The world has its secretive masons with their strange dressing gowns/aprons/black balls, its safeguarding secret services in suits and a myriad of other groups, organisations and slush fund wielding chunks of people that wish to remain nameless except to themselves. They also say that there is an honour amongst thieves, a secret code of sorts. There is also a socially derided and mis-understood group of people that they have to be moving in petrol powered vehicles to join that club. Of course I am talking about Citroen 2-CV drivers and they wave each other as they pass(For those of you unfamiliar with this particular bastion of French auto-engineering, just imagine driving around in an upturned Mixing Bowl with wheels and windows that flap and has all the power of a kitten fart. Link).
Now, whilst I will grant you that the groups quote before are not perhaps the most user friendly or socially welcomed gatherings of people, ok, gatherings of men of a certain disposition and dress-sense, but they do prove a point. They are but one of a plethora of people who wish to join together, but secretively. In fact, that level of Outsiderness if positively revelled in.
Imagine then, if you can, my surprise and shocked delight in my discovery that I to appear to be part of such a group. I am a member of a group of people set apart from the world by their activities, their enjoyment and their outsider position with the rest of society. We are looked upon with befuddlement, bafflement and bemused anger by some and pity by most.
I am of course talking about running and its very own secret society, its hidden and unspoken bond that it unbreakable. I like to call us the Ambulatory Cosa Nostra, the self-flagellating and Reebok clad Opus Dei. However, this bond, this joining of minds and aspirations is only ever invoked and loosed upon the world the moment you set foot in any mixture of garish, skin tight, or merely items that reveal half of your flesh and your knees. Meet a fellow runner in your normal civilian attire and I can guarantee you will receive not a flicker, but the moment you encase yourself in any mixture of lycra, cotton or polyester that sparks with each swish of your thighs and move passed them it is a different story.
To those not in the know, the look of acknowledgement would probably go unknown, but to those of us in the inner-sanctum of sweat and pained expressions that make a stuck pig look a paragon of serenity, we know. It’s no more than a slight inflection of the head, a gentle nod, or raise of an eyebrow, but it is there. There are no words, probably because talking involves an added use of the lungs that is not possible or feasible, but that makes it all better, the more self-contained. It is our club.
We are welcoming, forgiving and engaging people. We are one and accepting of most, but when a cyclist once dared to try and join the club I nearly choked. Fucking cyclists, who do they think they are???
She has no intention of running anywhere……………….