It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I loaded up the car early last Saturday morning ready to make the 100 mile journey down to Gloucestershire for the Hawkesbury Upton (HU) 5k.
I was excited because this would be my first chance to attend a Realbuzz meet up and put faces to several of the names of people who have been so wonderfully supportive of my running (and writing) since I joined this community in 2015.
The nerves were simply down to a fear of the unknown. For all the kind words via a keyboard, you can only truly know if you’re going to get along with people when you meet them for real. And what will this close-knit group of people end up making of me?
I wasn’t even able to let my running do the talking because I had my daughter with me and, despite the HU5k being family-friendly, she’s not really up to that kind of distance yet. The most we’ve ran together to date is a mile.
So that’s a four hour round trip, a seven year old in tow, no running, no bling, and spectating for a group of people I’ve never actually met before. Never mind trepidation, I was now starting to question my own sanity.
But attending last weekend was important to me. I’ve already mentioned the kindness and support shown through the blog, and in those cases where discussions have naturally extended into other social media platforms. I therefore wanted to express my thanks and find out more about the people I’ve been conversing with for so long.
More than that, it was a bit of a leap of faith to start trying to forge some new friendships. Without dwelling too much on issues from the last 12 months, those who have followed my posts know about the separation I’m going through. And with that comes the inevitable changes to your social circles.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing nasty going on and nobody is judging, taking sides or playing silly sods. Suffice to say things are different, however the beauty of running is that it was never a shared experience between the two of us. It was (and is) my space, my passion and my network to strengthen however I want to.
And boy am I glad I didn’t bottle out of getting in that car and venturing down the M5.
We arrived about an hour before the run was due to start, making for the village hall where all registrations were taking place and the start / finish lines were positioned. Izzy had clocked both the playground and the trays of homemade cakes for sale, so I knew from that point it would be easy enough to keep her occupied.
Within minutes I spotted some of the RB crew, including Liz (Libby) and Dave A (Hobs) and so we made our introductions. The conversation flowed naturally enough – let’s face it, we all have one thing at least in common that we love to talk about – and I soon started to relax.
More Buzzers arrived, including Jim, Helen and her husband, Max, Vicki, Marc, David W, John and – last but definitely not least – Kathy (Kat) and Richard. We often use the word ‘legend’ to describe members on this site, but when you stop and consider everyone’s collective achievements it really isn’t an exaggeration.
After a team photo or several (!), we waved everyone off to the start. True, I’d love to have been lining up there too, but you can’t run them all and it was nice for once just to soak up the atmosphere. I made myself useful and got the mobile out, trying to capture a few snaps of our intrepid squad in action (with apologies to anyone I inadvertently missed out).
It seemed no time at all between the start and the first finishers coming home, although I’ll confess we did manage to get to that cake stall and make a few purchases. After which, one by one, we cheered our Buzzers in, some running alone and others in pairs. Great efforts all round and some impressive times to boot.
I’d assumed that would kind of be it, until a very kind invitation was extended to us to head back to Jim’s house in the village for more chat and a bite to eat. Most of the group did and we had a fabulous afternoon – what a terrific and generous host our Gloshawk is. Plus all of us now know the story behind ‘On a Yard’!
So, in the end, a terrific day out and a run I’d very much like to do next year. Luckily I won’t have to wait that long to meet up with my fellow Buzzers again – Snowdon is creeping up on us and for that weekend I’ll most definitely be participating.
It’s your spirit, friendship, goodwill and overall enthusiasm for running that’s going to help me conquer those hills. Some more cake wouldn’t go amiss either…
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