async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: How to Meet Other Runners

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

How to Meet Other Runners

Recently on Facebook, a 'chain' post has been circulating. You may have seen it. It's called the '10 day Running Challenge' and runners are 'nominated' by other runners to share 10 days of photos from a memorable day in your life of running. I don't normally do these things but I thought it might be fun--at least for me, lol-- to share some memories from my years of running and racing. No one that I've nominated has taken me up on the challenge, though.

A friend of mine from high school, who I admire greatly and nominated for this challenge, sent me a message. She wanted to do the challenge but told me she doesn't know any runners to nominate to the challenge. She told me her New Years' resolution is to find some running friends.

It sounds so trite. But I totally understood where she was coming from. In the past, none of my friends were runners. I was used to running alone. I'd go to races alone and see groups of runners cheering each other on and celebrating together after the race. For introverted extroverts like me, meeting new people isn't easy. However, over the past 10 years, I've met other runners and have found a nice balance between my love for solo runs and the desire for socializing at races. Plus I needed people I could talk to about running!

How can runners meet other runners?

Marcia, Renee, and me spectating at the 2019 Chicago Marathon

Social Media
About 10 years ago, I started reading running blogs. I was starting to run half marathons and was searching for information about training. I found that, but I also found my people. Some of the first blogs I started reading were Another Mother Runner, Shut Up and Run, and Marcia's Healthy Slice. Over time, I began to realize that Marcia didn't live far from me. Eventually, we met when she offered to drive me to a race and a friendship blossomed. I have met many other local runners through Marcia. I was also empowered to start my own blog and make my own connections.

Front, L->R: Judy, Marcia, Darlene, Tricia
Back, L->R: Holly, Karen, me, MaryBeth
We all met through our blogs.
Runners can also connect on Facebook and Instagram. There are running groups on Facebook and those groups are a place where runners can connect with other runners. You can also start a running page on Facebook where you share workouts and other posts. Following other pages and commenting on them will help grow your following.

I've connected with quite a few runners on Instagram, too! The hashtags are a way to find other runners. Some of the hashtags many runners use are #runner, #fitness, #runnersofinstagram #marathon, #runaddict, and #runningmotivation. Using hashtags that will connect to runners with common interests is another way to narrow down your focus. Strava is another platform where runners can connect.

Gym and Fitness Classes
I don't belong to a gym, but I do go to CrossFit and that is where I met my running friend Steph. A fellow nurse, Steph was training with the same coach as me and we struck up a friendship that has endured. There's another woman I've met there who is also a runner and wants to do some races with us.

Lucky me to have this lady in my life!
Running Clubs
It may seem like a no-brainer, but guys, I was seriously intimidated by the idea of joining a running club. What if they all thought I was a poser? What if I couldn't find anyone who ran my pace? What if I had a code brown on a group run? These are the thoughts that held me back from joining a running club. A few years ago, I discovered the Busse Woods Running Club and its low key presence on social media really appealed to me. The president of the club and his wife are 2 of the nicest, most welcoming runners I've ever met. They are also very well connected to the Chicago running community and as such, obtain many perks for the club.

This Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay was a blast.
BWRC had 20! Teams of 4 runners. I would never have done this on my own!
I can't wait to do it again!
My take on this is to try out the different running clubs in your area and find one that fits. I'm not a 'group' kind of person, but it is a great way to meet other runners and not feel lonely at races!

Work
Work can be a good place to meet other runners, although if your work is like mine, most of the socializing is done over potlucks and donuts instead of miles. One of the physicians in my office is a former runner and he loves to give me advice on training. My employer is a very large company and they have a charity running team that runs various races throughout the city, including the Chicago Marathon and the Shamrock Shuffle. I won a charity bib through them for the marathon a few years ago and was part of the training group.

It was great having my coworker to commiserate with during training.
 Even better was meeting up with her before the race.
Really helped calm my nerves!
Ambassador Programs
If you are on social media at all, you can apply to be an ambassador for many different brands. Race promoters are always looking for runners to promote their events. I've been an All Community Events ambassador for the past year and we have a private Facebook group as well as meetups at races. Many brands will have private Facebook groups for their ambassadors and that is a great way to connect. When I was an Inknburn ambassador, it was especially fun to have meetups with other ambassadors at races. I am also a SweatPink ambassador. SweatPink is an influencer group and they offer all kinds of opportunities to try products as well as connect with other influencers. Last summer, I attended the first Sweat Pink EMPOWER camp and was able to connect with influencers I knew as well as make new friends!

