I have to admit to feeling a teeny bit nervous when I’m invited to join She Runs: Cardiff for their Zoom book club to chat to them about my running memoir/guide, Running Kind. This brilliantly supportive women-only social running group based in Cardiff deservedly won the Run Wales Group of the Year in December 2020 for their fantastic efforts to encourage and engage their 1.1k followers. Their lockdown activities, with a strong emphasis on health and well-being, have included virtual couch to 5k, themed runs, monthly challenges and a book club which has attracted great runners, popular authors and now, gulp, me.
Zoom’s new to me so my daughters break me in gently with a rousing game of family unicorn bingo. Tom and I wear our unicorn headbands and there are tantrums - bingo cards upturned, a sin-binning - laughter and tears, not least mine when it’s over because it’s both so lovely to see the family and so painful wondering when we’ll see them for real.
So I’ve Zoomed, I’ve prepared, I’m answering questions about my own book… yet, come book club day, everything I’ve ever got wrong - like drying up in front of large audience during my own speech many years ago - threatens to undo me. To bolster my confidence, I reread a wonderful chapter from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic which I won’t spoil for you, but it’s a joyful and inspirational story about getting the theme of a fancy dress party horribly wrong and surviving. Don’t miss the party, is the message. Don’t come all this way to miss out at the last moment.
I take a deep breath and in I go, and of course, everyone is very welcoming, very kind, interested and very willing to share their own stories. I’m so glad I didn’t miss the party! It’s a long time since I’ve been in the company of so many women and it makes me nostalgic for my days as a a beginner runner when I ran with Epsom Allsorts, another women-only running club. Thank you so much for having me as your guest, She Runs: Cardiff ladies, for buying my book and for so generously giving me so much of your time. I hope to join you for a social run when brighter, safer days are here again.