Club runner? Club standard

A post yesterday depressed me a bit. Someone said that 10k in under 40 mins would make someone an "average club runner". As it's taken me a nearly a year to get 10k under 46 mins, this is something of a downer - it's going to take a massive effort just to get under 45 mins and be an "improver"; 40 mins, possibly in 5 years or so.  but what exactly is a "club runner" - does this mean someone who is of a good enough standard to represent their club, or just someone who runs with a club regularly? i don't particularly want to join a club if I'm easily one of the worst...


  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    Don't worry you won't be the worst, far from it. Sub 40 is for a fairly good club standard and obviously a bit age dependent. My PB is 42 and I'm in about top 1/3 of my club. The thing is if you join a club it does help you get faster at least in my experience.
    Sub 40 is only "average" if you want to be competitive on a local/regional level. If you're not aiming to be that (like me) don't sweat it.
  • Join my club, baldbloke - you'll be one of the fastest!

    Looking at the results of a local 10k, the top 45 men were under 40 minutes, and 39 of them were members of a club.

    Of the remaining 382 men, 158 were members of clubs, and had times up to and including 1:24:41.

  • You would fit right into our club and I hope you would enjoy it.  Times are irrelevant in lots of ways when it comes to training as everyone tries the same in a set of reps, just some run quicker.

    If you do try a club and it doesn't fit your running, try another until it's just right.

  • JoolskaJoolska ✭✭✭

    Most clubs have a wide range of abilities so I would assume that what is meant there by 'club runner' is actually 'faster/more competitive runner' (this is certainly what the BBC mean when they mention 'club runners' when covering the London Marathon or Great North run).  Quite a lot of the larger races let you search results by club name these days so have a look at the results for a local race and see what finishing times the club in question had - I'd bet there's a wide range!

    As for what constitutes a 'good' time, well it's all relative (for starters, it depends on gender and age).  It's fair to say that it takes a time in the low 30s, if not below for the best races, to win a 10k and as someone who hovers around the 40 min mark for 10ks, I would expect to finish in the top 10 women in a small, local 10k but quite possibly only in the top 50-100 in a bigger race with a better field.  Whether you're aiming for sub-60, sub-50 or sub-40, I'd say time is more important than finishing position.  And you certainly won't be last with sub-45!

  • Most clubs would have you in the top 20% with a sub 40 minute 10k. So I would say it makes you a "good" club runner rather than an average one.
  • encouraging stuff.  thanks to all....
  • +1 for what people have said.

    Remember there is a wide range of builds between people - a big chap like a rower or rugby player will weigh maybe twice as much as a top marathon runner (I have just googled the weights of Haile Gebrselassie and Matthew Pinsent to check!)  and there are other, less visible differences which also affect running potential.

  • It's worth shopping around for a club.

    Some (in more populated areas, at least) will have an elitist attitude that only the really fast members are really running. Others are very inclusive and all about the fun / participation. 

    At the club I run in, 8:45 minute miles would be about the average. The quickest of the fast group tend to run about 5:50 minute miles over a distance of five miles. We sometimes have three different ability groups, other times the fast ones run back to pick up the steadier runners once an agreed point has been reached. Everyone chats and socialises: the social runners as they're moving, the quicker pacers at stopping points. 

  • Yup, totally depends on the club. A while back I enquired about joining one of the clubs in Glasgow, only to be told that I was too slow and that I should go join another club (which they recommended and gave me contact details for) and come back to them if/when I improved. They weren't being elitist in a snotty way, just telling me truthfully that they were a 'fast' club and that I wouldn't really benefit from joining them at my then speed.

    The club I run with now is every bit as fast and even has a couple of runners that have been up there on the podium with the Kenyans at some big half marathons, but it's more inclusive and happy for slower runners to join. I'd say on most nights I go out with them I'm easily one of the slowest and usually trail round right at the back, but I don't let it bother me any. A good club is one where the faster runners are supportive and encouraging of the slower ones, and our sessions always end with a round of handshakes and 'well dones', which is nice.

  • Don't be afraid to check out the WAVA age related tables as well, so you can compare you performance times with younger runners on an age-related basis.

    "Average" is such a subjective term, so don't let it put you off. Similarly, don't be dismissive about what years of training can do to your performances.

  • Clubs vary in what they expect from members performance.

    I am fortunate to belong to City of Norwich AC, which positively encourages new members whatever standard they are capable of running.

    The club is currently running a beginners to 5k programme specifically aimed at new and prospective members, which aims to get you up to 5k in around 30 mins in 7 weeks training.
    Once you are capable of that, then the improvers group takes over from there with runs of 4 -5 miles, and then a further group with runs of 6 -10 miles.

    I'm running with the improvers group.

    The road running director also runs the local parkrun, is very supportive and encourages new membership.

    Here are the club standards. Its clearly divided into gender and age groups.
    I tend to view the standards as a target to aim for on a personal level,  I need a set goal or I tend to just plod along rather than push to improve my running.

  • As above clubs vary a lot. When I originally enquired with the faster club in my town they did beginner runs of 6-7 miles !! I could do 4 miles. They were honest with me. I was recommend the othe running club and I joined them. Later I did join the other club as they actually train on my road so it was foolish not to. Both clubs have now changed anyway and positively recruit complete beginners.
  • thanks to all, especially Secret Agent for the "medal table" for City of Norwich AC. has some very good intermediate targets to aim at, on the way, say, to sub 40 10k or sub 20 5k...
  • It's never taken 4 months for someone to tell me I'm talking codswollop
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