A little over 12 months ago Martin put a notice on a Facebook community page asking if any local people wanted to meet up and go for a run/jog, nothing too long or too serious. The date, time and meeting place was set and on 29 March 2017 two people, Martin and Trace, met at Mountsfield Park in Hither Green. After waiting to see if anyone else would turn up (no one did!), the two of them set off for a jog/run. On that first night they ran a little over 3 kms and when they returned to the starting point, waved farewell to each other, agreeing to meet the following week at the same time and place. That was the start of the running group Your Pace or Mine (YPOM).

The second week a few other people turned up (Stuart, Liz and Karine) and at exactly 7:15pm the group headed off on the same 3km route. Over the following weeks and months more people started to join the group and the route was expanded to 5k. The regular route ends with an uphill climb and that’s when the name of the group name really came into its own! Some of the group spent weeks walking up that hill but eventually, with practice and encouragement from others, they managed to run it.

As the group grew in size so did the dreams and aspirations. People started visiting local parkruns and, as the group grew in confidence and numbers, they set their sights on other challenges. Some of the group took part in Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice’s Colour Run and Santa Dash and, in true YPOM style, more than a few runs ended up with celebratory drinks in the pub!

At the end of 2017, more than 20 people were meeting regularly every Tuesday evening to run 5k, taking part in parkrun, and starting to think about, and run, 10k events. So it was no surprise when someone suggested taking part in a half marathon.

When The Big Half, a new half marathon in south east London, was announced YPOM managed to secure 40 community places. As they were community places there were no fundraising commitment required.  But because so many of the group had taken part in events for the Hospice, the group asked people who were given YPOM places to support the Hospice.

For many of the group, The Big Half was the first half marathon they’d run.  It was a fantastic day with lots of support from the public and the YPOM cheer squad – Stuart, Rowan and Liz. The encouragement and pompoms helped get all the YPOM runners get round the course. Some of the group walked and ran, others ran the whole way, some ran amazing times and some were happy just to complete it.  Some ended up with injuries and some didn’t.

What we all did was to take a great deal of pride in knowing that 12 months before, without YPOM and the support, encouragement and friendship of the group we wouldn’t have run The Big Half and raised more than £6,500 for Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice.

The YPOM team!

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