When I tell people I love running, I’m often met with a fair amount of skepticism. “You actually like running?!” What some people might not know is that running isn’t just about pounding pavement; it’s also about friendship, challenge, and sometimes beer. I started Baxter Run Club because I wanted others to feel empowered by running and strengthened by community: two things I didn’t experience until a few years ago. Now, I can honestly say I love running. But the truth is, I used to hate it.
I started running casually in high school and it was miserable. My legs cramped, I felt slow, I couldn’t breathe, then came the splitting side stitch and I had to stop and walk. The thought of running a 5k without stopping seemed impossible. But for some reason, I kept at it when I left for college. Maybe it was because I enjoyed time spent outdoors, or maybe because I hated being defeated by a sport that seemed so simple.
By my second year in college, I nearly gave up running. I bought myself a bike and declared myself a cyclist. I adored that bike and rode it every chance I had. I loved the sense of freedom it gave me, and I loved the physical challenge. I also loved the community that cycling provided. I rode to brunch with friends, I rode with my school’s cycling team, and I rode with my triathlete dad who was thrilled that I finally shared one of his hobbies. Why couldn’t I find this joy while running?
A few years later, I met a dear friend while I was living out west. She and I quickly became running buddies and friends. We would set out before sunrise with our headlamps and run on the trails every week. We took breaks and chatted, we were rarely fast, and it felt amazing. One day we decided to run 10 miles around a ski mountain in the snow. I had never run that far before and I was trying to play it cool. We ended up walking the steep parts in knee deep snow, we stopped to take pictures of the cows that blocked the trail, and we laughed at the absurdity of the situation. I was hooked. Running finally became fun and it was because I had a friend who supported me and challenged me and was always down for a snack break when I got tired.
Since then, my running has come a long way, and my community has grown significantly. I ran my first marathon and trained every step of the way with a friend. I found people who will wake up long before sunrise to run at 6 AM with me all winter long. Through these cumulative hours on the road and trail, these running buddies have become some of my closest friends and I am so grateful they are in my life.
My goal for Baxter Run Club is to introduce a supportive running community in Lewiston. I want to create a space where meaningful friendships can form over a few miles and some beer. I also want our runners to have a place to talk about their goals, get inspiration from others, or just go out for a run on a rainy day. I truly believe that being part of a community can completely change your perspective of this sport regardless of where you are on your running journey. Running means something different to everyone but we can all use a little extra support and motivation sometimes. Running doesn’t always have to be about chasing new PR’s or training for that next race. Sometimes it’s about showing up on a Monday to run a few miles and talk about your week over a beer and a soft pretzel.
Lab Tech & Leader of Baxter Pub Run Club
Looking to find out more about our Pub Run Club? Check out the details on our events page and be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for the most up to date information about our Run Club, day-of routes, and more!