Hannah – recreational runner.

On Sunday I attended a Leadership in Running Fitness course provided by Welsh Athletics.

I’m a runner, *she says reluctantly* I Love running, I like to inspire people to run so, naturally, the leadership course just seemed like the obvious next step.

Now, here’s where it gets very complicated; the two Hannah’s turned up to that course. There was the Hannah who had said to her husband that very morning ‘It’s still not a world I belong to is it?’ and the Hannah that bounded into the classroom excitedly wearing her London Marathon finishers t-shirt with absolute pride, practically screaming ‘Lets Run!’

And don’t get me wrong I’m fond of both these Hannah’s.

The Hannah who is still weary has a good edge, she’s not over confident, she’s humble and appreciates the hard blinking graft it’s taken to get into a pair of trainers let alone attend a course that’s going to help others down that route.
Then the Hannah who calls herself a runner, who tweets all sorts running , who is overly confident in her ability to run whatever speed, distance, terrain is asked of her, that’s written the damn book on running, she, is also a decent girl and separately I am proud of them both.

So, with that in mind you can imagine the conflict that battled within me as soon as I sat in amongst a load of Lycra clad individuals, clearly from a world that I’m both in awe of but still terrifies me in equal measures.

‘I can do this, I am a runner.’ Hannah One said.

‘What the hell am I doing here? I hope no one finds me out!’ Hannah Two scribbled in her notebook, avoiding eye contact and sweating in areas she does not sweat in during a run!

Both Hannah’s loved the course. And both would highly recommend the course to anyone who, like her, is obsessed with the science behind running, the why’s and what’s, how to encourage, motivate and dare I say inspire. It made a lot of sense in areas that had previously been grey to both the runner and non runner in me and the tutors were amazing to the point where both the runner and non runner felt comfortable in attendance!

I leant lots of new tricks and tips and met lots of new and interesting people, people that without meaning to, completely intimidate Hannah the non runner but intrigue Hannah the runner.

Which brings me on to the one huge lesson I will take away from the day I spent learning to lead a running group.

I am a recreational runner.

A social runner.

A fun runner!

These are all statements I say through gritted teeth because despite the bravado, the humour and the sometimes dismissive attitude I want to be regarded as a runner. I want the work and hours and more often or not the blood, sweat and tears to be reflected in how people view me. I know I will never win a race; I know I’m not overly fast nor is my form spot on. I know, more than anybody, that I don’t necessarily ‘look’ athletic but by god do I try hard.

I take everything to do with my running seriously. I trained solid for four months for a marathon I didn’t ache after! I missed nights out, birthday parties, precious hours with a toddler that I hope, one day, will be bloody proud of a mother that dragged her frame around 26.2 miles with a constant smile on her face – so when one of my fellow Lycra Clad learners said; ‘I assume you’ll be in the slower group?’ I couldn’t help but be firstly, hurt, then offended and then blinking angry!

What gave him the right to assume I would be categorised as slower when he’d not witnessed me run? Was it my chubby cheeks, my jazzy capris or the fact I seemed more concerned with my pig tails than my warm up?
Hannah the non runner tried to pacify my rumbling emotion. He’s a club runner, he is a proper runner, she said meekly and that was the fundamental moment that I decided that Hannah the non runner had to go.

I’ve not spent the last four years building my mileage up, writing a god damn book, trying to get Tom, Dick and Betty out for a run to not feel worthy of calling myself a runner! My sheer involvement with Run Wales should have previously been enough proof to me that a spade is a spade and a run makes you a runner, but I suppose life has a funny way of making you learn lessons.

So, with all this now in mind…

My name is Hannah, I am a runner.

More information on the Leader in Running Fitness course can be found here. If you are also a runner, you will enjoy!

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