One day in July 2015, I told my husband Paul, that I was going to meet up with a bunch of total strangers in a dark carpark, then go for a trail run with them…
A few days before, I had found PTR on Facebook, a small, local group with fewer than 100 followers. There was talk in the group of a night time pilgrimage to the Chrome Gnome sculpture on Peninsula Link, so that someone called “Pitty” could drop off an owl statue there, and everyone could pay homage to the Chrome Gnome.
It all sounded pretty bizarre, so of course I commented on the post and said that I was coming along. It sounded just like what I needed to get out of my mindset that running was too hard, I would never be “fast enough” (for what? The Olympics or something?), and that maybe I was fooling myself to think that running was really my thing.
Let’s take a couple of steps back: I had never been a runner. At school, I was academic, never sporty. In adulthood, I danced competitively (ballroom, in case you were wondering!), but never ran. I took up running in early 2013, at age 38, after having children and never quite getting back into being fit. It was great to have a sport where I didn’t need stilettos, fake tan, fake eyelashes, long flowy chiffon dresses – the list goes on!
Fast forward two years to 2017, and Thursday night runs with PTR are a staple in my week. It doesn’t matter if it is 2 degrees or 32 degrees, if I am tired, busy, or whatever. I never regret turning up, no matter what.
What I love about PTR is the diversity of all of us. Everyone is different, and everyone is welcome. Hang around PTR long enough, and you will meet PTRs from all walks of like, with all sorts of interests, personalities, temperaments, life experiences, goals, and so on. There is no pressure to conform to a mould – in fact, quirkiness is celebrated!
Running with PTR is always an adventure. A typical run may include trails (of course), sand, rocks, mud, tunnels, possums, glowy spiders (Langwarrin special), water crossings, and tracks that are “not quite trails” yet! We have come across may weird and wonderful things out there, including the abandoned exercise bike in the middle of The Pines, the loungeroom setup near the Rail Trail, and who could forget meeting Bad Leroy swinging in the tree on the Narnia Track?
With the encouragement of PTR, I ran my first half marathon in August 2016, something that I never thought that I could do. Now, I am quite comfortable with this distance. I am not aiming to break any land speed records, but am just happy to be out there, running the trails and being part of something that is changing many people’s lives.
If you are looking for a reason to get out and run, or want to start enjoying your running again – come and run with us sometime soon.