How I swapped the loneliness of the cross-country runner for the cosiness of the club

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A move to Hay-on-Wye transformed me from a lone urban to a solitary rural runner. But getting over scepticism to join the local club has been a revelation

“New shoes, eh?” the man said to me in a knowing tone. “So, what’s the tread? Let’s have a look.” I’d just joined the local running club. “Tread?” I thought. “What’s ‘tread’?” Back then, my shoe knowledge was farcical. The week before, I had gone online, found a random website selling running ge…