We are all breathing hard in a close-packed, single-file line as we make our way up the mountain … Even if we want to slow down, we don’t because we embrace the climb, together … We take in the views, laugh about our burning legs and labored breathing and continue to power hike until we can break away and run. Sometimes, we even fit in a few broken sentences.
I know very few of the people around me, but I know we are in this — this trail run — together. And, some of these people will become lifelong friends.
THE POWER OF TOGETHERNESS
There is power in running with friends, old and new. It extends far past accountability. Yes, you are bound to show up when someone else is counting on you. But, showing up means being all in, not just in the same space. It comes with motivation, inspiration and cheerleading. You start to raise expectations and encourage those around you to do the same. It’s full-circle inspiration.
There are run groups, friends, neighbors, etc. who meet you at 5:30 a.m. at places where all the runners will be. What starts off as first-day-of-school-like introductions, quickly moves into something deeper. You learn about life outside of running, connect on commonalities and smile because you know you now have a support network. From there, you start running more, maybe you even try a run you would never have tried on your own. In most cases, you become a better runner. When you start to enjoy something and you have someone to share the enjoyment with — you tend to do more of it.
TOP THREE REASONS TO FIND YOUR COMMUNITY
1. Someone to Run With
There is nothing better than having a group of people ready to join you on the run. Whether you are looking for someone to push you to your speediest paces, join for an early morning workout (safety in numbers) or line up at the start line to fend off pre-race nerves — when you have a community, you always have a runner friend.
2. Someone to Share With
Your run community won’t mind how many times you talk about running, they won’t care if you post about your run … again. They will even jump in on the conversation and take a sweaty post-run selfie. You want to talk about running, they want to talk about running — you both could go on all day about running. Anyway you look at this, it’s a win-win.
3. Someone to Connect With
Human connection is powerful. When you lace up your shoes, you are going to meet all kinds of humans. You are connected via forward motion. It would be hard to characterize your running community demographic — to me, that’s the best part.
When you ask me about my run, I’m likely to leave out the mileage details, but I never miss an opportunity to tell you about the people.
The friendships, the stories and the motivations are what keep me running. I bet that’s a big part of what keeps you running, too.