The week started, as it always does, with training.
Numbers still maintained despite a distinct increase in events week on week. A recce of an upcoming race fixture drew many curious souls to a warm Tuesday evening session.
Midweek saw the end of a popular series down west with a huge turnout on a different seafront once again. As we drew towards the weekend two went on a mission to complete the final race in a series in the capital.
As they did our multi-disciplined contingent started a journey, some towards a coveted fourth medal. Miles in the sea were the order of the day and battling jellyfish all returned to terra firma victorious.
The hot sun set and rose. Tired bodies set off early on two wheels to complete a second stage. Supported by fellow Phoenix they all completed their quest, but before they were done the obligatories of a Saturday morning were completed in a multi-tude of locations. The weekly equation was repeated. Home x 2 + away = many. At home on the seafront, an impending race resulted in closed roads and a unique opportunity to return the course to a familiar and enjoyable finish.
Not long after this regular start one lone soldier set off on a historic journey from the English capital to battle. Over 100 miles to the finish line, this quest was always going to be a long one…
Tired bodies from most of the days activities slept well. While they did one carried on his journey through the night. Others closed their eyes with a nervous disposition for a first…
Running is our passion.
It’s what brought us together and it’s the glue that keeps us together.
But, at the risk of sounding repetitive, it’s so much more than that.
Weeks come and weeks go.
Tales of valour.
Stories of endeavour.
Words I use a lot – but they’re so apt. Many of these stories are deep rooted. They built from somewhere. Every story was created from a seed. All the seeds were different but they grew. Bodies were transformed. Minds were transformed. Every story takes time to build. Every story has with it tales of woe. There’s heartache. There’s pain. There’s joy and optimism. There’s often disappointment and misery – I won’t sugar coat it. But when there is – and through sensible choices, hard work, focus and dedication these are put to bed and the mind and body get stronger – the outcome is so much sweeter!
Imagine, if you will, a love story. Not for another person. For a routine. For something that takes hold. For something that, at first may be a chore, but it becomes a necessity. An obsession. Not “do I have to go out for a run” but “when can I get my next run in”. When you’re sneaking out of the door in a morning with a bag packed with running gear in case you can squeeze a couple of miles in at lunchtime to clock up on Strava or lift your mood. We see it happen. We know it happens because it’s happened to us!
Then a local event comes along. It coincides with a graduation. Our Zero to Hero programme developed. It became something more as we took them further. The culmination of this played out, as it often does, on the seafront at Porthcawl…
10 kilometres. The first race of this distance for several. Joined by the seasoned athletes in their quest for better times they made their way to the start line. Simultaneously, way down west, others grouped to start the final leg of their three day journey joined by others for just the one stage on foot. 5k, 10k, half and full marathons were on the cards.
The sun streamed down and made the conditions testing for all distances in all locations.
The Phoenix was born in the flames. Sure enough, as the sun beat down, everyone rose from the heat to meet the challenge.
With two across the border to the north tackling another event and our soloist still moving forward far to the east, almost a half of the club were out on their feet to complete their goals.
Banding together we all battled on. The Phoenix spirit was strong and all who felt it flow through their veins showed valiant effort to reach the end.
All distances completed, short and long – all of equal merit in our eyes!
Their stories are all different, but they are intertwined.
They run in parallel, but they converge.
Working together or on their own they found their way home. The mutual support never tired. Willing each other on. Those who couldn’t run sent strength. Many supported. Many volunteered. The Phoenix spirit flowed from the heart with many giving their time to ensure safe completion of the events.
Not only that but numbers taking part broke records. A sheer volume of members never seen before stood on a start line and made their way along the route to the end. A record number of finish lines crossed in one day was recorded with a three figure sum that was approaching half the current membersip!
All finished triumphant, but all stories are not finished.
They will continue.
Good times are shared.
Memories are made that will last.
Bonds are being strengthened.
New dreams are forming.
Future adventures are being planned.
Boundaries are being broken.
Lives are being changed.
On a weekend where I didn’t achieve much but I followed a whole host of stories I am inspired…
Tonight I will dream big… because of you all!
You should do the same!