Beware the Ides of March.

Ok, so I’m a little early, but I like the phrase – and we’re in March – so why not. Perhaps you can take this as a final reminder to renew your membership or add on your training pass. With regards to your online account, please also recheck that your Covid-19 and next of kin data are all up-to-date. These should always be updated when any changes occur. If you are injured and wondering about your membership – please do get in touch and see what we can arrange.

Thanks to those who completed the February Time Trial. Not as many as January, but some new names on the list which is nice, and also good to see some of you building up a good streak each month.

So some good news right from the start – we’re hoping to be able to begin meeting up from Tuesday March 30th, if everything goes as planned. It will be amazing to see everyone getting back out together, but we do ask that you give full attention to any instructions provided by your coach at the start and during sessions as there may be more to say in those early sessions back.

If you do feel that it’s not right to come down just yet, either suffering symptoms, shielding or not in the right frame of mind, then that’s fine too. Coaches will continue to provide training schedules into April and beyond where needed for you to follow in your own time.

One week before the re-join we do have our Virtual Breakfast Run! This is your opportunity to run the 6, 10 or 15 miles that you would otherwise have run with one of the groups, but with the excuse of getting home and stuffing down a bacon roll, bowl of granola, half a tray bake – all washed down with tea, coffee or OJ. It’s all about getting yourself in the club spirit – but unfortunately without the club surroundings. We have an event set up on Strava via the Bexley AC club page. Go on, set a goal, prep your breakfast of choice before heading out the door that morning, and importantly – share some pictures! I’d love to get some of these together and share them during the week that follows.

So I’m now looking a bit further forward, not just a few weeks but into the rest of 2021 and from talking with the Road Running Coaches we have a few things that it would be great to see as a “win” for 2021. That is, once the restrictions allow.

Some “mass attendance” road running events would be good to put Bexley AC back on the map. We used to have huge turnouts for races such as the Whitstable 10k (see picture at the top of our facebook group), Dartford Half or the Bridge 10k. However, the number of “real” orange vests have dropped in these and we’d like to get this group picture updated! We’ll share some events around in the next couple of months.

This isn’t the only way to compete for the club though. We may be the road runners but we are part of something much larger than that. Bexley AC has a track and field team that are always looking to recruit from within. There’s also Cross Country. Have you ever imagined yourself shoulder to shoulder on the track with a 3k or 5k target in mind? Or scrambling round open fields (yes, sometimes muddy and occasionally hilly ones), like a bright orange torch surging to the finish line? Even as a change from running, you can try your hand at chucking stuff or jumping in the sand pit or onto the big foam pad thing – you might learn the technical name for them too.

Building the club numbers and encouraging a cross stream of talents is there already, but it could always grow more. As we return to our groups, do look out for opportunities to grow your talents – or ask your coach to be put in contact with the relevant event coach you’d like to try. Ask not what your club can do for you, ask what you can do for your club.

We’re also looking at how to best support and help your coaches. Where additional courses can benefit and enhance the amazing job they do at the moment. Some of our run leaders progressing to becoming coaches, or looking at ways to incorporate runners with disabilities into our groups by gearing coaches up with the tools and knowledge to support further.

Not forgetting our injured and unenthused runners – big shout out to those who still send kudos, and congratulate runners (sometimes through gritted teeth, I know, I’ve been there) despite not being able to get out, or who are on the slow, often very slow and painful route back to recovery. Let’s look to the days with Tuesday and Thursday night routine (!Hoorah!) and the need to get your butt up off the sofa at the end of watching The Chase, stick on your trainers and get to the club for a hard, yet satisfying session.

We still have people on our waiting list, who are going to come along for taster sessions at the club and hopefully join as full members following meeting you all. Then there will be future beginners groups taking non-runners up through a comfortable course and into the realm of 5k running and beyond. There’s the Myra Garrett 10k – if we get to put this on for 2021, where we get the support of so many club members filling the rolls from advertising, signing up entrants, as well as throughout the day. I can’t say for sure what is on the road ahead. I’d love to see a coach load of Orange army trundle down to the coast for a barmy day out (race and ice cream compulsory of course), for those beginner courses to flourish with new runners and for parkrun to return. It’s small steps, so let’s be thankful for what we can do, and the rest will come soon enough.

Have a good week, enjoy watching the changing season and welcome in the brighter, warmer days – it always makes me smile, bringing with it that natural high. I hope it brings the same to you.

Paul Dallison
RR Secretary