Thursday, December 3, 2009

Charlotte Running Club

Don't worry, you can read on, this isn't going to be yet another boring post about how my training is going! Regular readers of my blog (all three of them) may have noticed a signficant change in its style and content when I started focussing my posts solely on my training for Thunder Road a few weeks back.

Looking at my last few posts I hadn't realized how 'self absorbed' the blog had become. I mean by its nature a blog is pretty self indulgent, how else can you write about yourself without it coming across like that at times! But for the last few posts I realise I've mentioned nothing apart from my training for Thunder Road! While this may all be very interesting (or not!) the blog content will be changing going forward, so bear with me.

When I first started this blog a couple of years ago (pre Facebook explosion!!) the aim of it was to document the training and passion for running of a very busy father of two and to keep friends and family back in England up to date with how life in the US was treating me. After Thunder Road next week I will try and get back to that style of content.

Having said all that, I wanted to use this post to discuss how a significant development in the Charlotte running scene this year has made such an impact on the running and wider community here- the establishment of 'Charlotte Running Club'

When I came over to Charlotte in 2005 one of the first things I noticed as a runner was the lack of a real running community here. Back in England I had been used to running for a club, racing with them, training with them, drinking beers with them. Here it seemed running was going to have to be a much more individual affair. There was the Sharksbite runners club which did introduce me to some likeminded individuals and I'll always be grateful to Tim Long and the enthusiasm he ran that set up with, but even that was quite a disparate group and with Tim's departure the club seemed to split off into various groups and I lost touch with the 'group running' thing again.

Then earlier this year a guy called Aaron Linz dropped me a line asking me if I wanted to meet up for a run some time. I knew the name, had seen it near the top of local race leaderboards, so jumped at the opportunity to meet up.

Looking back in my running log it was March 29. I jogged down to Mcalpine parking lot, met Aaron, put a face to the name and was also introduced to the third member of our running group for that day, Jay Holder. I'd actually spoken to Jay briefly after a race a couple of weeks before so it was good to see him joining us that morning. During that 'getting to know you better' run we discussed the Charlotte running scene in general and all expressed our frustration that there really wasn't one 'home' for Charlotte runners to go to. Sure, there were different training groups all over the city that would regularly meet up for runs, but nothing pulling all these groups together into a bigger community.

At that point Aaron mentioned his desire to try and put an end to this by creating a Charlotte Running Club, a Club where runners of all abilities could hang out together, train together, share their passion for running together. I went home after a nice run that day wondering how Aaron's ideas and intentions could be put into action. Over the next few weeks I ran a few more times with Aaron and Jay and was also introduced to Caitlin Chrisman who seemed to have an even bigger passion for running than any of us (which is saying something!) and Aaron's grand plan started to take shape.

Under the thrust of these three guys (amongst others), Charlotte Running Club began to take shape. At this point, surprise surprise, up reared another injury and I spent most of the spring and summer laid up (as has been documented elsewhere in this blog!). Meanwhile, through the new medium of the omnipresent Facebook (!) I was following how the running club was taking shape. All sorts of people were coming together to train and race. Sunday runs were being organised with up to 30 people running together, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at the Dowd YMCA would have similar amounts of people getting together for a run, from 6 minute milers to 10 minute milers. Group track workouts started up. I was jealous I couldn't get involved!

Anyway, fast forward to the present and the Club continues to grow exponentially! People of all paces and abilities are meeting up to run together and share their passions. Runners who want to improve their performance are getting guidance from more experienced members of the club; already fast runners are reaping the benefits of training together and pushing each other on to bigger and greater things. Teams are entering verious races, both local and national- there's talk of a team entering the national XC champs next year!

Major kudos needs to go out to Aaron, Jay and Caitlin and everyone else who has helped get this off the ground. The Charlotte running community is a bigger and brighter place because of it. Here is the link to the website. Get involved in any way you can! Charlotte Running Club

This, combined with the impact of a blog and Facebook postings written by a certain Theoden James Theoden's Blog (who's worthy of his own blog posting which I may get round to later!) has created something really positive. Let's hope it continues to grow and grow.....

Anyway, enough about other people! It's 5.30 am, the rain has stopped at last and I'm about to head out for my last 'proper' workout before the big day in 9 days time. You'll hear all about it when I get back from my quick jaunt to England this weekend!


  1. Have fun in England and congrats on helping build a running community!

  2. hey Paul! Thanks for the *GREAT* post! Remember when you, aaron and i started running semi-regularly from my house to do the colville loop? Then you got injured, and then the club started, and our group runs exploded. Now I'm glad you're back in on the action, no longer watching from the sidelines!!

    i also remember in april when aaron told me he would LOVE to start a club but that he just didn't have time or antyhing...then a month later he decided that he could do it and figured out who was on the board!

    PS: I think that aaron has the most passion for running...HA!!

  3. i do remember that Caitlin! especially the incident with the message left by the plant pot!! good times...

  4. "Charlotte Running Club," eh? It's got a nice ring to it. Maybe it will catch on....