Copyright 2021 - Dundee Roadrunners

Dave Stewart

 I joined the Roadrunners so long ago I can't exactly remember, but a quick check on the t-shirt collection seems to suggest it was 1996, twelve years ago, - that's amazing. I can still well remember the trepidation of the first Tuesday evening, arriving in the stifling foyer of Lochee Baths not knowing what to expect, but thinking it would probably be muffled laughter, followed by an hour or so of eyeballs-out red line anaerobic humiliation and an early bath. Wrong. I found what most of our new recruits do, and a great bunch of people comprising runners of all ages, speeds, shapes, and sizes. 



I'd never been a running or athletics club member before and running with such varied company was a revelation. There was always someone to run with, and as my running improved that didn't change, there was always a new challenge and new friends to make. 


I was lucky to join the club at a time when there was quite a lot of competitive running and experimentation going on. Within 18 months or so I'd tried my hand, or feet to be more accurate, at road running, hill running, cross country, duathlon and god knows what else at places and venues I'd otherwise never have seen to this day. The camaraderie of these events was tremendous both amongst club members and fellow competitors, or the enemy as we liked to refer to them. This was and still is the stuff of memories and I commend it to one and all!


If life is really what running is about (and it is), then our club is a focus for this. Absolutely all of life is there, the highs, the lows, the disappointments, triumphs, tragedies and trophies. The highs kind of take care of themselves, but there is no doubt the support of friends and the physical release of the support will get you through the bad times too. Whatever else is misfiring in your life you can still be that other part of yourself, the runner. The discipline and stamina that we all need to participate in our sport insinuates itself into all the other parts of our lives. If you can drag yours bones round the Three (or Five) Hills on a dark wet November night you can get through almost anything ñ and remember how good it feels afterwards! This is what DRR can do for us, and we wonít always even know it. Compare the warm glow of a good ìdoingî on a Thursday interval session, that feeling that comes from knowing that you have really pushed yourself, with the sofa-based TV and take-away alternative : which one makes you feel better, next day, next week? And guess what,  you can do both!


The Roadrunners has always centred around a core of committed members who have been prepared to give their time and energy to keeping the jolly ship DRR on course. Often these are the club officers, and coaches, sometimes the ordinary members. The individuals have changed over the years from time to time, or been re-cycled, but what the best of them have always had in common has been one thing for which there is no substitute and which they communicate to everyone else in the club; enthusiasm. This can manifest itself as organisational skills, arranging teams, transport, and teas. It can be a flair for spontaneity - you know, seize the day, sod the planning - let's do it anyway and have fun! (And usually we do, but not always for the reasons you thought it was going to Ö..). Then there's the real runners, the unstoppable, bury me in my club vest and trainer types, who pound out the miles forever, and for all their self-deprecation and modesty are an inspiration to us all and will be for years to come. What's their secret? Run a lot, do what you like, and like what you do, that's what I reckon. 


I've not named any names here. You might recognise some characters in there, you might recognise yourself! I must leave that to the reader. There is, however one last sect in the broad church that our club that probably deserve respect above all others to my mind. It's 'the club runner', the person who shows up regularly, networks, supports, congratulates, commiserates, participates. It's the glue between the bricks, the jam in the sandwich, the cream in the bun, theÖ.er, lace in the shoe, the soap in the shower.., OK - that's enough, you get the idea. It's true though, and it's Joe/Jean Runner that has made DRR the success it is today, maybe not too many trophies on the shelf but plenty finishers medals from over the years and a hell of a lot of t-shirts in the drawer. I can think of a few outstanding examples of both Joe and Jean and I hope you can too dear reader, maybe I'm thinking of you and you're thinking of me. Aren't we both great? Course we are, we're Roadrunners. 


We're all good runners, some are faster than others, but we're all running the same road and we are all trying as hard as we can. How about that as a metaphor for life? Or a motto? It's like they say, this is not a rehearsal. Here's to the next 25 miles and the next 25 years, bring them on, - long live DRR!


Dave Stewart



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