Firstly, credit where credit is due, thanks to Lois for the title of this blog entry, this being her observation as we set out.
As many will know I am by nature a lone runner, but I found myself craving the company of others and so bit the bullet and made my first foray with the Glee Club, an informal monthly gathering of my fellow runners for a long a run.
I am not sure why it is called the Glee Club: a term used predominantly in the US for singing groups, which is derived from ‘a glee’ or English part-song. Not much singing involved on the Scottish trails although Lois and I did offer an impromptu chorus of;
‘Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you’
As John and Lorna parted company with us as they continued with a 24 hour run (as you do).
I somehow don’t think we will make it into the Bardon Belles anytime soon.
Anyway, back to the Glee Club Kinlochard run which was organised by Lorna Sinclair, and which had a great turnout of over twenty. At least three of us were ‘popping our glee cherries’; Lois, Patricia and I, all confirmed solo runners and all with the similar anxiety around our speed and inability to keep up with the speedy ones. It turns out there was no need for anxiety. The friendly, informal all comers welcome description rang true. We could run the full distance, run more, run less, run at whatever speed we wanted with no expectation or pressure. We had a blast. Although there was a brief moment of mild panic on my part as we started out and everyone took off up the hill at a fair lick, until some of us got sensible.
It was a stunningly beautiful day as we made our way up out of the Kinlochard Forestry car park following the posted trail as it undulated towards Inversnaid past Loch Chon. Most of us chose to make the turn at 9 miles at the bottom end of loch Arklet just under a mile from Stronachlacher. Our effort was rewarded with stunning views of the lochs, forest and snow covered hills. This was a trail on my to-do list and I was not disappointed. It will be perfect for the Audrey run Alasdair walk combo too.
Rarely running on my own it was a great opportunity to run with and catch up with friends who in events would be ahead of, or behind me. We all adjusted our pace to spend time with each other.
As Patricia pointed out it is good discipline for ultra-runners to spend time running solo, especially the slower ones as we often spend a lot of time on our own in events. We all agreed however, that sometimes you just crave the company of others. The miles clicked by almost unnoticed which was a big benefit for me as I have been struggling a bit recently. I finished feeling that I could have done another few miles too.
It was lovely to see most people still there waiting for us stragglers and great to be handed a lovely cup of hot mulled juice, shortbread and flapjacks to stave off the hunger pangs before we re-grouped in Aberfolyle for refueling: omnomnom!
Glad I popped that cherry and I will be doing more glee runs.
Thanks to my fellow Glee Club runners for sharing the photos.