Our latest article in “The State of the Scottish” is by Niam Macdonald: one of our very fastest runners, and soon to represent us at the World Mountain Running Championship. Niam tells us what he likes about the club and makes some suggestions for what we could change.

What I like about Scottish

I love the inclusiveness that the club offers for a typically individual sport. The collective nature of regular training and races brings the best out of everyone.

I also like seeing our big presence at the leading domestic races. The two biggest local races – Round the Bays and the Wellington Marathon – are always competitively contested by Scottish runners. You’ll be sure to see many yellow singlets out there on the course with you. Further afield we have strong numbers at the other two leading city marathons, Christchurch and Auckland. Not to forget Road Relays, which from experience sure doesn’t disappoint.

The passion and excitement that everyone has about the club makes me feel excited to be part of such a great community with a diverse range of people who inspire and motivate. So many people within the club live and die for the rampant lion, and I’d say the same about myself.

What Scottish does well

The club does a good job of providing options for a wide variety of runners. For example, the Waterfront 5k is a very popular event for club and non-club members. Its simple format and course route make it a favourite on the ideal day to try take on your PB. All this while getting to soak up that fantastic Welly summer day!

Meanwhile some of us more competitive folk will be trying to tear each other up at the track. Although the concept of running really fast around an oval track doesn’t lend itself to high participation rates, we do have strong participation in the longer distance races. This is largely thanks to the likes of Stephen Day who are pushing past the perception that many runners have of track only being for very fast runners!

Having a great presence on social media helps keeps everyone up to date with training and races. Scottish is hosting the national XC champs in August and is doing an awesome job at promoting the event. Whether you are racing or spectating you don’t want to miss it!

What we could do better

The trail bug in me wishes we ran more trails, although in a club where the majority of participants are targeting a marathon or a half and less than ideal weather this is far from realistic. Also, we should make the rampant yellow socks available to order, cause they’re pretty epic.

How Scottish has changed

A concept I like and support is the shared club runs. I feel as though we have passed the time where you would never have thought of training with someone from a ‘rival club’. Whatever the intense rivalries and matchups, it’s great that we can and a tea and biscuit after a training run.

The makeup of the members is evolving. We are appealing to and recruiting more recreational level runners. It’s great for these runners to have structure and to be able to train with others of a similar ability regularly. This has long been our strategy for success for our leading male and female runners, and now it’s awesome to see it happening across the board.