It’s Christmas Eve and today we have our penultimate Dave Of Christmas or in this case ChristMISS as we get the low down on one of our female ‘Daves’.. TBH Ladies Captain, Dave WaughI am not really a ‘Dave’ but the other Daves of Christmas have inspired me to become one (temporarily for the purposes of this article!) but more importantly, in terms of running aspirations. I will never be a fast runner, so my running times will never ever match the other Daves, but I aspire to have the same commitment, enthusiasm, love of running and drive for personal running improvement that they have. More significantly, I hope to be able to inspire others – just like Tyne Bridge Harriers (everyone connected with the club – ‘Dave’ or ‘no Dave’) have inspired me.
Unlike many other ‘Daves’, I started running late in life. Three and a half years ago, I found myself being talked into running the Blaydon Race (as someone I used to work with is the daughter of the organiser) and I decided to attempt it – even though I had never done any running before. I really didn’t know where, or how, to start training. Should I run outside or should I use a treadmill? As I was no stranger to gyms, I opted for the treadmill at first and then progressed to running outside once I had the confidence to do so. I ran the race and from that day, I decided that I was going to keep up running in some capacity. At that stage, I would go to the gym and run once or twice a week. I had no idea about progression or training, however, and, in terms of improving my times and upping my mileage, I made very little headway and started to become frustrated. As I was a slow runner, I thought that joining a running club would not be an option – I would be far too slow and would never be able to keep up with the others. Furthermore, I had looked at some club websites and they weren’t exactly promoting the recruitment of slow runners – in fact, the very opposite! I continued to run by myself; started to read running magazines for advice and improved gradually but it was quite a lonely existence for a couple of years. I was therefore really pleased when, in September 2010, Victoria (my daughter) expressed an interest in running – she thought it would benefit her hockey playing. I had never been to parkrun before but I thought that it would be a good starting point for Victoria…unfortunately, it was also the starting point of a period of injury for me…
That Saturday morning, as I moved towards the parkrun start line, I felt something ‘ping’ in my right foot but I still decided to run as I didn’t want to let Victoria down. To cut a very long story short, I did myself a lot of damage (a deep crack running through my heel and torn and twisted tendons); faced several months of treatment and was told by my consultant that I should choose a low-impact form of exercise as I may never be able to run again. I was devastated but refused to give up. After months of volunteering and watching Victoria at parkrun, I slowly began to exercise again and was determined to start running in the future. I talked to David Daniels, at parkrun, who convinced me that I should come along to Tyne Bridge Harriers as they would be able to help me get back into running.
The first few sessions were incredibly difficult for me as I had lost all of my fitness and I was frightened about injuring myself again. In fact, for 2 weeks, I could only run a mile each session and, although everyone was very friendly and encouraged and supported me, I felt that I was holding everybody else back. The club was still in its infancy and was essentially made up of experienced runners and ‘fast lads’ at this stage. I decided that I would build up my fitness again and return to TBH sometime in the near future as they really were a welcoming and supportive club but I felt that I wasn’t yet ready for club running.
TBH thought differently, however, and Paul Hilton and David Daniels encouraged me to keep coming along. It was at this point that I offered to work with runners who may not have previously considered club running (those returning from injury, new runners, those lacking in confidence, slower runners etc) and I was suddenly on a mission! I was determined to encourage runners of all abilities to join the club and I was particularly interested in expanding the number of women at TBH. I undertook a Leadership in Running Fitness course and worked with runners in Groups 4 and 5 under the guidance of Dave Anderson. It has given me great satisfaction to see every one of these runners improve and, more significantly, to have seen runners, who were previously lacking in confidence, enter races and represent a running club when they never ever thought that they would be able to do so.
Personally, in my first few months with TBH, I have been able to fight back from injury; I have completed my first half marathon; I have improved my 10 mile race time by almost 6 minutes and have achieved a few PBs at parkrun. What I’m most proud of, however, is becoming Ladies’ Captain – I consider it a great honour to represent such a fantastic club and I will continue to work hard to help develop it even further. Roll on 2012 and the successes it will bring for Tyne Bridge Harriers!
Denise ‘Dave’ Waugh