In these uncertain times ORC members have found it hard to have the motivation to keep running and training with no definite light at the end of the lockdown tunnel. Many members have done fundraising runs for the NHS but most are still finding their “mojo” is lacking. Those members who use club sessions to train to race were lacking incentive with all races postponed or cancelled. Those who use it as a form of exercise, enjoying the social element of belonging to a club and running with others were missing their running buddies and are struggling to have the motivation to run on their own. The physical and mental benefits of running are well known and with NHS workers and key workers among the club’s membership it was felt that they too needed to have an opportunity to take their minds off the stresses that they are facing.
It was with this in mind that head coach Robert Richards decided to boost the morale of members by setting a challenge for both past and present members, to collectively run a cumulative total of 1,000k between them on Saturday. Observing the lockdown guidelines, everyone was to run from home, keeping to the social distancing rules and only in the company of those in the same household. They had to wear some item of club clothing and take a photo of themselves, logging the distance run along with their photo either on the club’s Facebook page or the Strava running app that many use.
The response was overwhelming! From early Saturday morning to the late afternoon runners were uploading their runs and pictures. The distances varied according to what people could manage from a couple of miles to a full marathon distance. The ORC juniors were great contributors, running with their parents, 23 of them clocked up a total of 114k. The youngest participant was 15 month old Olivia wearing an ORC bandanna while being pushed in a buggy by her father Gaz Williams for over 6miles. Nine past members, including one who had moved up to Scotland, dug out their old ORC vests and ran a total of 82k, enjoying being back as part of the club.
The most remote ORC runner was Duncan Nicol, chief engineer on a merchant ship anchored off the coast of China who ran 4miles around the deck of the Maersk Altair, sporting a face mask with the ORC logo on it. Martin Trerise ran an incredible 26k by running round the perimeter of every field of his family farm.
What was most obvious though was that the runners all enjoyed their runs far more than the ones they’ve been forced to do since the lockdown. They had a goal to achieve, they didn’t feel like they were running alone, and with this came the incentive to push themselves a little bit harder, some running alone for the first time, having not run at all since the club had to close down. One of our most senior members, Jane Richardson, has been in total isolation for three weeks now and has only been able to run round her garden where she has worn a path in the grass. She enjoyed the feeling that for once she wasn’t doing this entirely on her own. The last runner to contribute was club chairman Jeremy Tandy who completed a full marathon distance while never being over a mile away from his home.
When all the maths were done it revealed 125 members, the biggest turnout of club members ever, had run a total of an impressive 1,368k or 850 miles. This incredible distance means that done in a relay the ORCs could have run from Okehampton to John O’Groats and some way back, though perhaps not in a day!
It was inspiring and rewarding to watch this all taking place throughout the day and those who took part, no matter how fast or what distance, had all come together as a club once more to contribute their bit to a club goal. Huge thanks to Robert Richards who organised and collated it throughout the day and inspired us all to get out there and run.
Who we do finally get through this dark period and can return to club sessions, the club would welcome any new members who may have used this opportunity to start running and would like to continue within the club. In the meantime if anyone wants running ideas who are not in the club they can email firstname.lastname@example.org for some help.