She's right, I don't advertise. I did a little when I first started up (obviously...) but I've not pursued any form of paid advertising since that very first session back in 2008. 'But, that's madness' you may be thinking, 'how does anyone find out about you?'. Another good question. When I first started the running groups, I did so because I wanted to create something different - something that 'people like me' would enjoy. Something fun, but also with the right technical coaching back-up to make it effective, progressive and appropriate. Something friendly and encouraging. Somewhere to make friends, learn about running, and maybe most importantly where anyone can come along and not be judged - somewhere where no-one cares who's the slowest, who's goes the furthest, and who's simply having a really crappy day and needs to get out for a bit of normality. So, fairly early on, I decided not to advertise. Because, quite simply, I can't explain to people what exactly we have in our groups. I can't explain our uniquely designed training sessions, I can't explain the way we all support each other. I can't explain how we can cater for a complete mix of abilities successfully and effectively (I get asked that A LOT). I can't explain what it feels like to turn up to running club in the snow and find 20 happy faces smiling back at you from under their woolly hats (Les still in his shorts, naturally). I can't explain how all you amazing people manage to achieve all the amazing things you do.
I can't explain that special something. That something they won't know about until they make the decision to join us.
But, we grow. We have nice, busy groups in all locations now. We limit the groups because it's not about cash for us. It's about creating that something that I can't explain. And if we get too big, that something becomes diluted. So we train new leaders to make sure that each of our runners gets individual attention (if they want it), we do extra training in different types of coaching to offer each runner something different (if they want it), and our 'oldies' mentor the 'newbies'. We offer free beginners programs delivered by people that were beginners themselves not so long ago and know what it's like. We grow because our people are our best adverts. They inspire their friends and neighbours with what they've achieved. They inspire more 'people like me' to come along with them. People that will appreciate what we are, and more importantly people that will appreciate what we're not.
So, I'll continue not to advertise, if you continue to find all the 'people like me' that haven't found us yet. Deal?