Last week I went for my first ever club run, as member 11119 of the Serpentine Running Club. I am only slightly surprised to find myself writing this, since about a million years ago I told myself I would never join a running club. I forget exactly why this was, but I think it probably had something to do with believing that they nurtured competition over the freedom of the open road. More likely it was because I was a little bit scared of being left in the dust.
Meetings at Speaker’s Corner at 7pm sharp, we ran a 7/8 miles round Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Green Park. The idea being that we’d be back in the club house for a quick shower and then off the pub. As a plan it was executed perfectly, except that I forgot my bicycle lights and had to leave the other runners in the basement drinking white wine out of plastic glasses.
The next day I was back to the usual lunchtime run down by the river, and I realised it was a mistake not to have signed up with the Serpies 2 and 1/2 years ago when I was starting to make real strides with the running. Running is, by its nature, a solipsistic pastime, but what I have realised, perhaps too late, is that you can have your cake and eat it, since there is nothing better than adjourning to the pub after a long run.
I hope I’ll be able to get one more Serpie run in before heading to the US on Sunday, but with the boy’s bath time and boxing up to finally move house, I’ll be pressed for time. Still, I have my t-shirt, which I’ll take with me as a badge of honour and I find out today whether I have got a last-minute place in the Brooklyn half-marathon, and wait to see how many nods of recognition I get when we line up in a couple of weeks.