Everyone has a social circle, and some people have more than one. I feel so fortunate to be part of one here in Grand Forks called Red River Runners! My friend Brian introduced me to the organization in July of 2009 when he invited me to my first race, a 5K called the “Ta-Ta Crusade.” A member of the group, Denae Grove, was battling breast cancer so they were holding the race as a fund raiser to help with expenses. I met a lot of great people that day but what really impressed me was how much everyone seemed to care for one another.
I joined Red River Runners the next January as I began training for my first marathon and was quickly accepted by this great group of people. They started out as my running buddies, but as our hours and weeks of running together became months, I realized they had become much more than that; they had become my friends!
I’m one of the older members of Red River Runners and now I’m also becoming one of its longer standing members. We’ve grown in size, but that feeling of caring for each other is stronger than ever. This feeling of camaraderie may be common in running groups, but I suspect that in this particular case it can be attributed to our founder, Stacy Kusler, since that’s the kind of person she is.
My life experiences have taught me that this kind of group is extremely rare so I want to hold onto it as tightly as possible. For me this means doing everything I can to welcome new people into the organization just as I was. I’m especially proud of our Beginner’s Running Group. Through the years, BRG has served as an opportunity to introduce new runners to both our sport and our organization. Any time there is a person just getting started running, I want to be the one to run/walk with them. It’s a wonderful way to meet a new friend, as well as to encourage them along through those difficult first few runs.
Yesterday, Red River Runners had their annual kickoff meeting to begin training for the 2017 Fargo Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K. We get together, welcome new people, talk running, and generally get everyone excited about beginning training, even if it’s in subzero temperatures! This year Stacy wanted to include a few awards, and I was selected for the one recognizing “Service to Red River Runners.”
I told several people after the event that I love Red River Runners and it’s easy serving such a great group of people. A moment later Stacy approached and reminded me: “And you are one of those people Jim!” Thanks Stacy!