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The 6am Club

It's more fun than it sounds, promise

· Outdoor Activities

There's a secret I want to tell you. Near you, there's a group of people who are members of the 6am Club. I'm an intermittent member, which is why I'm telling you. It's probably a bit like Fight Club and you're not supposed to talk about it, and I'm breaking all sorts of rules. There are no membership fees and I'm not on commission (#notanad).

The 6am Club is a group of people who are out at the time of the morning that the rest of the population think doesn't exist. But they are not commuting, they are out for leisure. Members include, but are not limited to, walkers (with or without dogs), runners, cyclists and wild swimmers. There is no set meeting point and realistically the start time is somewhere between 5:45 and 6:45 (we're a casual bunch), but any later than that and you miss the magic. If you are out any earlier, you have my sympathy but there is no club for you.

There aren't many rules but one of them is that you don't talk to other members – a cheery "Morning" or a curt nod of recognition is the 6am Club secret handshake. We're not out to chat about Charlie's dodgy leg – save that for post 8:30 please.

People join the 6am Club for different reasons. Some are getting some space before work or after a night shift, others have dogs that just prefer a quieter amble or a cooler part of the day, then you have those who want to fit in some exercise to start their day off right (or get it out the way!). There are regulars, semi-regulars and those who drop in on occasion – we welcome all ages, body types, gender identities, colours or creeds. And added bonus, there is no specialist kit required. How many clubs can say that these days?

So I'm sure that all sounds great, but I can hear you thinking, why would I join when I could be at home in bed? Well that is an excellent question and one that I won't truly be able to do justice to here, but I will try.

Quite simply, 6am is magic. There is no one around except the other club members. The birds are literally singing the dawn chorus, just for you. The sun is rising and as it warms your face, you can feel the day beginning around you. There is space for your thoughts or for you to have no thoughts if that's how you want to roll. In the spring and summer, flowers are just starting to open to greet the sunlight. Depending on where you are walking, you might see deer or squirrels. This morning my local sky was full of skylarks. It's peaceful and calm and there is just space to be. No one is expecting anything of you at this time of the morning, there are no notifications or emails in 6am Club. Just you and the world.

That's not to say that every 6am Club is blissful. The hardcore 6am-ers (sixers? we haven't got our name down yet) are there in the winter too. Slogging through the pitch black and mud with headtorches and wellies. There is a reason why I'm a on-and-off member – rainy January mornings are not my favourite. But even in the weeks when you can't really feel your fingers and you discover another hole in your 'waterproofs', there will often be a morning that just makes up for it. It will be foggy and feel like a fantasy novel, or the rising sun will reflect off the frozen leaves in a particular way and you'll remember – this is why I am a member.

Also I really like the smug feeling I get when I am walking back to my house at 7:30 and I see people just leaving their houses. You'll like that too. JOIN OUR CLUB.

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