In the first instalment in our new series “The State of the Scottish”, Kate Slater talks about what draws people to the club and what we can do to become bigger and better.
What attracts people to join a running club? Two years ago, I didn’t know running clubs were a thing. Now I have a wardrobe full of yellow kit and spend my weekends running all over Wellington with an amazing group of people I would never have met any other way.
I chose Scottish because it seemed like I’d be welcome. I’d seen all the yellow singlets at the Waterfront 5ks and had been encouraged by Amanda and Chan, and was finally sold by the Round the Bays sign-up deal. As a newbie ‘runner’ I felt pretty intimidated by the whole club scene but wanted people to run with through winter. Scottish seemed like it would offer that and there are enough members that I was hopeful of not being at the very back of every run.
I think this approachability is our biggest asset and something we need to keep working on so the club can grow every year. It’s important to get our profile out there by having lots of members of all ages and abilities at all the local events cheering each other on. People need to see that running clubs aren’t just for elites or super-competitive runners (which isn’t to say we shouldn’t reach out to those guys too). Scottish is great because we have the full range. Whatever point you’re at there’s someone at the same stage and someone where you want to be.
To start with I wanted people to make me run, to least tell me when and where to show up so I would feel obliged to do so until I actually enjoyed it. That worked and then some. Being able to slot into a training group has really kept me going. Knowing that there will be someone to run with gets me out the door when its cold and dark and rainy (and my flatmates are at home with chocolate). There’s also a lot to be said for our volunteer coaches, and especially for Rowan and Lindsay’s weekly program that allows the rest of us to just show up.
Should we try to attract more university students to the club? I honestly don’t think so. VUWAC is doing a great job in that regard. One of Scottish’s strengths is the diversity of club members. I spend most of my life around other students all the same age and doing basically the same things. One of the things I appreciate about being part of the club is that I can run with and make friends with people outside that circle.
I would love to see the women’s team get more competitive, especially at road relays! It’s awesome to see the guys doing so well but getting more Scottish women on the podium too would be great. Of course, we have some great SW and MW who’ve been smashing it this season but we’re a long way from NRR gold. Getting everyone training together and racing all the harriers’ events could be a start. At least, it seems to be working well for the guys.
by Kate Slater