David has done an amazing job with keeping the newsletter going at a time when we all needed more entertainment than ever. I for one stopped looking at the televised news in early May.
We are so lucky to have him to do this, he keeps us in touch with all aspects of the club, even if we don’t actively participate in them.
He asked me to write a few words from my perspective, so here they are.
As you know, like many others our business ground to a spectacularly sharp halt pretty much the day after we hosted our duathlon on March 15th, which was probably one of the last spring sporting events in the country.
This was a bit of a shock, just as we were ramping up to our biggest race and timing year since we began 10 years ago but thanks to our incredible loyal running customers, government input, bounce back loan, a grant from SDC and some belt tightening, we will get through it.
So as the general organiser of Shakespeare Races I found myself with time I didn’t expect and it seemed logical to give virtual racing a go. I really didn’t expect everyone to jump in with such enthusiasm, its been a remarkable few months in SAC history and I have loved it.
Here are a few of my observations and hindsights
After realising that the first 10k was going to work, the races have been set in such a way that was not entirely random. From a coach perspective it’s a fascinating challenge finding out all the different ways to get a better performance out of people, whatever their level, pace and experience.
Suddenly there was an opportunity to look at this on a much bigger scale.
There is no better way of getting people to run faster than making them see how fast they can run over a short distance.
If you can run a kilometre in 5 minutes then with training you can run 10 of them in close to 50. My regular
coachees have heard me bang this out so many times, but now there was a chance that people could actually race shorter distances rather than doing them in training.
There are not many 5 mile races, even fewer 4 mile races and almost no mile races. So given the 3 months racing these, you should all in theory be more confident to run a faster 10k. Can you?
Each month we have all learnt more about virtual races. How people time themselves, the courses, reporting and feeding information and I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of Matt, and then Ryan, David & John too.
We have over the months honed the art of getting you to give us your results, adjust, consolidate and get them back out, and report too.
At the same time it’s also been important to keep a pastoral eye on you all, as well as a coaches eye! We even have a small race adjudication panel!
In a normal Shakespeare Race, I can see everyone start, and then where they finish and in what sort of shape and position and of course that’s brilliant.
This time, it felt like visiting every table in the pub after the race, we got to hear about your race, how you felt, how hard it was, what you did wrong, how you got a pb, or loved it – all sort of things we would never have known in normal times and that was so lovely!!
So come the month of June, we put in a mile race. I think it’s something we have wanted to do for years but not had the push. I was fascinated to see just how many people ran this distance way faster than their “normal” race pace and I think many of you surprised yourselves too.
In addition the mile saw not only our track runners making a rare appearance but also enabled our junior runners to get involved, so we then had entire families submitting times.
I retain the vision of parents frantically running their socks off to keep in touch with their very speedy teenagers.
In addition we teamed you up and you pedalled like pros too!
Then along came the Virtual Warwickshire Road Race League and guided and cajoled by John Raby you
submitted times in droves and wiped the board for the prizes.
I longed to be a fly on the wall in other club conversations, and we were so proud of you all!
Like it, tolerate it or hate it, no one can deny that without social media this all would have been of a lesser success.
Seeing you all post your experiences, thoughts and pictures up, (and not just racing ones) has been
amazing. I have been able to pass these on to David, so those who don’t do strava or facebook get a feel for it too. Long may it last.
As we head towards August we still don’t know what the future holds but things are gradually changing and I hope that we will see at least a time trial race before the season ends.
For the foreseeable future we will keep on with the Magic Mile races to keep you on your toes and your Shakespeare Races may always have a virtual heat or wave – some people have found themselves being able to compete far more easily like this. You will have to
wait a few days for your August race details….
Our club is an amazing community which has undoubtedly blossomed in this strange year. All its parts make a great sum and diverse as we all are, our common generosity of spirit is so strong.
In a time of unprecedented constraint we have all opened different doors to each other and somehow enabled better things to unfold. I constantly feel lucky to be part of it.
Run on SAC!