In our latest article about the State of the Scottish, Daniel Jones tells us about his decision to join Scottish after moving to Wellington, and some of the differences between Scottish and his beloved Whakatane Athletic and Harrier Club.
For me – and maybe others have felt this too – joining a new club can feel like a bit of an ethical dilemma. Leaving an association or family you have been part of for years can lead to a slight sense of betrayal. Nevertheless, a new club can also lead to a bunch of new opportunities and I was fortunate enough to face this decision just last year.
Whakatane Athletic & Harrier Club (WAHC) was my old club, where I was a member for as long as I can remember. The only real similarity between WAHC and Scottish is the fact that most of the members enjoy running, and also enjoy or at least tolerate the social activities that surround it: drinking beer and running chat.
WAHC is a much smaller club and it is very social and community focussed. The biggest gathering of the week is every Saturday for a semi-competitive club race. The race is hosted by a club member, who puts in great effort to prepare a cross-country or road racecourse for their week of hosting duties. An afternoon tea and beer usually follows and for a majority of members the next catch up is the following Saturday at a different location, hosted by a different club member.
The move to Wellington meant a choice of not one but multiple clubs to consider joining. After a bit of due diligence and passive persuasion, Scottish it was, and that has led to a very fulfilling year of running. It started with a reintroduction to cross-country with an agonising Dorne Cup, where I might have placed somewhere in the top 20. A bit of structured training since then has improved fitness and performance.
In my mind, the biggest benefit that a big club like Scottish brings to the runner, from beginner to experienced, is the group training and group workouts. To improve at running, besides incredibly strong intrinsic motivation, there does not seem to be a much better method than training with a squad. Running with those at a similar level or better than yours is very useful for hitting your next level.
The PB’s achieved by club members testify to the effort put forward and I am stoked to be a part of it. Moreover, thankfully my initial thoughts of betrayal may have been unwarranted, as Whakatane has not banished me. In saying that, I would not be cheeky enough to throw on the yellow singlet in those parts, but am very proud to do so everywhere else.