adjective so·cial \ˈsō-shəl\
: relating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to each other or doing enjoyable things with each other
: liking to be with and talk to people : happy to be with people
: of or relating to people or society in general
I admit it, before I became a runner this is a word that I never would have equated to running. I mean, seriously, how can you be social when your trying to figure out how to breath? Then I became a runner and realized that although an individual sport, it is also a very social one too. Runners love to talk about races they have run, what they are training for, how their training is going, what is the best running gear, and a whole host of other things too. Running can be very social if one chooses for it be. For me, I like the social aspect of it as much as the actual running. Some days I may even like that part a little more:)
I do believe that Social Media is playing a big part in making running more of a social sport than it used to be. I’m sure in the 70’s running was a solitary thing. Yes, I’m sure there were regular running clubs, groups, and events; but just not on the same level we have today. If you wanted to be part of a group, you had to actively seek one out. Not so much now. Google or go on Facebook and look up local running groups and I’m sure that you will get a whole array of groups. Go to your local running store and they have fliers and information right next to their register. I think this is another reason the sport of running is growing and I think a solitary runner is only alone by choice:)
Statistics don’t lie (usually:)
In this case they don’t.
I also know that in my case the social aspect of it is what turned this non runner into a runner. (still feel strange calling myself that even now, but that’s a different story). Most of you know that when I was training for my first Tri, a friend added me to the local chapter of MRTT (Mom’s Run This Town). That was the beginning of it all. I got to see this local group of committed running Mama’s, learn from them, run with them and be inspired by them. Before I knew it, I was part of a Running Group. I, honestly, know that if not for my local MRTT group; I would not be the runner that I am today. There were many days that I probably wouldn’t have gone running but because I was meeting someone or joining in on a group run, I went. You run with someone long enough, you get to know them pretty well. Your run not only becomes your run but a social event. On rare occasions it may even end up followed by drinks.
Then there is the social aspect of being part of online communities where you may never actually meet the person, but it is still a community. These are places where you can brag about your PR, ask a question regarding your training, and anything else that you need to get off your chest. There is no less support in these communities that the local one as most of them understand where you are coming from regarding your running. These groups are equally inspiring in a different way. Some people even choose to be part of these groups in a “stalker” way but it still lets them know they are not in it alone.
When I was at the Scottish 10K this past weekend, I went over to High Five a total stranger only because he was wearing the t-shirt of one of my online running groups – Runners United NYC. I’ve never run with any of them because I don’t live in the city. I’ve never attended any of their many functions, but I still enjoy being part of their group. They are fun and committed runners whose group I do also enjoy being part of. Now the man I went to High Five had no clue who I was, but greeted me with a smile and a high five because that’s what runners do.
Both the online and local groups make running more fun. They make running more social. They understand when someone complains about not being able to run due to injury where our non running friends just don’t get it. These are the people who understand why we push ourselves to run, who understand why running a marathon or any other race isn’t crazy, and who will be there to offer words of encouragement or a pat on the back when needed.
Running is Social even on a solitary run. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
We are all on the same team.
It’s an elite team too no matter what the distance or pace.
How many running groups do you belong to or follow online?