L->R: Missy, Linda, Sandra, Marcia, Erica, me, Rachel, and Annmarie
JoggingBuddy.com
While preparing this post, I found this website where runners can connect! It's not a dating website--I found a few of those too--it's just a place to meet local runners who are looking for a running partner. I entered my zip code and about 10 local runners popped up. Meetup.com might also be a resource for running groups in your area, although when I looked locally here, the only group I found was restricted to members only. They asked that people not contact them because they were using the platform to post their runs for themselves. Huh.


What is the best way to meet other runners? Running friends: we get each other! /via @oldrunningmom #running #runchat #runningfriends


How did you meet your running friends? Do you belong to a running club? Have you tried any online meetup sites? Solo or group runner?



I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida, who I've both met, for Tuesday Topics!






43 comments :

  1. Yep! Guilty as charged for pulling up to a strange house on a dark morning and letting someone I'd never met hop in my car! The rest is history! :D While I'm very much a solo runner, I do love my social running network. It's so cool to literally go anywhere in the world and find someone I "know". That said, I had a bad running club experience awhile back. It was out of a running store that is no longer. Boy did they size me up. Super unfriendly.

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    1. That is why I was hesitant to join a running club!!! But BWRC is definitely my people.

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  2. I met Darlene through FB. I met several close running friends through a running group I used to belong to. I belong to a couple of local running clubs, mainly for the discount for races. I haven't really made friends through them, although it has widened the circle of runners I know.

    There is actually a large group of Skirt Sport Ambassadors here, too, and we're all pretty friendly.

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    1. Just think, if it wasn't for social media, none of us would have met!

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  3. Every year my company sponsors a few relay teams for our local marathon and that's always a blast. I've always been a solo runner but I'm going to change that next spring and join a running group. The schedule is going to be a little tough but I really want the experience.

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    1. My running group mostly runs in the evening and that doesn't work for me. I don't do a lot of group runs, but I try to participate in group activities.

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  4. Thanks, Wendy, many good tips here!
    I hesitate to join a running club, too. I just don't want to be tied down by rigid running schedules or be running with people I don't really connect with.
    I have found my running buddies through work (a mega corp). It's like a snowball effect: you know one, he knows another and so on. People that I get to know that way seem to be more like-minded and we are really good buddies.
    Do you run more solo or more with others?

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    1. Glad to hear you've found your tribe!

      I mostly run alone. I actually prefer it!

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  5. Love this post.

    I have met so many bloggers through social media (including you !!)

    I have also met runners through FB as well as local running groups and through the skirt sports ambassador program.

    What is awesome is that we met because we all run but many of them are now my true friends because we have other things in common as well.

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    1. For sure, my running friends are my best friends. They get me!

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  6. I know that social media gets a bad rap but I absolutely can never bash it because it connected me with some of the most amazing and genuine women - including you! :)

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  7. Great idea for a post! I met my initial running friends via my running club - very inclusive so I found a load of women and a few chaps to run with, and we have our own chat group to plan regular runs. It would be an odd week I wasn't running with the girls! Cari is funnily enough my "oldest" running friend, but she was a book-swapping friend before she was a running friend, and I only met her in real life last year! Oh, and then these blogs - I feel I could come to various places in America (and Botswana) and have people to hang out with and I managed to meet Renee at the Liverpool Rock n Roll Marathon, which was so lovely (plus a friend in my photo group's sister in law was doing it and we met via Facebook). I met Ben Smith through running with him on one of his 401 marathons with club and he's now a friend, and I met "Usingh Bolt", the Sikh charity runner at one of Ben's talks, having seen him at loads of races but never met him properly. Oh, and I met my friend Jo at Liverpool because she looked amazing, then of course she was local and knew Bari/Usingh.

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    1. I think you should come to Chicago! There's a lot of us here!

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    2. Well, yes, I have a friend who lives there, too (a non-running friend, I mean. I do still have some!) so it's on the list for sure.

