It’s not you; it’s me
Since I’m somewhat new the area, I figured that I could meet new folks by joining a running group or two. Actually, the November Project has a summer challenge called Rungo, where you get BINGO by checking out different running groups in the area.
Yesterday, I met up with one of the groups, and the experience was just kind of meh. One question, why don’t these running groups indicate specifically where they are going to meet? The group’s Instagram mentioned that they were meeting at a restaurant, but the post did not specify in the parking lot of the restaurant (technically, the strip mall’s parking lot). After sitting in the restaurant’s bar for about 10 minutes and not noticing anyone in running gear, the bartender told me that the group tends to meet in the back section of the parking lot. Sure enough, as sh*t stinks, that is where the group was located.
Usually, I like at arrive these things a bit early so I can introduce myself to the organizer(s). By the time I found the group, the leader was making announcements and describing the route. Since I did speed work on Tuesday (1-mile intervals), I decided to do a run (0.5 miles) /walk (0.25 miles) combination. My thought process was that I would run but walking would give me a chance to chat with the other runners.
Did that happen? Hell No.
Pretty much after the announcements, everyone took off. I was a bit surprised because folks usually ask if there are any first-timers. Well . . . maybe they did that before the announcements. Before I started the course, only one person introduced himself to me. Also, I think there were two other new folks in the group because they looked like they needed more information about the course.
The run was pretty straightforward, a 1.75 mi loop that you could do as many times as you wanted. After running two loops, I figured that folks would stick around to chat over a libation or two. Ok, some folks stuck around, and I met Mark. By Mark, I meant that I met a Maker’s Mark Manhattan. 😉
How did this happen?
After the run, I kind of hung out in the parking lot for a few minutes. After trying to introduce myself and being somewhat ignored. I figured that more of the runners would be hanging out inside of the restaurant for a post-run beer. Also, I thought if there were other runners at the bar, then these are the folks that 1. will be more chatty and 2. are my kind of people. I was wrong on both counts. After ordering and drinking half of my hurricane, I realized that none of the runners were planning on having a post-run drink, so I ordered dinner and chatted with the bartender before ordering my Manhattan cocktail.
BTW, my crawfish po’ boy was delicious.
Since I’m nosey, I asked the bartender about the group, and she seemed kind of annoyed with the concept. Basically, she was like I do not understand why they meet here if they are not going to buy anything. I was kind of shocked by her comment. I just assumed that if a running/fitness group decides to meet at a restaurant or bar, then it would be assumed that some folks would stick around to support the business. In the running group’s defense, they did meet in the parking lot of the strip mall, not at/inside of the actual restaurant . . . even though the Instagram post said the restaurant was the meet-up spot.
Perhaps, this is a suburban thing.
In NYC, most of the running groups congregate at a restaurant or bar because arrangements had been made for bag drop-off. I guess bag drop-off isn’t needed in the suburbs because you drive everywhere and you can leave your crap in your car.
Who knows, maybe a few members of the group were not feeling me (or the other two new folks) and decided to go to the Chinese restaurant next to the Cajun restaurant.
Perhaps, I am expecting too much from these running groups. Since I’ve experienced similar running group situations in NYC, I guess it’s me (or my personality). Honestly, I do not get the point of meeting up to run and bouncing as soon as the run is over. In my case, I should have saved driving to the restaurant and just ran into my neighborhood.
Since I will not let one less than positive experience dissuade me from meeting local runners, I think that I’ll check out a few more running groups in the area. Well . . . enough to get a BINGO on my Rungo card. However, I think that I’ll email the group’s organizers to get a feel of the group before venturing out. I mean, I’m not trying to drive and “waste” gas on some BS that I could do in the comfort of my neighborhood.
Question(s) for the Day?
-Am I off for thinking that this running group would hang out for nibbles and/or libations after the group run?
-If you are a member of a running group that meets at a business (bar, restaurant, furniture store, crack den, etc.), do folks hang out and support the business after the run?
You definitely have to “shop around” when it comes to running groups, or at least I did. The one I go to now is great. We meet at a brewery and people definitely hang out afterwards. Some drink beer but not everyone drinks alcohol so they’ll just bring their own water bottles and chat with the group. It’s a great group but it took me a while to find my people.
Great point! Approximately, how long did it take or how many groups did you check out before finding your people?
Here’s the funny thing that I found out a couple of days later on IG. I guess the runners pretty much chatted in the parking until about 8:30 pm. One of the clubs on the Rungo card meets at a local microbrewery. I think that will be the next club that I’ll check out.
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I think this was the fourth group I have run with. Some were too big, some were too established and unwelcoming to newcomers, some were too small, etc. Finally, I found this one that’s exactly what I wanted in a running group.
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Awww, kind of like Goldielocks and finding her perfect porriage and bed. Glad that you could find the perfect (or near perfect) group for you.
Same happened to me when I was in Norfolk. I tried a few groups and just didn’t get the welcoming vibe so I stopped trying.
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Care to share which groups, so I can keep my 3rd open? If you do not want to go public, you can DM me privately on IG @swosei12.
Just sent you a message!
York Road Runners Club group runs always meet at a place with beer afterwards and most runners stick around after the run to socialize and drink. Jason and I regularly join their Thirsty Thursday run the last Thursday of the month though last month was too hot to want to drink so we just hung out a bit. The bar is small, pretty much just craft beer and no food other than bags of chips but they always have water pitchers and cups out for us and a nice outdoor area to hang out.
Hm, a bit different here, my club meets in a school car park in winter and the park in summer, we run round then there’s a bit of a chat after and we all go home. But we then have socials every month or so and people do informal runs where they have a coffee after at a coffee shop. Our friends at our sister club have a room in a clubhouse where there’s a cafe/bar and I think they will stop for a drink after. We’re suburban, people either drive/cycle and leave their bag or walk/run to the meetup and just bring themselves!