The first night I joined Harlem Run I finally figured out who those crazy, cheering, hugging, picture-taking people were. Before officially joining them, I passed them on my way home many Monday nights. I constantly wondered: Was it a church group? Was it a weekly block party? And most of all.. Why were they so happy?
What I found when I finally joined in on the fun was a supportive group of runners completely open and supportive to newcomers, including people who have never run at all before. The first night that I attended was also the first night of the run/walk pace group. It was meant to be. As an avid walker, I had planned to join the walking group that night, but the run/walk group appealed to me. It would give me a chance to push myself and stick my toe into the running world. Looking back, I am so glad I made that decision that night.
As I near the end of my training for the NYC Half Marathon, I couldn’t be more grateful that the run/walk group exists. It provides the opportunity to ease into running. If I didn't have "easing" into running as an option, I may have never even given it a shot.
Our pace leader - shout out to Lisa - is flexible, creative, and always fun to be around. Her style is all about meeting you where you're at, but pushing you when she knows you have more to give. Even as my endurance has increased, the run/walk group is a great place to get stronger and work on my speed. As a beginner runner, I am more of a trotter, so it would be difficult for me to join any other running group. The run/walk group provides me with a social outlet and support group that I otherwise wouldn’t have.
Even when I venture into the speed work on Thursday nights, there are always folks from the Harlem Run team that are there to provide guidance and encouragement. If you are looking for a beginner runner home, join us. You’ll be happy you did.