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  8. Darlene nominated me - but outside of many of you who I've added on Facebook and who are doing it, my "runner friends" aren't necessarily social media people. I was so happy when my first local running buddy met me post marathon to celebrate.
    Oddly outside of my training group and the linkups, my runner friends came out of other places. Reading (hi, Liz!), work, industry. Makes for a fun variety in conversations. And I love how geographically diverse we are - I feel like outside of even running tours, I could be in a city and "know" someone to run in.

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    1. That geographic divide has been the best benefit of social media! Unless you ask my sister who tells me we can't meet up with any runner friends on our trips, lol. But it happens!

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  9. I have found all of my running friends through work. I had a FB post from 6 years ago pop up the other day of a group of us that ran the Big Sur Half together. I still run with a few of them.
    I have yet to join a running group. I hesitate for all the reasons you mentioned.

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    1. But you have a group, right? I don't often run with friends, but when I do, it's a treat!

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  10. I met runners through a local running group and nine years later, I'm still hanging out with them. I'd say running but you know. I did have a blogger meet up with a runner and she came out so we could run together one Saturday, which was fun. I love how many running bloggers you've met in person. Just a little jealous... ;)

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    1. I'm kinda jealous of your running group and your Blue Baker meetups!

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  11. Yes, runner friends are everywhere! I'm pretty grateful for each and every one of them in my life.

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  12. Well you know that I am all about running with friends. I seriously have no idea what I did for fun and who I did it with before MRTT. Glad you have your run tribe too! I am so very thankful for all of my runner peeps in person and virtual. Thanks for being one of them!

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    1. Back at you, and I wish you lived closer to me so we could actually run together!

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  13. So I went to joggingbuddy.com and put in my zip and got "there are no runners within 5 miles of you!" Yep. That has pretty much been my experience!! It's hard living in the middle of nowhere and meeting runners. In the past I've met ALL my running friends at the gym (my blog ones live too far!) but most of them have either stopped running or moved over the years. It's a lonely runners life for me but I'm ok with it. I still have friends who I meet up with at races but rarely do I get to run with them. Thank God for podcasts!!

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    1. I actually prefer my solo runs--for me it's all about having running friends to commiserate with and go to races with!

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  14. Social media and blogging have been how I've met most of my running friends - and I'm so grateful for that! I usually run alone or with my husband, but it's so great to know other people who do run!

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  15. When I was active in my running club I had so many running friends that I still stay connected with and love to see at local races. Blogging and social media has been huge for me too, though most of my running friends seem to live in places like Chicago or DC. :-)

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    1. There are a lot of bloggers in DC and Chicago, you are right! I feel like there's a very active running community in the South too.

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  16. I met my current BRF at the gym. We always were the only ones excited when we had sprints as part of the work out so I worked up the courage to talk to her and we trained for our first half marathons together. My second BRF I met at a race and the rest is history! My third BRF also runs with a dog so we bonded at races we could take our dogs with us to. Some day I want to come to Chicago and do a beer run or just maybe beer LOL!

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  17. Meeting people through running is how I've met some of my BEST friends. Such a wonderful community! Great tips, girl!

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  18. In my last two races along I 'bumped into' two runners that I know only through mutually following on IG. It's so fun to connect with people! Only one of my personal friends is now starting to get into running. After 40 years of friendship, we've found a way to connect on a whole new level, and we are both loving it!

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    1. I always wished for running friends--as it turns out, I just had to look for them in the right places!

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  19. Blogging and social media have given me the opportunity to connect with some great women - you included!

    I have often thought about checking out a running club, but I admit the intimidation factor is high and I have yet to follow through.

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    1. It's so interesting to learn that I'm not the only one intimidated by the thought of running with a group! I think it's important to find the right fit!

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  20. I also run alone and like it. I don't mind running with a group but I feel like I am holding them back because I run much slower. Thanks to blogging and social media, I have met many wonderful runners.

    Thank you for linking up with us!

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  21. Most people I’ve met online! I did join a local club but outside of running we don’t socialize much. I agree with meeting runners at work too! I coordinated the running club at Starbucks for 4 years and currently organize runners from work for the big home town event in September. Blogging and internet have been the easiest connections though. I think I’d be a very lonely runner without the internet!

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    1. Same! It's interesting about the internet--I've met so many great running friends through the internet, but my family is just aghast when I talk about it.

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