We were a strange group to say the least. The only things we had in common were we wanted to be in better shape, at some point in our life we had lived in one of the most rural areas of Virginia and we all sort of knew someone else that was here. Oh, and we were explaining to the nice police officers what we were all doing in a bank parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. It was week three of our accidental group.
When I first started trying to run I needed someone to push me to move but as I progressed I “out grew” that. I started running by myself more and more and came to enjoy it. I rightfully told myself that with my unusual work schedule and time demands it would be nearly impossible to run with someone. Helpful people would tell me about group runs but I always thought why would I want to run with a group? That just seemed like a pathway to being embarrassed by far superior runners who would not understand my perspective. My first year of running was the occasional short run with a coworker or friend, one 8K and one 10K followed by a winter of doing nothing.
My second year was on a similar path until I got the invite that changed everything. A friend from high school had started running about the same time that I did but we had only recently found out what the other was doing. We had started talking and done a couple of races together. This morning she had sent me an invite to come run with another classmate who had just moved back. Our first run was a 5K course in our hometown where none of us lived anymore. Afterwards we took pictures and posted on Facebook that we had just had the inaugural run of The Pennington Pavement Pounders.
By the third weekend there were enough of us to attract the attention of the police AND the local newspaper. To my surprise I liked running with my group of misfits and started to look forward to our weekend meetings. Some of us were walkers, some runners, some were young, some old, some wanted to win race bling, others wanted to finish a 5K, two were thinking about a half marathon and still others wanted to be able to lose a few pounds. It made no sense that we were working out together but somehow we meshed.
Then winter hit, the harshest in years. Our group splintered and between the holidays, snow and cold it seemed it was over. The meetings became sporadic and there were a couple of times that only two or three showed up. I really missed my friends.
Through the joys of social media we somehow continued to talk and now we seem to be emerging from hibernation. We have (thankfully) decided to move from the bank parking lot to the fairgrounds and collected more people in our “cult”. I sometimes think if anyone tries to play tennis, bike, walk or run anywhere close to us they get sucked in! If you happen to find yourself in Lee County on a weekend day and see an odd assortment of people around the fairgrounds or running and crawling through town stop and join us, you will be glad that you did.