Making running friends

by: Kelly Leighton
May 11, 2016

When I first started running a few years ago, I always ran by myself.

kelly running

Over the past year and a half, I’ve joined a ragtag running group. We don’t have a name or wear matching shirts (on purpose anyway), but we run together pretty much every Saturday and Sunday. I spoke last year how I learned to love group running, and now, I can honestly say I run more with others than by myself. And I think I am a better runner because of it.

But, as I mentioned last time, I was really afraid to start running with others, for a variety of reasons, some totally asinine. And recently, a friend in another city confessed that she wanted to meet others to run with, but didn’t know where to start. I can relate. When you see packs of other runners, it can seem overwhelming. I just assumed I’d always be a solo runner because I was too awkward to make friends. Then, I stopped caring. I want to have running friends. Locally, there are SO many runners. It’s awesome. Make some friends.

Harrisburg Area Road Runners Club (HARRC)

HARRC is such a great resource. They plan weekly runs (every Sunday) that are free to anyone, member or not. There is always a wide variety of paces. I’ve befriended many local runners here just by showing up. I don’t usually run with them outside of HARRC, but it’s always nice to add a friend to wave hello to on the roads. What do you have to lose? If you go once and for whatever reason, totally hate it, then don’t go back.

Local running stores

Both Fleet Feet and Appalachian Running Company offer free group runs. Once again, these are a great way to meet local runners in the community, as well as usually learn about new running products.

Be friendly

There is this guy I see running nearly every single morning I am out. I always waved hello to him, and eventually, he started waving hello back. One day, we were running the same direction at the same speed, so I introduced myself and pretty much made him be my friend. Did he hate my guts? Maybe. But now he always waves back to me! In a similar vein, I met one of my first running friends when he stopped me and asked if we could run together. I said sure. He later told me he stopped me because I always looked really happy to be running. (I usually am.)

Ask around

Tell friends, co-workers, whomever that you’re looking for running friends. I met half of my current running group through my old boss, who kept telling me I “needed to meet them.” Long story short, we clicked, and here we are today.

Races

If you like to do races, this is a great way to meet other runners (obviously). Runners are generally a very friendly group, and you’ll often see the same people frequenting the local race scene. This is also a great way to find someone similar to your pace. I met a girl at a race once, and we ran together a few times before she moved away. Weird? Maybe. But the worst thing in the entire world that can happen is they say “no.”

How do you meet other runners? Are you more of a group runner or a solo member? (I usually do three runs with someone else/a group, and two runs solo a week.)

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