I (Amanda) have written before about my difficult transition from Maryland to Colorado. Letting go of my long, deep community was unexpectedly hard, and it’s only been the last few months where I’ve started to pull through a bit. One of the biggest and most important elements of that community I left behind was my amazing running tribe.
I found these ladies about 15 years ago. I showed up one Saturday morning to the local running club’s weekly “bagel run,” just to see what it was all about. I fell into step and conversation with a few ladies and by the end of 10 miles, we were exchanging phone numbers. It turned out they met a couple of times every week for speedwork or runs from a local bakery, and they invited me in.
The following Tuesday, I joined them for laps around the track and we never looked back. We were compatible not only in pace, but in lifestyle, too. We socialized outside of our runs, began taking trips together to races, and like any tribe, lifted each other up through the good times and the bad.
Over the years we’ve shared laughter, tears, births, deaths, divorces and more. This special group of ladies is much more than a running group—we have forged deep, lasting friendships.
In my months away from Maryland, they’ve been there, too. They’ve called, texted, and visited, some of them more than once. When I’m back in Maryland on one of my frequent weekends, we always get together for a few runs, some coffee and/or some wine.
Landing in Colorado, I’ve found it tough to recreate a running tribe. I do have my incredible boyfriend, with whom I continue to share miles a couple of times each week. I love and treasure that, but I’d also love to have a tribe like back home.
I’ve found a few friends, here or there, but no regular, informal groups like my Maryland crew. I’ve logged more than my share of solo miles out here, too, and while I’ve always included runs by myself, I sorely miss the special camaraderie I shared in Maryland.
Knowing how important running is to me, and how important having a social life is, I have been making more effort of late to forge new running friendships. Slowly but surely I’m finding that most weeks, I can find a friend to share some miles.
Here’s what I’ve found helped me wrangle up new running companions:
- Find the beer runs! In Colorado, at least, there are plenty of group runs set up from breweries, often on a weekly basis. These are a great way to join other local runners, getting to know them both on the roads/trails, and after over a craft beer. If not a beer run, there are other social runs to be had if you dig around.
- Check out Facebook. Truth be told, I’m not a Facebook fan, but I will admit it’s a good way to find local clubs and runs. I belong to a couple of different ones here in different locales. An easy search will turn these groups up and you can see who is posting both formal and informal runs.
- Have a look at the local running stores. I don’t mean stalk the customers for seemingly similar runners, but do go to the store websites and see if they sponsor any regular runs. Most do, and it’s another opportunity to meet new faces.
I’ve made peace with the fact that I’ll never replace my OG running tribe. Nor do I want to. They’re always going to be my BRFs and I’ll always get to run with them when visiting. But I can build on that foundation, and add to my circles. All in all, that makes me a lucky runner.