It was the spring of 2017, just months away from training for my fourth full marathon, and I was
reflecting back on my performance from the 2016 Chicago Marathon. 3:38. Just 3-minutes off of my Boston qualifying time. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely proud of that time and training myself down from a 4:10 first marathon to a 3:38, but I knew something was missing in my training.
In high school, I was a part of the cross-country and track and field teams and trained with a group of 12 girls day after day. We knew each other’s goals, supported one another, and pushed each other to reach new levels we never dreamed we could reach. It was this team comradery that I was missing in my training after I left high school that I realized I wanted to start seeking out again to help me in my next marathon training cycle.
I was in the midst of a transition period during the summer of 2017 moving from St. Louis to Chicago, but I prioritized finding a club to join to train for the Chicago Marathon with. I came across the CARA group and was attracted to their summer marathon training program in Schaumburg. I signed up and was contacted by Jimmy, one of the site leaders for Schaumburg, who welcomed me to the group and sent me the group meeting schedule. This gave me something to look forward to during a crazy time in my life coordinating a move, living apart from my husband for a few months, and not knowing many runners in the Chicago area.
I remember showing up to my first group run out on the track and immediately being welcomed by the entire group. I was nervous, showing up to meet a group of people I had never met before, but it was in that moment I realized just how amazing this group and the running community was. We welcome each other with open arms, are accepting of runners of all abilities, and encourage people we’ve never even met before. Just a few months later, BWRC was born and I really felt like I belonged to something bigger than myself and my own running goals. Over the course of the summer, I developed so many friendships and even ended up running the Chicago Marathon with another BWRC member, John Wall! While we didn’t achieve our goal that hot, October day, I finished the race feeling like I had still won because I now had 50+ new friends to share this running journey with.
Being a part of BWRC has reinvigorated the passion for running that I have in a way I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t realize just how much I was missing by not training with a team of others who also shared my passion. I have been overwhelmed with the amount of support I have gotten from this club and how much people care about each other’s goals. For me that has been chasing down my BQ time and having so many BWRC members checking in with me to see how things are going and asking how they can help. Not only do I have running buddies now, but I can firmly say I have made friends for life. I truly hope if you’ve been considering joining a running club that you’ll give BWRC a try, and if you do, please don’t hesitate to say hi! I’d love to hear more about your personal journey through running and have you as part of the BWRC family.