What stops you joining?
As a race organiser, I see an increasing number of "unattached" runners entering the races I organise.
There are many unattached runners who enter so many races each year they weould save money by joining a runing club, but they don't.
I'm just curious and interested to find out what prevents unattached runers from joining a running club.
I think it's a fear of not realising that you are "good enough" to join a club as the other club members will be so much faster than you.
That's the reason why it took me so long to go to a club. It was totally unfounded though as I have found out that, even though there are a lot of faster runners, there are a large amount of runners around my standard who go out as a group.
For me it is not being able to run when I can/want to, plus I have kids that would need sorting if I joined a club. Too much hassle for now.. perhaps when they are a bit older.
A) Without a car I just can't get to them
B) Last time I went to join one. The people running the club, just took off and left everyone behind. There was no support and I went back to help some of the slower runners that were struggling on their own. I just thought whats the point? so went back to training on my own. If anything I was tempted to start up my own club myself after seeing how they ran theres...
I'm a member of a local running club, but to be honest its a flag of convenience. I never run with them, and probably only turn out to marshall for them at races two or three times a year. I don't really know many of them that well, although some appear to know who I am and come up to chat at races.
I'm actually IRL quite shy, and I dont particularly enjoy the social aspect of running in a group. If I find myself running with someone in a race I'll have a yatter, but in the main I'm happier on my own.
I think there are probably as many reasons for this as there are unattached runners.
In my case, the excuse I come up with most frequently is that the demands of my job and home life are such that I cannot commit to regularly being in a given place at a given time - I tend to fit my running in around everything else and do what I feel like rather than follow a rigorous plan. This thinking leads me to decide (probably wrongly) that whatever a club is doing on any given evening wouldn't fit with what I want/decide I need to do on that occasion. I also have a problem on occasions with other people making my plans for me.
I'm also honest enough to admit that I don't want to feel obliged to turn up to club organised events either as a runner or a helper regardless of anything else that may be happening. Again, this is a question of a work/life balance - I do help out occasionally at races but I'm also heavily involved in events at the school my kids attend. The pressures (real or perceived) of supporting a running club are just something else I don't need at the moment.
The alternative excuse that is sometimes offered on my behalf is that I'm simply an antisocial git.
As a means of saving money on race fees, I did join the Trail Running Association (the FRA and RRC would have offered similar benefits) - unfortunately, in most cases, that now been lost following this ruling (that I still don't understand despite the many debates on here) about affiliation to UK Athletics - TRA members aren't affiliated through the club therefore we don't get the reduced fee in most cases.
I like running (even though I'm slow) but it is just one of many things I enjoy in life.
I don't want running to become part of a routine, something I "have" to do at a certain time on a certain day, or something that regularly takes up more time than I can devote to it (which is not to say I don't train for races).
That's why I'm not a member of a running club.
Local clubs don't meet at times/places which are convenient to me. For example one of the largest in the area has its LSR which starts at 8am (therefore no buses) about 7 miles away from my house. Another club I investigated meets on the same night I'm already committed to 2 children's weekly activites and my own monthly group meeting for another hobby.
I know that myself, and several of my friends, have declined to be personally affiliated to England Althetics, so have become 'unattached'.
I don't need to be on yet another database, and for the few races we do each year, it's not costing us much.
Just to clarify, we are members of a club, but as we are not personally affiliated we have to enter races as 'unattached'.
I prefer running early in the morning and my local club runs in the evenings (I hate running in the evening). Also, I enjoy running on my own, it gives me time to clear my head.
Don't want to make, and probably couldn't honour the committment of running at particular times each week.. I run when I feel I need to /want to.
Also I actually prefer being on my own, I like concentrating on my pace (I am little obsessive with the Garmin Forerunner..).
I can see the benefit in terms of social, varying training, having people around to push that bit harder than you'd perhaps go yourself etc.. but not enough to make me want to join!
I think the average age of the membership of many clubs is off putting to younger runners in their 20's & 30's who are possibly looking for a social life as well as people to run with.
Clubs can be cliquee.
Training isn't always structured to any particular goal and can't be because of the wide number of goals people have.
Clubs don't always have starter groups.
When I joined a club affiliation was cited as one of the benefits of club membership given the saving on race entry, however with membership at £25 the stipulation that a club vest should be worn £15 and now an affiliation fee of £5 (that was the point of joining a club) I would have to race 23 times per year in order to save.........£1.
One of the reasons I joined a club was to lend a hand with races, as I had benefitted from clubs marshalling races I had run, however with the suggestion that UKA are going to allow clubs to keep the unattached fee and instead charge clubs £200 or so for race permits, I can see why in the future people like myself would feel less of a need to join clubs if they were being directly charged in this way for not being a club member.
There are some very good clubs around but given that a lot are small and therefore the pool of organisers limited, I would guess that many clubs just don't have much to offer.
Forums such as this probably offer better advice and support than some clubs, not all of which have coaches.
My subscription is due soon and I'm wondering why I need to belong to a club at all.
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