I often run alone, but I treasure the friends I’ve made through running, and I love to run with them. Many of them were kind enough to tell me why they choose to run with each other.
“My running friends get me out in the morning. I love being social, exercising and being accountable to show up. We meet year round and help each other train for big events.”
One quoted George Sheehan: “The reason we race isn’t to BEAT each other, it’s just to BE with each other.”
“I am a fair weather runner who loves the support and structure of having to meet a group of runners at a specific time and place. This has helped me complete eight marathons. I’ve been running with a dozen runners of varying abilities for nine years. They have become some of my best friends. We’ve celebrated weddings, births and birthdays, and we’ve been there for each other through illnesses. I like larger groups so that a running partner is guaranteed when you show up at 5:30 a.m. or in 90-degree temperature.”
“The best part of a group is that you commit because they are expecting you. The bonding and conversation is great. With a group, I think you sometimes put more effort into your running. ”
“Running in a group challenges you to try new trails and learn to maintain a pace when you are tired. The wonderful relationships that build go beyond running and become a source of encouragement and support in our lives.”
“The group has made me a better runner and allowed me to meet women in different stages and walks of life. Within six months of joining I ran my first half-marathon. I’m hooked. Having a group that meets regularly has pushed me farther than I thought possible. It’s easier to get out of bed when people are expecting you. Runs go more easily when you’re visiting with others.”
“Group running encourages easy conversation. We consider what we say before we speak—you can’t be longwinded when you’re trying to breathe and watch your step as well. Energy and effort multiplies when we are together. Twelve years ago I met a friend at Runners Roost and ran nine miles with her. Since then we have run together through all that life brings us—through sickness injury and recovery, good times and hard times. We have laughed and shed tears, side by side. Life is best when shared with others.”
“I used to run alone. It was my therapy and sometimes my punching bag. But I was stagnant. I met new people and was introduced to new paths and distances when I joined a group. I would never have run my first marathon without their support. The group does more than encourage me to expand my running. These runners have become like family.”
“Don’t run the New York Marathon without your friend.”
“It is okay to share your Body Glide. For every bad thing you say about your husband to your running buddy, you must try to say something good about him.”
“I love this group. I read the emails and run when I can. They motivate me even though I rarely make it to group runs.”
A running friend may, in the long run, be more important than a coach.