On Tuesday evening this weekI was to be my first go as an official group leader after my recent qualification as a Leader in Running Fitness. As I am getting back to fitness I didn't want to be seen to flake out after a mile so asked to go with Group 2, usually comprising people new to running and making their first step up into a distance past 5km or people returning from injury. This is a nice group to lead as all they need to do is get some confidence that in fact they can do it and to realise speed and distance comes to those who are patient. My brief was to run 4.5 miles at 10:30 - 11:00 min/miles, nothing more, nothing less, so I had planned the route but had no Garmin GPS to use to pace so I chose to blag it and go with the flow!
It was much surprise when I was introduced as " Welcome Jezza on his inaugural run as Group 2 Leader" a large cheer went up and a round of applause rippled through the crowd that I introduced the run, speed and distance. Then the next surprise (and much relief) when a small group of about 12 runners gathered around me with expectant faces.
The run went well with a few stops for all to group together (at their request) and it was interesting that some of them were not sure where they were which is probably a good thing as I had planned a little treat of a local hill I call "Cardiac Hill 2" as it quite steep and has to be taken at the runner's own pace. When I told them what I had planned some of them them looked absolutely miserable so I told them "At your pace I want you to get to the top of the hill, you can run it, walk it or crawl it but I don't want you to stop" and off we plodded ( I was shamefully at the back as my hills are not great at the moment but I am good of the flat) as I reached the top I was met with a sea of smiling faces.
Then it was the last mile or so back to the club house with the pack happily chatting behind me such that with 800 metres to go I set them off on a chase back with "orders" to meet in the car park for a shake and stretch.
In the car park the pack now full of endorphins were set in a circle and I asked them to relax and blow out and stretch to the heavens to see if they could touch the Monkey Gods and then bend down and to all pray to them. There was a ripple of bemused laughter from a few of them as only a few knew about my Monkey Feet and the reference.