Earlier this year, I got a surprising email from ASICS, inviting me to become part of their Frontrunner community. This was an email that I was pretty damn happy to read, especially as I had just got back from my holidays. It certainly took the edge off that ‘back to work’ feeling I had at the time!
For those of you who are unaware of what ASICS Frontrunner UK is, you probably have the same questions that I did before the Manchester Marathon meet up a few weeks back. As a mixed group of runners including triathletes, ultra runners, sprinters and a few other disciplines, the team is made up of roughly 40 members that were hand picked from around 4500-5000 applicants.
ASICS Frontrunner UK is a community. We interact as a group via social media on a regular basis, sharing our support and encouragement for one another and it feels like a group of friends that I have already known for a while. It isn’t all online though, heck no! We had a huge team meet up at the Manchester Marathon weekend where we had an incredible time. This included everybody staying at the Britannia Country House Hotel, Didsbury and from there we engaged in some cracking team-bonding activities (nothing weird, you dirty buggers haha).
Manchester Marathon Weekend Roundup
If I smash the weekend into a quick fire roundup, it looks exactly like this…
Chit chat at the hotel. Received the ASICS Frontrunner UK kit. Chinwagging and getting to know each other. Pub quiz. Pint of beer. Sleep….zzzzzzzzz…
Shit! Time to get up!
Early run on the River Mersey. Breakfast (I’m quiet for 5 minutes). Into Manchester for a great intro to what ASICS was all about. Talks about the new ASICS gear. Guest speaker Mara Yamauchi (2nd fastest GB marathon lady). Lots of photo shoots. Monument style treasure hunt around town in groups whilst taking creative selfies. Pizza Express. Big ass coffee! Indoor skydiving. Drive home and feed the dog. This was not included for everyone in the weekend plan. Although the entire group is always welcome to come and say hello to my pooch! (That’s not a strange euphemism).
Manchester Marathon relay for me. Loved running as part of a team. Said some goodbyes. Felt the same emotions I get at the end of a fantastic traveling holiday when I meet friends that I feel like I have known for ages!
Boom! That’s it in a nutshell. That quick summary turned out to be a little longer than I expected when I started writing it, but there you have it, that’s what happened over the marathon weekend. I’m sure I missed out one or two things, toilet visits, changing clothes…you don’t need to know everything about my days!
All of a sudden I knew what being a Frontrunner was all about, being part of an awesome team of incredible athletes and personalities. This bunch are a real mixture that include some insane times and distances covered, some who have achieved things very much out of the ordinary and many who are just damn right inspirational from the way that they approach life and the way that they run with a smile on their face with a will to strive to greater things every time they put on a pair of running shoes. The one thing that every single member does share though is a deep love for all things running.
The first meet up with this gang was truly inspiring and weekend that I will never forget, but this will not be the last of the meet ups. I know that I will be attending more as the year goes on and I am sure that there will be some smaller meet ups within the group so that we can tackle races together and create some amazing friendships.
I am honoured to be part of this group and I cannot wait to become even better friends with these guys and girls because they are genuinely brilliant people. Legends, the bloody lot of you!
Oh wait…I also have to mention team mate Matt Rees a.k.a. @thewelshrunner, who today helped a Chorlton runner, David Wyeth across the finish line at the London Marathon. A top quality bit of sportsmanship. Matt has shown here what makes the running community the beautiful thing that it is. Check it out below…it is heart warming stuff!