A Blog By UD Athlete Kriste Peoples
There’s no relationship like a running relationship. If I weren’t a runner myself, I’d find it hard to believe the people I hit the trails with so often and rarely see in street clothes or formal wear would become some of my closest friends. Before I started running trails you couldn’t have convinced me that huffing up mountains and trotting through the woods with adventurous women could have changed the way I thought and felt about pretty much everything. But that’s exactly what happened, and no one was more surprised by that than me.
The process of finding community was a lonely one at first. I didn’t know where to go, how to fuel, or the right kind of gear to buy. I had no idea how or where to meet people I’d feel comfortable enough to run with. All I knew when I started was the sport seemed intriguing and I wondered whether it might be a good fit for me. By the looks of it – all these paper-thin, long-limbed elite athletes constantly blasting past me – that answer was a straight-up ‘no.’
It’s a good thing I didn’t go by those looks alone. Eventually I learned to explore my own path and it not only revived my love of running, it inspired me to take up space in ways that create a sense of welcome to others who might be struggling to find their footing in the outdoors like I was.
What I’ve come to learn about community–and creating it, specifically–is that we get what we put into it. Just like running itself: our output is directly related to the inputs. I’m glad to have a solid group of running friends who have carried me across all kinds of terrain over the years. Together we celebrate each other’s successes, grieve our losses, and make sense of the world in whatever ways we can. I can’t tell you how often our laughter and tears have poured out across Colorado’s front range trails. Who knows how many hard conversations we’ve had on the run, how many relationship issues we’ve puzzled through, how often we’ve talked about food, sex, and occasionally, politics. Let’s not forget the bliss of running in companionable silence when there’s nothing that needs to be said. That’s what makes community. Sure, there’s running, but just so we’re clear, it’s less about speed and competition and so much more about going the distance. Together.