About two years ago, I was introduced to Sweatshop Running Community (SRC), and it’s so great, I wanted to share it with you. Sweatshop is a running apparel store, and they do weekly group runs – free of charge. (click here to find if you have a sweatshop near you)
So how did it all start for me?
Two years ago, my neighbour Jennie suggested we go to the SRC Monday night run together. Now, I had the ‘fear’ as I’d never actually run with someone else, what would we talk about, could I actually talk and run, would I be able to keep up, would I fit in. With all these fears bubbling around in my head, I went along – and guess what, it was great.
What was it like?
I remember that we arrived at the shop, got signed in, studied the route, and milled about chatting to each other. They also give you a little loyalty card, and after so many runs you get a free technical running t-shirt (bonus) and as you get more stamps, you get other rewards along the way.
That first run was memorable as during that last kilometre I pushed myself faster than I had ever been before (thanks to Jennie being a faster runner than me), I couldn’t talk during the fast bit – but that’s okay, as I was proud as punch afterwards at having broken through a ‘speed’ barrier.
I continued to go to Sweatshop runs, and slowly started to meet some new people – all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. Everyone was so friendly, and even when I haven’t been in a while, when I come back, there are always a great group of old friends to chat to, and new people to meet.
Our local sweatshop (you can find our Facebook page here) does a Monday night 5 or 8 KM run, a Thursday night Interval session, and a Sunday morning 5 or 10KM run. They also run a beginner’s programme, to help get newbies up to a 5KM distance safely over a number of weeks.
And to prove how inclusive they are, and that it’s not just a bunch of speedy serious keenos – I’ve come with the running buggy (with my extremely loud and cheeky 3-year-old) and also with my 7-year-old, Ellis. In fact, when Ellis comes along, he gets high fives, and so much encouragement from everyone. He’s got his own Sweatshop t-shirt, and is always asking me if he can come to ‘run club’ with me.
After the run, we all meet back at the shop, and have some water or an electrolyte drink, and chat about how we found it – more often than not dripping with sweat and red faced.
If you ran a race recently, you can share it with the group (and get a round of applause👏). Plus, often they have running brands come in and give you things to try. Tom Tom came in and let us try their watches on a run, and another time Adidas came in and let us test out some Adidas Boost running shoes.
So, I went from someone who never ran with anyone, stuck in a running rut, unable to get faster, to being part of a running community. Do you have a Sweatshop near you? Have you ever done a group run before? Does running with others sound like fun or fill you with fear? I’d love to hear your thoughts.