best running friend

Best running friend Susan (left) and best running friend Jodi (right) ran with me on my birthday because that’s what BRFs do!


The best running friend is of course the Best Running Friend (BRF). Can you have more than one? Yes! (Says me.) Which is not to say they’re easy to find—they’re not! The first few runs with a potential running friend are as awkward as first dates: what will she wear, what should I wear? How fast will she run? How far will we go? Running is the shared language that brought you together but beyond that What will we talk about? Then as the miles and years accumulate, it’s more like, what will we NOT talk about? Because as Dimity has pointed out, there’s something about looking straight ahead rather than into each other’s eyes that allows for honest revelation. Or maybe it’s the endocannabinoids or endorphins or whatever it is that running lets loose in your brain that makes you feel more sharp and alive.

And pro runners, they’re just like us! When Kara Goucher was training with Shalane Flanagan before the Olympic marathon in 2012, she said: “We go on a run and talk and talk and talk and talk.” (PS Wasn’t Kara Goucher’s commentary in the Olympics so spot-on! Heart her.)

Your BRF meets you before sunrise on a 20-degree winter morning to run before work. She lets you vent about a tantruming toddler (or teen!) and brag about test scores; lets you celebrate a new job and complain about a crazy boss. Your BRF takes a phone call from you when you get surprise-divorced—when she’s in Hawaii finishing her 50th state marathon!

Then one day (if you’re lucky), you’ll look around and realize ALL your best friends are runners!


The best running friend

The best running friend is ice cream! Daughter Nina (age 16) prefers to run alone. :)



That is, if you can get anyone in your family to run in any way at any time. And they probably will, eventually, because running is contagious. And then it gives you something (safe!) to talk about. Neat trick!

My big sister, Leslie, ran her first 5K in her early 40s a few years after I ran my first marathon, and famously went on to complete 66 marathons and ultras. When we visit with each other, we look forward to catching up with each other on a run. (Maybe you run with your husband? Mine was way too fast for me.)

My teenage swimmer daughter, shut out of the pool during the first months of the pandemic, started running a couple of miles every other day or so—a practice she’s kept up 15 months later. We’re not running together, mind you. (Please. What if someone saw us???) But that she’s running at all? Cue the choir of angels singing hallelujah.

best running friend

The best running friend is ME. And you too! Because every time we run, we show up for ourselves. This time in Santee State Park, SC.


And you, too. Because friends and family aside, ultimately, it’s up to you to get yourself out the door. And ultimately, even in a mega race surrounded by thousands of runners, some of them your BRFs—I’m looking at New York City Marathon, Nov 7—it’s up to you to get the run done.

Many a morning I have lain in bed after the alarm goes off, moaning about the hour and the effort, when I remind myself of that true truism, “You will NEVER regret having gone for the run” (or hike or bike or walk). Whether you’re meeting a friend or a sister or going with a kid or your mother, whether you’re listening to a podcast or the birds chirping or watching your favorite TV show while you run on the treadmill, whatever, every run you do is a minor victory worth a little internal celebration. Good job, me! Good job, you!


How about you? Is your a best running friend a pal or a family member or your own BAMR self?