I’m a runner. That statement can apply to many different people for many different reasons. Some people claim the title of runner because it’s something they like to do, others because they enjoy the health benefits and do it despite an utter disdain for the activity, and still a few others because they get paid to do it. For me running has just always been a part of my life. I ran my first 10k when I was 7 years old and I’ve been running ever since. That’s 28 years and counting of running. That makes me someone who has done a lot of running, but why do I call myself a runner? I call myself a runner because I want other people to want to be runners too. I want people to know my love for running. I love being able to talk to people about running and encourage them in their running. I love watching people become better runners and get excited about training for their next big race. My friend Tim has gone from doing his first 5k, to his first 10k, to his first half marathon, to now training for his first marathon all in the course of the past summer. It has been such a joy to see his runs posted and chat back and forth about his training and his goals. Running has to be one of the most social individual sports in existence. If it weren’t for the Mid-Michigan Running Group I would be doing probably the same thing that I’ve done the past several years: sign-up for a few races and train sporadically for a couple weeks leading up to them. The difference is that before joining a running group the only social interactions I got from running were the races and other than that it was actually fairly anti-social. Even sharing my workout data with people who will encourage, coach, or tease me is incredibly motivating. I use Endomondo and Dailymile for sharing my Garmin information with friend and family across 4 different states. For me however the real game changer was having running partners right there beside me, talking to me through the training runs, keeping me from doing too much or too little, and just generally making it fun. Now the races are almost a bit of a let down because those are times I have to run without my training buddies. I look forward to every group run. I get up every morning and think about what running clothes I need to take to work. I plan the end of each workday so that I’ll have time to get ready to run. I get home from running and think about what laundry I need to do be ready for the next day’s running. I am a runner and I love it!