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Let's Hear it for Running Togetherness

As a very early morning runner, I run alone most of the time.  No complaints about it, but I hugely appreciate and need some of the rewards of running with others.

Run_together_2 The times we run with others are red-letter days.  Whether we find ourselves in a race, a group run, or just hooked up one-on-one, those runs stand out.  Sometimes a run with others draws out our competitive side, making us faster.  Other times, running together slows us down to give us better recovery.  But I believe it’s dang near impossible to put two or more runners together and not produce some benefit, even if only some out-bragging or out-complaining each other.

Running together makes us better runners. Perhaps the most fascinating movement in elite running is the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project.  Lead by two brothers, Keith and Kevin Hanson, the project provides housing, employment, coaching, and overall support for elite runners.  An article in the August issue of Runner’s World explains how the Hansons refuse to buy into the belief that Kenyan and Ethiopian runners are 1) just more naturally talented or 2) advantaged because they run at altitude. 

Instead, the key factor in the success of the African runners, says Kevin Hanson, is that they run together.  So one guideline the Hansons-Brooks runners follow without compromise is that every day, every member of that running community runs together.  No exceptions.  As a result, the team members of this unique project are achieving more and more consistent, predictable running success, including a spot by Brian Sell on the 2008 U.S. men's olympic marathon team.

Even little kids get it about the fun of running together and they have a word to describe itplaying.

But running at the ordinary runners' level is priceless too.  You’ll want to read Amy’s—from Georgia, not Iowa—last several posts celebrating how much she enjoys meeting new runners.  I admire her initiative to get together with others to run.  She can find the goodness in running with anyone.  Talk about Southern Hospitality!

Livinghistoryracesmall_3 My next chance to run with others comes tomorrow with 7,000 of my closest friends at the Living History Farms Race, a true off road, through-the-fields, down-the-ravines, across-the-creek-cross country race.  I expect to run with hearty runners and zany runners.  And from what I've heard virtually everyone in the race will be a we're-all-in-this-together runner.   Our Amy champions the race all year long and can persuade anybody into running it.  I have all my disposable running clothes ready and my Mr. Bubble to wash off the mud and grime.

And for those who want to enjoy an upcoming run—no matter where you live—check out the virtual race Nancy has organized called 8 on the 8th.  It’s already fun!

There's nothing I enjoy more than making more connections with other runners. So my challenge for the next several months is to run with someone else, actually or virtually, at least one day a week.  Even if they won't join me for an early morning run, I'll join them at their hour on their course.

Running together on Flickr by nataliej 925


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Amen! It makes the miles go by more quickly and are so much more interesting!

SOOOOOO excited by tomorrow! Our first challenge is going to be finding all our friends - 7000 runners -- eeck!


hey there Amy, following up with you and everyone on your offer for help!

the blog is up here:


we are working through the name, and a graphic design... have a look!


I too usually run by myself. I often beg people I know to meet up with me for just a mile or two to 1) make the miles go by faster 2) get them to exercise and enjoy running! Thanks for the great post. Good luck this weekend.

Joe Thorn

Great post Amy. I read that article on the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project when it came out and love what they're doing. I have only ever run alone, but hope to be able to find someone to run with soon.


Running with others can help explain why most race times for runners are faster than anything they try by themselves. Now, if we could all just run together, maybe Americans can start winning marathons!


See you tomorrow! ;)

Steve Carton

During the Marine Corp Marathon, several spectators held up signs saying "Release your inner Kenyan". I found that not only hilarious, but also motivating. But, I would not have gotten to the MC without my running bud.


Tom, you can run with me and Amy sometime if you behave and promise to go turtle speed. :D

Have fun tomorrow. The cross-cornfield, creek bed climbing, hay bale in the way extravaganza hasn't gotten in my blood yet. Have fun and don't hurt yourself.

bill carter

I know the Hansons pretty well and most of their guys live all of 15 minutes from my house. One of their new guys Paul is supposed to see me for an eye exam in the next couple weeks and I hope I don't make an idiot of myself because I'll be so excited. Anyway, they are a great group. I get what you say about the running together thing. I think all of, us no matter how much we hate to admit it, are competitive. I know that when I run with other people one of us is always pushing the pace just a little... whether it is subconscious or not.

I hope the weather gives you a little break at The Living History race. I am sure it will be a lot of fun no matter what and best of luck to you and Amy.


I do love running alone, but there is something to be said about running with others, which is why I just signed up to be a part of the local running club. Not only do I get to run with others who run at my pace, but I get to talk to others about running who don't look back at me like I'm from Mars. :)

Have a wonderful weekend!


Running with others is loads of fun! I rarely did it until I moved to Kentucky, but since then nearly all my runs have been with a group. I miss it these past few months!

Although I will admit my subconscious has a tendency to run people into the ground. Or maybe its just trying to make them better runners? I guess it depends on my mood!

Database Diva

I run alone most of the time, which is one of the reasons I spend so much time hanging out on message boards and blogs. Even if I can't run with people in person, it still allows me to share the experience. I have also had the opportunity to meet and run with some of the people I have met online. One of the reasons I've been so hooked on the Nike+ system is their challenge program which is a virtual competition for speed or distance. I'm looking forward to my 8 miles on the 8th!


Nice post Tom. I need to get over my shyness and join a running club.
Good Luck in your race.

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