Ch. 3 – Joining a running club

For the third chapter of my blog “Fatman to Ironman” I will describe how I came to join a running club.

Firstly, I would like to thank you for taking the time to follow me. Blogging has been a
really useful tool for me to reflect on my journey “Fatman to Ironman” and my achievements so far. Knowing you guys are out there, willing me on is just awesome. I am now super focussed and determined to be on that start line.

Joining Shrewton Running Club

It’s not every day an obese man joins a running club and it’s probably not wise to do it when suffering from acute back pain. But that is what I did.

Prior to Slimming World

I had been suffering over the winter months of 2016 with back ache that just wouldn’t go away. To the point that the pain killers were beginning to upset my stomach. I’m an unusual man, in that I tend to suffer without whinging… Honest! I Had been blaming everything from work conditions to my commute, anything but myself. For the benefit of my ever-suffering wife, I eventually decided to do something about it.

On the advice of my brother Andre, I contacted a local Osteopath after Christmas and organised a consultation for the New Year of 2017.

For the first time in my life I was looking after myself.

Caroline Whitehorn, Stonehenge Osteopath clearly had a huge task ahead of her, excuse the pun. I had a lifetime of knotted muscles that had never seen a massage, and in recent years a body suffering the effects of carrying a huge amount of weight. Above all that, my body had just seen an impressive but sudden weight loss. I was broken.

The initial consultation was very much about getting me to relax, I was so tense and nervous. I think Caroline must have sensed this. I would never have been there in the first place had I not lost 4.5 stone beforehand, with Slimming World. I just wouldn’t have had the courage to go. Certainly not the courage to strip down to my pants in front of a stranger, as I soon would be.

I had never been exposed to this sort of treatment before, and only lasted three minutes in a Massage parlour beforehand. I hated my first and only massage (At that time) and got that particular Fijian to leave me alone quickly. Not my finest hour.

Caroline was a totally different experience. The first treatment was intended to give me some range of movement and loosen up my neck and shoulder muscles, it was brutal! We organised the next appointment and allowed my body to recover over the next few days.

I was given a range of exercise and stretch routines, which I kind of stuck to. As a teacher/instructor, I fully understand why students don’t want to do homework. But this time I had to start behaving myself and be a good student.

We had several appointments, where the treatment became less gentle, noisier and always ended in giggles and laughter. I began to stick to the homework better, and gradually over a period of time my back pain was healing. My neck and shoulder muscles loosened up to the point that Caroline was beginning to go through the process of “Discharging” me. I was nearly cured! This was incredible, for most of my adult life I had suffered with back ache, now I was nearly cured and feeling great.

It was at this point that Caroline announced preventative steps I should take to avoid a return to injury. Clearly years of carrying a big belly had taken its toll. I would have to consider stretch routines to improve my core and of course “Lose some more weight”

In one of our treatment chats the subject of running came up. Such a bizarre moment. Just weeks earlier I could hardly get out of my car, or off the loo. Yet here I was discussing the possibility of running?

We had chatted many times about my slimming world experiences and how I had become more active with my walks across Salisbury Plain. I had even considered transitioning to a runner myself. But actually, talking about it, that was different. I was now going to have to make a commitment.

Caroline had been running with a group of Shrewton villagers for a while and they had just had a chat about formally creating “Shrewton Running Club” somehow, I had stumbled across the birth of this at the right time. They were discussing the possibilities of holding a couch to 5K course as their first official club commitment.

Caroline seized upon the moment and suggested I sign up for this event. I was invited to the clubs first official AGM in the last weeks of January 2017 “Just come along and see if you like us” Then see if you want to do the C25K.

Well, I am a man of my word and if I say I am going to do something, I pretty much always do. Caroline had become someone I considered a friend as well as a brilliant Osteopath. Not only had she cured me, she was helping me take the next steps in my journey. She had also offered me a huge opportunity to get to know some of the villagers. The “Fatman” now thinner, was rediscovering his social skills.

It turned out Shrewton Running Club HQ was in the village pub, The Plume of Feathers and the inaugural AGM would be held there. Who doesn’t want to join that club? So off I trotted, bewildered as to how I had been hoodwinked so easily.

I was so nervous that night. The walk to the pub is only about ten minutes, but those ten minutes I had a million negative thoughts going through my mind. I was 17.5 stone (5’ 8”) and joining a running club. I nearly turned around and went back home three times.

Eventually I opened the door and went in.

The early part of the night was a bit odd for me because most of the conversation centred around fitness. Something I knew nothing about. Caroline made me feel very welcome and quickly I started chatting with the founder members. People I would later refer to as close friends and people I am very fortunate to have in my life. When you enter into a running club, you really do enter into a community.

The night was actually a lot of fun, although I didn’t really know how to behave. This was also my first ever AGM I had ever been too. Whilst everyone around me were clearly so much fitter I was never judged or made to feel unwelcome. In fact, I would later become part of their committee.

Shrewton Running Clubs 1st AGM

That night I went home and told my wife….. I think I have just joined a running club?

Indeed I had, and before I knew it the Par-Q would be posted through my door for the C25K

I would love to hear what you thought of my blog and welcome your comments. I hope at least one of you might know someone who can be inspired enough to believe they can make a difference. Perhaps even take on an epic challenge.

My next blog chapter will describe my C25K experiences and my first ever Parkrun


14 thoughts on “Ch. 3 – Joining a running club

  1. Lawrence, AS I said I have done it the wrong way round. I am now in slimming world trying to get the weight down. I have done 6 x half , 2 full distance Tri’s, 3 Marathons , numerous half’s and 10kms. At 17 stone and 5’8 . I hear you big time , I too wrote a blog on my journey, not as good as yours. Keep it up,. I did enjoy the blogging as well it was very therapeutic.


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