And so Over Run4Fun (named by South Cambs council, not me <grin>) was born. We started off as a beginners group with ten people each Sunday. A mix of all ages, kids aplenty.
It went well. Numbers went up. Soon the beginners were no longer beginners.
I was already a qualified personal trainer and run leader, so decided now was the time to bite the bullet and take my coaching qualifications. A hard six months later and I was a fully fledged running coach, and had also persuaded seven members of the group to train as run leaders too. I knew this thing had 'legs' but I was also really wary of it turning into something too big. I liked that we had a real community feel. I liked that we were so inclusive, and so friendly.
I started up groups in other areas. I started training people for half marathons, marathons, obstacle races and so on. With my lovely run leaders, we started our beginners programmes in local villages and got a whole new crowd of people running. We won awards for this (I'm still in shock about that....). I had a strong idea about pricing (never charging for 'just' running, keeping very competitive on coached sessions too), and a stronger idea about a sense of community.
And then I had the brainwave that we should attempt to affiliate with UK Athletics. To get 'official'. I'd been told by someone at Run England that there was 'no chance' that UKA would affiliate another club locally. Fortunately, I like a challenge. After six months of form filling, committee meetings and significant chasing of the UKA staff, we affiliated in October 2013.
Which makes us a 'proper' affiliated club. With 'proper' coaches, 'proper' welfare policies. But still with our old ethos intact of inclusion, encouragement and affordable community activity. And so Fen Edge Runners was "born" - a tricky "delivery" that was not without complication (and I'd have appreciated some gas and air at times....)
My little group has grown into something quite impressive. I'm very proud to be a part of it. And very proud of my amazing leaders and my amazing runners that make the club what it is. We have something unique, because you guys have made it into what it is.
We're not a scary, results-driven club. I like that. Some people chase PBs, some people are happy just to be out trotting along in the sunshine (and rain, and snow) with like-minded people. When new people come along it is not what they've been expecting. It's so much more.
I am so happy with what's been created. It's so much more than I ever thought it could be. I now have to trust the committee to make the right decisions, to keep the things that make us unique, to keep coming up with new ideas and ways in which we can develop the club and how we can offer something just that little bit different.
My baby is all grown up now. And I have to let her go and make her own way in the world.