One of my favorite motivational running pictures that I’ve seen floating around the internet contains the quote:
” ‘You are crazy.’ (A runner’s favorite compliment.)” ‘
(you can view it HERE)
I laugh because it’s kind of true. I mean, what other group of people get excited over the idea of running 13, 26, 50, or even 100 miles…for fun? What kind of people geek out over a new model of running shoe, because it has updated colors, or a different material shoe lace? We runners are a unique bunch, and we relate best to others who understand our special type of “crazy”.
Now, running is inherently an individual sport. You…and your legs, and your lungs…do all of the work. YOU determine how quickly or slowly you get to the finish line or the end of your training run. But the individuality of the sport doesn’t stop us from forming teams, groups, and clubs to share our crazy…err… joy of running with. And the crazy runner bonding doesn’t stop at simply local group runs, either.
Here are 5 running clubs where runners go over and above simply sharing their love of running.
How running crazy are you? Crazy enough to run two marathons within 16 days? If so, you can join the ranks of nearly 12,000 other runners who declare themselves “Marathon Maniacs“. But the challenge doesn’t stop there…there are nine different ranks to achieve within the club itself. The ultimate title is the “Titanium Level”, which can be earned by running either 52 Marathons or more within 365 days, 30 Marathons in 30 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) within 365 days or, running a marathon in 20 Countries within 365 days.
Marathons not your thing? That’s OK! The Marathon Maniac founders created the “Half Fanatics“, a club with almost identical criteria, except requires finishing half marathons (13.1 miles) instead of full marathons (26.2 miles).
50 States Marathon Club
Like to travel? Well if you decide to include a marathon on each of your vacations, you just might qualify for the 50 States Marathon Club. The goal is to run a full marathon in each of the 50 states, and nearly 4,000 people already have. Unlike the Marathon Maniacs, there is no time limit in which you must achieve this impressive task. And don’t worry, they let you join in on the fun as an official member after only 10 states have been completed.
Hash House Harriers
Don’t want any rules or criteria? Enjoy beer and shenanigans? Then join the Hash House Harriers, a self-proclaimed “drinking club with a running problem”. An international, yet underground, running club that is rich in history, the Hash House Harriers have more than 1700 groups, with at least one Hash in virtually every major city in the world meeting on a weekly or regular basis. The goals of hashing are to promote physical fitness, to get rid of weekend hangovers, to acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer, and to persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel. At a Hash, a “hare” will lay a trail, typically with flour, and the pack, or “hounds” will follow in pursuit. The goal of the hare is to completely confuse and delay the pack by laying false clues and directions to avoid getting caught.
Do your running shoes take you off road? Is your sense of wanderlust strong? Do you set out on each run looking for an adventure, instead of just a few miles to log? Then you might be a Dirtbag Runner. By their own definition, “Dirtbag Runners is a community of trail and ultrarunners exploring the world and sharing their stories.” This group represents a growing number of adventurers who aren’t afraid of getting dirty and pursuing their dreams. While it may seem like an insult to some, these runners are proud of their “dirtbag” title.
November Project is a free fitness movement that was born in Boston as a way to stay in shape during cold New England months. The movement quickly spread, and the November Project can now be found in multiple cities in across four time zones in North America. November Project serves as a simple sense of accountability to motivate and encourage people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels to get out of their beds and get moving. While not 100% running specific, there is a lot of running incorporated into the workouts, along with much-needed cross training (burpees, anyone?)
All of the groups listed above are located all over the country, and all can be accessed digitally. So even if you don’t have a local chapter near you, you can connect with like-minded runners via internet chats and Facebook groups. The support from fellow runners can be exactly what you need to help motivate you to reach a race goal, encourage you get out the door and train…or simply share excitement with over the next release of your favorite, updated running sneakers.