Earlier today, I was reading an article on Active.com, How New Runners Can Engage With the Running Community. Not that I’m a new runner, or that I need to figure out how to engage with the local running community, but in case there was any useful advice I could pass along to friends of mine who are newer runners, and live in a different town.

This tidbit from the article really resonated with me:

Almost every runner is happy to pay it forward, whether it’s sharing advice, routes or race recommendations. They might even join you for one of your runs.

I think this is so true, and I’ve preached this to my non-local new runner friends. Runners LOVE talking about running, and they LOVE talking to new runners. (Our recent ZOOMA weekend would be testament to that.)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the runners who paid it forward to me:

BFF Ultra Vera: She was the one who got me running in the first place. She had been running for quite a few years by the time she convinced me to start running. I thought she was crazy for awhile, but then somehow she convinced me, and here I am.

Vera & me

My co-worker, Rich: So, funny story. When I started running, Vera suggested I join a running club. By this time, she hadn’t lived in Illinois in years, but she was familiar with “a club in Tinley Park.” I knew the club she was talking about, and I also knew that it was a very fast club, and one of my co-workers (Rich) ran with them. So there was NO WAY this newbie (slow) runner was going to risk embarrassment by being left in their dust. But, eventually, Rich got wind that I had picked up running (I probably told him during a break at a meeting that I was going to do a half marathon), and even though he is so much faster than me, and has probably been running almost my entire lifetime, and he would never wear a sparkle skirt (or the male equivalent), he always asks me about my running and is always willing to answer my questions or give advice. To have a such a fast, serious runner take my running seriously makes me feel like maybe I am a real runner, too. And knowing his fast club is around winning all the awards at local races motivates me to keep doing speedwork so that maybe someday, I can beat their slower runners.

Amanda aka Too Tall Fritz: I met Amanda last November when I finally did find a club more “my speed.” She is Super Woman to me – full-time job, husband  two kids, and she still finds the time (and energy) to train for races and triathlons. Amazing. I feel like as long as Amanda is still getting out there, I have no excuse to slack off on my runs. And I like Amanda because she’s doesn’t BS. She works hard, and she admires other people who work hard. And she is more than willing to give you advice and support, be your cheerleader, and to hang back and run with the slowest person in the group so no one is left behind. Every club needs an Amanda.

Kelly aka Running Kellometers: Everyone also needs a BRF, best running friend. Kelly and I are around similar paces, and for awhile we were in the same age group, and have finished not one but two races within one second of each other. So it could be really easy for us to be competitive. But we’re not. It’s hard to be competitive with Kelly, she is TOO NICE. Seriously. Anyway, I know if Kelly is around, I always have a running partner. Or, even better, a great marathon pacer with a “runner’s general store” strapped to her shorts.

Amanda (left) and Kelly (right)

Who has “paid it forward” and helped your running journey?