Who are you? (doo do doo do)

Well my running still sadly lacking as I’ve had a foot problem to go along with the (easing) back issues, so not much to report there.  A slow couple of miles to test the foot today, and came out of that one ok, so will see how it goes over the next few days.

This is more of a meandering piece about something I have been thinking of recently. You will mostly know the script. I did a lot of running when I was young to moderate degrees of success. One lucky international vest. Some Regional and District selections and some district titles. Nothing to set the heather on fire. But I always thought that if I started back it would be the same people, and people would recognise me and wonder where I had been blah de blah. How wrong can I be? Firstly it seems that as I faded out of the sport so did so many others. Why did that happen? Why was it allowed to happen? I was in the Scottish development squad and just stopped running. No one phoned me, chased me or anything. And I think of that squad and can probably count on one hand the amount of people from that squad I have seen running since I came back. Were all these people allowed to leave the sport without an attempt to find out why? Did it happen as quickly as me or over a period of time? I don’t know, maybe it was just me and the ones that counted were looked after. Is this still the case? Do the clubs and Scottish Athletics do enough to keep runners interested? Do clubs do enough to attract new members? What can we do for retention? Since I started doing some stuff in Communications with Motherwell AC it is something I have been thinking about and pondering what I, or we, can do. I am totally open to suggestions, theories, anything, as it is something I am starting to feel passionate about without having any answers. The second thing that occurred to me is that apart from people I was in the same clubs as back then (Hamilton and Cambuslang) NO-ONE (apart from one ex Killie athlete, thank you Bryan Scott :)) actually even remembers me running. There’s three possible answers here:

  1. I remembered these people from when I stopped running because you ran against the same people at junior and youth level all the time. When it got to senior level there are 20 years of different people. My memories were frozen at the one time, others went on and changed.
  2. My oldest son was recently diagnosed as autistic (aspergers) and I am aware that I share many traits with him. One of these is that I do hold memories, quite anally retentive ones, of insignificant things, maybe that’s why I remember so much about those times of over 20 years ago and my fellow runners don’t.
  3.  Maybe back then no-one knew who I was anyway. My pictures I had with fellow internationalists when I won my only vest, I understand I am not remembered by people in the pics now, but did they even know me then or were they humouring the newbie?

Who actually knows? One thing I won’t be doing going forward is tell anyone else that I used to run against them as it embarrasses them as much as it does me when they try and fail to place me. And no, I won’t mention names, but it’s an excruciating beamer. It’s good to know that I don’t have to try and run the way I did when I was young, as no one remembers it anyway except me. The pressure is gone. I AM anonymous. Let myself be free and carry on forward. Here’s to fitness returning for the new year and to try and see where I can get to, and to totally forget what I have done, be it 25 years ago or last year. Isn’t that the challenge for all of us? All the best over the festive period blogpeeps.

3 thoughts on “Who are you? (doo do doo do)

  1. Heh Mark, there’s no such thing as a ‘lucky’ international vest. You represented your country ! No one can take that away from you, even if they don’t remember you. With regards to retention I’ve noticed that the larger clubs just let members move on and try to recruit new ones, no analysis of the retention rate whatsoever and the longer people are away from their club and the sport, the harder it is to get then back.


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