“Running is the closest thing to a religion” – Local runner Megan Marchant on new club Western Tempo & rediscovering her love for the sport

Running has never been more popular, with the news that a record 840,000 have applied to compete in next year’s London Marathon.

This spells good news for local running clubs including newly founded Western Tempo who are based in Cheltenham and have locations in Gloucester, Charlton Kings and Hereford

The club was formed after some Cheltenham Harriers members broke away from the traditional local running club.

Focussing on competitive running, the club are run by its runners, changing the nature of how these clubs are set up in the modern day.

One of the members of the club is Megan Marchant who explained how Western Tempo is unique to traditional clubs she’s run for before.

“Being a part of Western Tempo is that the runners shape it and run the club. We shape the club the way we want it, and we have that flexibility that older clubs don’t have much of. I just think it will grow and with time, you have to be patient, I’ve only joined in the last two years.”

“We’re building up as a club and there’s a long way to go to shape it the way we want which I think is really powerful.”

Marchant started running from a young age but explained why she fell out of love with competitive running for a long time.

“There was too much pressure from myself. I didn’t have it from my club, I didn’t have it from my parents. I think I just thought why am I doing this? I don’t want to be here and I’m so nervous and it just went on and on to the point where I couldn’t afford to feel like this. Running wasn’t the number one. I think that’s why I fell out of it.”

However, during COVID, she discovered her love for running again, through an unusual sport.

“I joined the touch rugby club at Loughborough University. I found that maybe I was good a touch because I was quick, so I ran past all these girls, I could run quicker than them.”

“I didn’t have a touch rugby club on placement. I was in Andover, Hampshire and I thought that I’d start running again, join a local fun club, not competitive.”

“The hiatus ended when I came out of that placement year and went back to university for my final year. So, I joined the athletics club and start training properly, because I was just running aimlessly.”

“Once I had it back, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, this is like a religion. It’s such a fire in the belly and it’s a powerful thing. That’s why I call it religion.”

The new athletics season has just started, and Marchant is already plunging into new depths with her next competition over the weekend.

The Night of the 10k PBs which is my next race. That will be my biggest endurance challenge. We’re talking 25 laps of the track which I’ve never done before.

“I’ve just got to keep grinding, but I want to keep enjoying it.”

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