Join the Club

Like I was Sayin...

Once the clocks move forward, excuses hold less water. Before, when driving to and from work under the cover of darkness, it was a lot easier to explain away why you’re not running, or biking, or whatever it is you do to prepare for summer – a season that requires some endurance to keep pace with.

Those days are now over. The temperatures are rising as the sun hangs around a little longer. Muscles little used for anything more than balancing on skis and snowboards are awakened. Rudely. And getting back into the routine is sporadic at best.

I’m lucky in that I work in a relatively active office. My colleagues ride bikes and scale mountains and, especially, run. One has previously completed several ultra marathons and another ran for the University of Montana cross country team.

As the weather warms, there’s the inevitable guilt. These coworkers bring their gym bags to the office, but I forget mine. There must be a better way to exercise than the constant fits and starts of exercising during the early part of the season. And after tossing around the idea for several months, those same coworkers banded together and came up with an idea. They launched a running club.

Before its website was built, we began plodding along the streets of Kalispell, through snow, mud and several large puddles. Often it was just a handful of us from the office, but slowly and steadily it began to grow. Last week, there were more than a dozen of us of varying abilities running along Woodland Avenue.

True to my traditional early-season form, I was forced to walk – twice. The faster runners grouped together, the novice joggers joined another group and there was even a young woman who acknowledged that she has rarely run at all. But there she was completing a 3-mile route on a picture perfect March evening.

This time of year everything hurts a little more. The body doesn’t react like it did just six months ago. That’s why running in the group is so fun. Most everyone (except those athletes who stay in phenomenal shape all winter) feels equal pain of creaky joints and sore legs. And it’s easier to fight through a difficult run when your grimace matches that of the man or woman running next to you.

When we launched this club, I joked that it would give readers an opportunity to bend our staff’s ears about various story ideas. But in its infancy, it’s really just allowed many of us to meet many of you. And we chat along the routes until we run out of breath.

Check out our website, flatheadbeaconrunningclub.com, for up-to-date information, but the basics are this: You join, get a shirt and headband and discounts on several local races. If you sign up this month, you get a half-off discount on the upcoming Spartan Race, which, as those who participated last year already know, is a blast. We also plan on throwing a year-end party for those who join the club.

I’m still in early-season form, but I’m hoping the group runs help me shake off the rust a little earlier. But more importantly, I hope it provides an opportunity for us to meet more of our readers. And that, in a way, is what community is all about. Whatever the circumstance, perhaps the best part of life is meeting new people.

So this is an invitation to you. If you run, or plod, at least poke around our website or Facebook page and consider joining us on an evening jog and you can bend our ears over all sorts of topics. And with any luck, we’ll get in a little better shape, too.