One of the warming sporting stories of recent times is how well the Wednesday Night Running Club has flourished in its four year existence.
Started by Englishman Tony ‘Duffer’ Watts who is a triathlete, the Wednesday Night Running club has a diverse range of members with all sorts of stories to tell.
“We have complete beginners, casual social runners and mustard keen enthusiasts,” says Watts.
“Outside of Wednesday Night Running Club they get up to all sorts of larks. Four of our longest standing members are running in this year’s marathon relay on 2 December as Thong Distance Runners. They are Jacqui Davis, Brent Buckner, Nick Small and Bradalicious Marquardt.”
The club recently held its handicap competition which was won by Evelin Broderick who is not one of the fastest around but she improved her times enough to lift the Jim Kelly trophy. The club meets for a five mile run every Wednesday night at 6pm outside the old World Gym on Lawrence Boulevard, opposite Al La Kebab. Their fluorescent orange tops are extremely popular and early editions are exchanging hands for thousands.
Davis says: “Last year we came an unexpected third place in the mixed relay at the Cayman marathon which I think has encouraged us to see if we can knock a minute or two off the times this year.
“The club has been great for this. We do five miles each Wednesday which is good prep for the six and a half miles of the relay. It’s good to come out each week and have people to run with which helps you finish the distance and run faster against people who are better than you.
“We hope this will give us the improvement we would like on last year’s times (51.46, 55.44, 51.58 and 55.40). Nick came second this year in the WNRC handicap, I came fifth and Brad is the Jim Kelly trophy holder from two years ago. We hope these achievements will help boost our confidence on race day.”
There are plenty of road race events at this time of year and the Wednesday nighters are making the most of it.
“We’ll all be participating in and volunteering at, various 5 and 10ks throughout the winter season, such as Pirates Week (this Friday) and Jingle Bells but we particularly look forward to the other team event, the cross island relay,” says Davis.
“It’s hard getting up at 4am and driving to the various start points over the island but it’s always worth it when you have finished. The atmosphere is brilliant. The best crowd has to be at the marathon though, all those supporters up early on a Sunday morning, cheering and taking pictures. It just makes you want to run faster. So please come and cheer us on.”
Sonya Sherman and Ben Taylor are part of a team participating in Tough Mudder this December that will be 10-12 miles plus obstacle challenges. Sherman says: “I’ve been going to Wednesday Night Running Club for a couple of years now. When I first started, I could only go for two or three miles running two minutes, walking one minute.
“Everyone was very encouraging and supportive. It’s a nice, social atmosphere and my running has improved a lot. I participated in the Cayman Islands Triathlon and managed to survive the Olympic distance. The run is my weakest leg, so I owe that to WNRC!”
Phil Brown has gone marathon crazy and is certainly making the most of his fitness by competing in interesting places.
Brown says: “I only got into marathon running in 2007, having decided that I should do something unusual in the year I turned 40.
“As such, I registered for Chicago, and started training. Having got through that race, in arguably the worst weather conditions the organisers have known (extreme heat, race shut down, many people hospitalised), I then decided I wanted to run another.
“London was considered, but I didn’t make the ballot, and so I registered for Madrid instead. Whilst training for Madrid I then came across the challenge of running a marathon on each continent.
“Without appreciating the effort, time and cost involved, I decided that seemed like a good idea and put a deposit down for a marathon in Antarctica.
“Since then I have raced in Buenos Aires, Casablanca, Antarctica and I am heading to Istanbul this week to tick off Asia, leaving just Australia: with plans to run Melbourne in 2013.
“Generally my training consists of solo, very early morning runs. Having discovered the Wednesday Night Running Club – from spotting them and wondering what it was all about – I gave it a go one week and found that not only did it add some social element to running, having finished at the back or close to the back on the first few runs, it also gave me the incentive to try and improve my speed to keep up with the pack.”