Well into the 2016 running year I finally got to blow out the cobwebs last Sunday at the FACE 5k in Kilworth, 333 runners and like snowflakes no two exactly the same. Pre race nerves have people on edge, All forgotten in the hall after the five K blowout, the same people bursting at the seams to give their version of the race to whoever's willing to listen. Chaotic conversation, apres race tea and sandwiches, strained calves and you've the makings of a great morning out.
Not yet fully in race mode I got a bit distracted with another hobby of mine - psychological profiling, that brought me back to this post from a few years back. The 'sultans of swing' guide to the local running scene and who you can expect to meet at the average five miler.
The Techie - Under the spell of his latest sat nav, he knows he's not going to run well because the garmin says so. He's been getting all the wrong feedback for the last 2 weeks so how can he expect to run well tonight? His new aerolite x-press maxigel shoes which promised so much on the magazine wont be any help this time.
The mullacher - works hard, trains hard, has a dodgy gait but when he lines up he knows he owes it to himself to give it his all, 20 minutes after finishing Mrs. Murphy's new patio, jumping out of the van and legging it into the community hall, he's the last man to register. The run from the van will do as the warm-up for this guy.
The Triathlete - Always looking cool and immaculately turned out, he's here for the training and to work on improving his speed for his 'big' season goal somewhere in the distant future. After dismounting his Felt b12 he'll stand proudly for a few moments to survey the scene before tying it to the railings of the primary school. Techie's and triathlete's can often be mistaken, the compression calf guards and/or shaved legs will give the game away for the triathlete.
The Guru - He's been coming to these races since the early seventies and could probably give you the results and times of the first 10 across the line before the race even starts. At this stage he's probably running 33/34 minutes for five miles well into his sixties, in his heyday he might have beaten a young John Treacy in the national half marathon and was knockin out sub 25's and 6's for five a couple of times a month at his ease.
The young buck/s - Like a greyhound out of the blocks, sub five minute miles from the gun. Still in his teen's, he's either home from his scholarship in the states for his sisters wedding or he's the local's answer to Jerry Kiernan, make no mistake, he's fast and works hard to be where he is. He could be a townie, a prolific winner since he took up running 6 years ago, or he could be helping out on the farm, working 3 days a week at the nearest sports shop. This guy is being looked after under the watchful eye of the guru.
The fun runner - Lives nearby and has been coming out to support the local race since its inception 12 years ago. Rigorous training starts 2 weeks before the event, just enough time to get used to the excrutiating pain brought on by such an abnormal effort. Is the Recipient of the biggest cheer of the evening and part of the team responsible for co-ordinating the after race spread down at the hall. A major player in the scheme of things.
The Tourist - Probably from the US or mainland Europe, came across a flier for the race in the local caff this afternoon while having his lunch, he's been psyched all afternoon since he got the nod from his partner. Running in his training gear 'cos he left his racing gear back home, gives the young bucks a run for their money in the first 3 miles and still manages to finish with a smile on his face in the top 10. He's probably a French/Belgian/spanish/American intervarsities cross country bronze medalist (or something) from a few years back.
The Convert - Coming from a reasonabaly successful background in another sport, decides to give running a go for a while. On the way to each race he's going to come good and find some of the old magic that he possessed in his previous game. On the way home from each race, he's wondering if he'll try one more ....... he'll always try one more.
The Born Again/Newcomer - would have taken part in the odd 5 a side until his late teens, college life put an end to all of that, now 10 years on in the university of life needs something to offset the stresses of everyday living. Back running, finding it tough but the new sensation of serratonin explosion has blown him away and he'll only realise this when he 'comes down' (probably sometime after 2am).
The Moaner - Unaware that running is to be enjoyed, constantly in trouble, achilles one week, knees the next, head cold, chest infection, trained too hard last ni ................. whatever, an endless list of negativity, the only person in the world working long hours, If only he could get it together, he'd be coming home in front of the young bucks.
The Mercenary - probably the highest level you can get to while holding down a day job. Regular winner and never outside the first five, he's there to top up the weekly pay packet and more power to him, he runs a tight ship to juggle the job and the family and keep race fit.
The Gifted - Doesnt train much, parties hard, eats what he likes, drinks what he likes. Never outside the top 10. Loves to go for a run on a thursday or friday night to clear the body and the head for another weekend of it.
Proof if it were needed of the social side of a morning on the run.