This last weekend I had an opportunity to join some other local runners for a fun run. Most of those who participated seemed to know one another already and the intent was for runners and their families to gather together before the start of the holiday season. However an invite was posted on a public forum on Strava and since I was part of this Strava group I thought it would be fun to meet some of these runners in person outside of cyber space. Although the majority were faster, more accomplished runners then myself and seemed to already all be friends I was welcomed into their circle and had fun at the event.
This reminded me of the general great attitude of the running community at large. When I began taking my first strides as a runner I joined a local running group CORK (Central Oregon Running Klub) on the weekends for runs. As I was still new to town I didn’t know of many places to run. I got the opportunity to learn about the local trails and made some friends and drew inspiration from some of the older runners. These individuals were well into retirement age and beyond and were out there hitting the trails and running races. It was a real eye opener for me. The last few years I try to regularly attend a weekly group called TPG (Tuesday Performance Group) . The focus is on speed work and all levels of runners are welcome to attend. When I began attending I was certainly one of the slower and out of shape runners. I also had no clue what speed work, tempo and intervals even meant. But again as I’ve found over and over in various groups and even races I was never looked down upon and always felt welcome and encouraged throughout.
So if you are new to running or prefer running solo, as I do most of the time, I encourage you to check out what your local community offers and give it a go. At the worst you’ll decide it’s just not for you. More likely you’ll gain knowledge, inspiration and a few friendships along the way. Happy trails!