Everyone has their own reasons for why they run, and that’s because there are a lot of reasons to do it. I (Jennifer) am a native Memphian, and over the past two and a half years, I have fallen in love with my city.
|My fiancé, Brandon, loves Memphis too.|
When I was introduced to the running community of Memphis, I not only began to broaden and build my sense of community here, but I also got to learn a lot of the ins and outs (literally) of what seemed like an entirely new place. Finding back roads, exploring park trails, sharing the Greenline, appreciating bike lanes, noticing street art, and knowing the best gas station for a rest stop are not the things typically included in the Memphis handbook that all residents are required to read and recite. But now, thanks to running the 901, I can have a pretty animated conversation with anyone about anything from sidewalks to snot-rockets, which is not something I thought I’d ever be able to brag about.
Running has helped me be a better Memphian. It provides me with yet another way to build a relationship, especially with people new to the area. Not only are people who are new to the area interested in where things are, but also if they’re up for a run, I can show them! Make a run through Cooper-Young to Overton Park, show off the best places to grab a local Ghost River. Take a turn on Union Ave. and race past Breakaway. Keep going and you’re bound to pass one of Memphis’ best-kept Italian secrets, Little Italy. And that’s just the beginning!
Just within the last month or so, I met a fairly new 901girl who came from North Carolina to finish her pharmacy residency here. We both were awkwardly running sans partner at a Thursday night Breakaway run, but we were keeping a similar pace and struck up conversation. What else is one to do on a night group run? One run together has led to another, and another, and through this process, we’ve shared new routes and new PRs. I didn’t realize how much running with her mattered until just this week when I finished the last 7 mile leg of her 19 mile run to be a bit of encouragement. When we finished, she genuinely said, “I couldn’t have done it without you.” I understand that feeling well. My running partner Janell has heard that from me countless times. But to have my turn being someone’s tour guide gives me even more motivation to know and support where I live, to be proud of it and to share it.
If someone is willing to run with you, you already have that in common. That’s one less awkward moment you’ll have on the road or trails. Give it shot. You can always run away if it’s not working out.