward as Club Captain, which I am very excited about. We will also have 5 or 6 run leaders, in addition to the most invaluable experience from within the club.
So although the changes in the club are for the better, we are forever guided by our veteran runners, and it is this mix of experience and new members that continue to drive the future of our club.
We are one big family, and pride ourselves on looking out for each other. We want to give anyone that wants to run an experience, and an opportunity to make our club stronger. We may not be the fastest, but we are inclusive. We offer the safety of a running community.