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The Shirt Off Your Back…

Mebcover Don’t worry.  It’s just an expression.  I’m not going to take off mine.  But to compensate for that bait-and-switch tactic, to the right is some reward to the ladies.

But this expression is what I continue to understand about Blogging Running Friends—BRFs—they'd give you the shirt of their backs.

Ever try to describe to the greatness of BRFs to non-blogging running friends? 

I get blank stares and silence when I go there.  Others wonder just who are these runners I’m meeting and talking with in the blogosphere?  And why?   How do I explain an interest,  a fondness,  and even a concern for a growing network of people from all over the map who also happen to blog and run? 

Meeting new BRFs means a whole new community to come home to and get caught up with about running and life.  I admit to hurrying through, okay, even procrastinating a few chores around the house some nights, in order to settle in and get re-connected with BRFs.  When I’m away for a few days or longer, it feels like there’s some serious back reading to do to fully get up to speed with my BRFs.  It’s also funny how complete strangers will apologize to their readers when they’ve been away from posting for a bitsort of like admitting missing curfew.

So why?  What reason could people possibly have to acquire a sense of friendship and community with others—many whose names we don’t know and most whom we wouldn’t even recognize if we ran past them in our neighborhood?

It’s easy—we’re all runners.  We’re a melting pot of different speeds, endurance, ages, genders, ambitions, and fun!   New and slow and uncertain runners are talking with veteran, sub-elite, and accomplished runners.  In what other sport and medium does that happen?

We’re an expressive community of BRFs who take the time to read, comment, understand, challenge, and support each other.  We’re a big-hearted network that is mega plugged in to each others’ goals, training, injuries, and everyday challenges. Talk about a close-knit group!

  • A post from this summer described a BRF who drove 30 min across town at 4:30 a.m. each morning for a week to fill in as running partner for her BRF's friend (BRF was on vacation) who was a stranger and who needed the support of another runner.
  • Another example, and I’ll be intentionally be vague here.  A BRF was discovered on his/her bog by a person from his/her past and fed up with the annoying contact from that person.   So this BRF e-mails us explaining the matter and then directs us to the new site created so we can stay connected. What a powerful example.

I believe universally in the good nature of runners, particularly in their willingness to casually help others—a tip here, sort out an injury puzzle, occasionally train together to bring out better performance. 

However, there is an even deeper stream of support running through BRFs.  Our blog sites have no boundaries and our posts are packed with words of encouragement, understanding, empathy, friendliness, and of course smart-ass fun.  We open our human lives to others and reveal a glimpse of what's going on.  I believe if ever there was a crisis for a BRF, our connectedness would rally many of us to unite and come to the aid of other BRFs in a time of serious need. 

Amy and I discuss our BRFs daily, updating each other on what others are saying and doing in their running and non-running lives.  I also hope runners new to blogging are finding the BRF  community as friendly and welcoming as Amy and I have found.  You'll find many BRFs will give you the shirt of their backs.

BRFs are a force!

Photo of Meb from cover of Runner's World

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Comments

Danielle in Iowa

And then it's always fun to explain to a roommate/friend/family member that you know someone from the internet! Even when you qualify it with "because we have running blogs!" it still sounds funny :-)

Jamie

My non-running friends will never understand! They always give me this "are you serious" look right now when I start talking about the BRFs. I thoroughly believe if I had not started blogging and found a great community I would not have the courage and committment to continue with the training in an attempt to finish the 2nd go around so close to the 1s.

Linda

Great post! I'm sure I'd have quit running a long time ago if it wasn't for the running blog family. The first thing I do every morning is check my bloglines to see how everybody is doing and what they're up to.

Lisa

I felt as if you and Amy were with me there today on the race course.

I'll be posting the pics with the banners very soon!!

Thanks again! :)

Margo

Tom
You are absolutely correct! And on that note, I would love it if you made the trip to run in Houston's Half or Full Marathon on January 13! Love to meet up with you and introduce you to other Houston Bloggers.

Database Diva

My dear BRFs, it is true that I will gladly give you the shirt off my back, with the following caveats:

1. When I take it off people will probably start yelling "put that back on!"

2. It probably smells like a 6 mile run.

With that in mind I have a lot of shirts, so you can request a clean one from the drawer, instead ;)

Speaking of "the shirt off your back", Mr Diva very literally pulled off his shirt and used it to tie a paper towel to my knee after a bad fall in Oklahoma. My hero!

Tom, where can I send those pine needles? We have plenty to spare!

pat monahan

good post. you know your BRF's are important when you pick an out of town race ove another because you have a BRF in that town.

Toher

Tom,
This post is great. In fact, I'd just been thinking about the subject, but wasn't familiar with the term BRF. I agree with everyone that's already said it's a foreign phenomenon to a lot of people.

I love your site! And yes, if you decide to run Olathe, give me a shout. I'll probably do the half. I also want to do the Living History Farms run, but probably going to have to be '08.

Topher

That's ToPher, not Toher. My bad.

Matt

Great post! I couldn't agree more, but how about a switch to Running Blog Friends (RBF)? Or perhaps BRF is appropriate for that post-race exhaustion while holding a bucket? :)

Air Max 95

This sounds like one fun race. Can't wait to check out the pictures. Good luck Amy and Tom!

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