Last week I rejoined Cornwall Athletic Club after a gap of some twenty years. I have been meaning to get back into running for several years and, this year, finally made use of the summer months to actively find the time to do it and to make going for a short run part of my daily routine. Athletics and cross country running was my childhood passion and I continued to compete as part of the Cornwall county cross country team until my late twenties. Work ended up crowding out the time I had for running and, with the exception of a brief period when I trained for a marathon about six years ago, I struggled to keep it up and my fitness ebbed away.
The great thing about running as a sport is that everyone can find their own level and compete against the time they themselves got the previous week or month. It is also open to all ages with many races now offering results for age groups in five yearly bands from junior categories right up to over seventy fives - I have just tipped into the 45-50 age group. It is also a great way to keep fit. A growing number of primary schools in the area are signing up to the national campaign to run a "mile a day" which is a brilliant way for children to start their school day.
The sport has seen a transformation in the last fifteen years. The number of members of Cornwall Athletic Club has grown exponentially. In addition, locally we have new road running clubs like Carn Runners and Hayle Runners who also boast large and growing memberships. We have also seen developments like the "Park Run" movement which now stages 5k fun runs nationally every Saturday. I recently went to the 10th anniversary of the original Park Run in Bushy Park which attracted over 1200 runners. It was my first race for years and I had to buy a new Cornwall AC vest having "outgrown" the last one. I managed to get around in 21.05. Not bad for a start after such a long break, even if it's five minutes slower than I would have done twenty years ago!