Running relationships: Consider widening your social circle

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, September 1, 2018

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On the last weekend of August 2003, I made the early Sunday morning trek from my apartment near the University of North Texas to a parking lot near the Physical Education Building to meet a group of strangers to run.

I had come up with the crazy notion of running a marathon and was introduced to Alan Davis at a 5-mile race the week before. Davis told me about the training group, and I figured if I was really going to follow through with this plan, putting in the miles would be more fun with others.

Richard Greene

When I survived the first nine-mile run, bloody nipples and all, I decided to show up the next week and the one after that. By the time December arrived and the marathon, I felt like a full-fledged member of the North Texas Roadrunners.

Thousands of miles, hundreds of muscle cramps and a million laughs later, I celebrated my 15th year with this running family last Sunday. While some may refer to it as a running group, it’s truly more of a family. We celebrated victories together and commiserated when we fell short of our goals. When someone’s fallen, which I probably lead the group in spills, we’ve been there to pick each other up.

Along with putting in mileage, we’ve provided group therapy for each other, offering peer guidance and support through life’s tricky obstacle course. We’ve been through breakups, divorces, moves, job changes, injuries, illnesses and even the loss of spouses, knowing we always had a shoulder to lean on.

The social outlet has now outpaced the need for training, mainly as I’ve gotten wider, slower and older. The latter may add to my appreciation for every Sunday on the road with my closest friends. Over the past couple of years, articles and studies have pointed out the decline of members in many social clubs, fraternal organizations and civic groups. The common consensus is people are tending to retreat to their homes, choosing to socialize over the internet and social media, instead of venturing out of their bubble.

I know as we get older, it’s easy to get settled in and not seek new friendships. I think that plays a part in why we have so much trouble these days considering the circumstances of others and their point of views.

I urge everyone to take a chance; get outside your comfort zone and join others with a similar interest, whether it may be through arts, athletics or donating your time to help a charity. It will add to your life with friendships, memories and lessons of compassion, which we all need.

Richard Greene is editor of the Wise County Messenger.

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