At the close of my last season of cross-country, a teammate and friend decided to put a goofy list of awards together for everyone on the team. I was awarded “Least Likely to Run Again.” The title might have offended anyone else, but not me. Although I was committed to the sport and my team, running wasn’t my life in college.
Unlike most of my teammates, I didn’t participate in the track and indoor track seasons. I made a decision early on that I would just run cross-country because that was where my heart was and I wanted to pursue other interests during the off season. I have no regrets about not choosing to run year round in college; I loved my college experience, which also included leading the women’s resource center and spending a semester abroad in East Africa.
Admittedly, I also wasn’t as committed to my training as my teammates. It took me until my junior year to start training in the summer and to start coming to what I must have fabricated as “optional” Sunday long runs. Luckily, I could get in shape quickly back then and kept up with my team once the racing season started. But the truth was I needed my team to stay motivated. I didn’t do well when it came time to train on my own.
My teammate’s prediction was accurate: I needed my team. During the first fall after graduating from college I started to miss running through the trails on crisp autumn days while cracking jokes and sharing stories with my friends.
Over the years I’ve had several running partners or groups of friends that I’ve run with regularly. They have been my motivation and I have found that I don’t run much when I don’t have my friends.
Now I have Run Wild Missoula. Run Wild Missoula means there is someone to run with almost every day of the week at any given time. It’s a community of 1,500 runners and walkers of all ages and abilities with training classes, group runs and people to connect with for an impromptu run.
Although I am the executive director of Run Wild Missoula, I need it as much or more than the other 1,499 members. Without all of you, I probably wouldn’t be training for my first Missoula Half Marathon on July 14. So, thank you Run Wild Missoula. You continue to motivate and inspire me.