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Is it normal for a running club to be full of cliques?

I've noticed that myself (a relatively new member) and other new members tend to get left alone in the club house whilst the usual groups congregate and talk to one another.

There's something else which happened whilst I've been there... but I don't know if I should let it bother me.

I run with the "fast" group at my club on Wednesday night, with pace around 7.30 minutes per mile and up.

I have improved a lot lately since I got back into running and on Wednesday I was running behind two women who were far ahead of the group. These women have been running 10+ years and have been at the club a long time from what I gather. Anyway I got the impression they weren't happy with me running behind them. To make matters worse I clipped one of their heels (although as I was boxed in as some people had caught up behind me). This woman moved right out of the way as she was annoyed I clipped her and I decided to just pass them all and run ahead on my own. At this point I am going faster than I should be for the group. Anyway there's about a km to go and this woman puts her back out to leave her friend behind, catch up to me and race past me to the end. Bear in mind this is a Wednesday night social run. To pass me she had to run really hard as I was far ahead. At the end of the run I was stood there thinking... what the hell? Why did she feel the need to finish ahead of me? I don't do this to other people as I know it is just a social and it isn't my fast run anyway.

I've decided that next time I am simply going to hang around the back of the group for the entire run.

Is this normal behavior? I get the impression that lots of club members are really competitive and it just bugs me.
 

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While I am not a member of any running club, I do sometimes attend social runs. I have found on the couple of occasions I have been at Parkrun people tend to hang around with other people they know. I have been to some other social runs and have found the same, that I end up standing around like billy no mates. Then saying that I have been to one social event where they were all very friendly and I found myself talking to quite a few people.

I think if you go along to your new running club, make a beeline to the women you mention and break the ice by apologising to the one you clipped the heel, and see if you can start talking to them in that way. If you find yourself still feeling like billy no mates, then stop going to that club and email the club to let them know why you are not going to be attending again.

Let us know how you get on, I would be interested. (y)
 
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