Common answers to this question tend to include improving your fitness, making new friends, and learning to see your local area in a new light.
All of these are worthwhile aims. But although my membership is unlikely to be indicative of the norm, its led me to believe you can expect a little bit more from Midnight Runners…
For instance, although Midnight Runners probably won’t guarantee it will happen for you, my experience suggests you should aim for a marriage and a new career within a few years of joining (otherwise maybe ask for your money back?).
It took me only two months to meet the runner who would become my wife. And it took me only a little while longer to meet a friend who would set me up with a job as a COO of a hedge-fund.
My wife (Charlotte) and I met at the first Midnight2Midnight. A little bit more than a year later we were engaged. I met her on my 11th loop (110km in). It was her first and there was a big difference between our energy levels. She went zooming off and I limped round behind her because I'm too competitive. Obviously, Charlotte got away, as she is too speedy for me, even on a normal day. But I found her and several others waiting at Tower Bridge doing Midnight Runners exercises. Sally was playing, and squats were happening. I joined in but was so stiff I could barely move, so Charlotte held my hand to pull me up and down. We held hands before we spoke. I managed one more loop after that but would have to wait a few more weeks to get Charlotte's number and organise a date with her (the date wasn’t organised then as I was basically in tears from fatigue).
This September, 3 years later, we got married to one another. Twice…
One was our official wedding. This was obviously dominated by Midnight Runners. The service included a poem about running, and the party of course had Sally and squats. It was the best day of my life made all the more special by having the LMR crew there.
The unofficial wedding was our Midnight Runners marriage 10k run (arguably even more special). Charlotte in a nylon wedding dress looked beautiful as always. Whilst I, in an old suit looked aggressively sweaty. The crew captains were dressed, as nuns, bridesmaids and vicars. We even got to have the wedding at St Pauls (the only other people I know who got married there were Prince Charles and Princess Diana and I think we were probably even more happy than they were!).
I won’t romanticise the job application, since going to work in Canary Wharf is not particularly romantic. But it’s a role I got purely because Midnight Runners introduced me to the right person (Louis), and the nature of the Midnight Runners showed Louis that I was crazy enough to fit in with the company.
Elsewhere I have travelled to Paris, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Hvar and the Italian lakes with Midnight Runner friends. I have caught hyperthermia in an Otillo, pissed myself during an Ironman trying to beat one of the captains and thrown up at the wedding of a different captain. Midnight Runners was worth joining just for these experiences.
So when people ask me what you can get out of a running club, I ask if they mean Midnight Runners. If they do I tell them they can expect a bit more.