The Unexpected Accountability Of Running With A Group Of Women

Running on my own had been hit or miss when I first started running, but put me with a group of people I can run with on a regular basis and I’m there.

When I went through my divorce in 2005, I found myself needing consistency. I enjoyed running, didn’t love it at the time, but I needed to do something to keep my active and get out of the house a bit.

I walked into the YMCA I was a member of and saw Running Group 9am Tuesday and Thursday at the Brentwood Y. I knew running with a group of people would do a couple of things for me.

  1. I would meet a new community of people to engage and get to know.
  2. A group run would give me something to look forward to when I wasn’t traveling.

So I went.

I showed up and walked into a room where I was told everyone met before the run. Upon walking into the room, I noticed I had just walked into a room of about 20 women. Before I could turn around and walk out, because obviously I though I was in the wrong room, a lady shouted out to me “Hey!!! Are you here for the running group?”

“Ummm. Yes?” I replied.

“GREAT!!! What’s your name?? We are just about to head out!” She said.

So I ran… not quite like Forrest… But I WAS RUNNING.

Little did I know, I would run for almost two years with the same group of ladies. Little did I know they would look out for me. Little did I know they would be so encouraging and just the community I needed at the time.

On the very first run, the leader of the group said… “So tell me your story.” And for the next half mile I talked… which I sucked at. Running and talking wasn’t something I did well. So my story was the very short version.

“I just went through a divorce, I like to run, I travel a ton, help kids who live in poverty and I need a group to run with.”

I loved it. These ladies were awesome. All of them where married and most were moms. The reason I was the only guy was all of their husbands were working and since I worked from home and had a flexible schedule…. I was the one guy who ran with them. For whatever reason… I felt safe with them.

I learned a lot those two years but mostly, I learned that friendships grown through a running group where valuable and friendships in running groups held you accountable to running.

These ladies shared a lot of their struggles with each other and I mostly listened… again I sucked at running and talking.

One of my favorites in the group was a lady named Kathie. She was always a great conversation, always had great things to say and was always willing to give great advice. She could fill a whole run with great conversation.

It was here… running with this group of women, that I wanted to be a better, healthier version of me. I had been running… sort of… for a couple of years already and had completed my first half marathon. But it was here that I wanted to do more for my mind and body.

Every time I finished a run, I felt more focused and ready for the day… and encouraged from the conversations we had.

I owe a lot to these ladies. They talked to me about divorce, family, life… and on occasion tried to fix me up on dates, which I never went for.

One day while running with the ladies I decided to join a swimming group, originally to help expand my lung capacity for running which i later found out wasn’t an accurate wish, I want to be able to keep up with their faster paces.

Little did I know that just showing up for group runs was just the accountability I needed. Little did I know I would look so forward to the conversations we had… little did I know that by one day joining that swim group so I could be a faster runner with the girls, that I would eventually complete an Ironman… much less 25 triathlons, a marathon, numerous half marathons, 5k’s and 10k’s.

If it’s accountability you need to get the job done in your running shoes. Then find it. Even if it’s one other friend you can meet with on a consistent basis. My wife met one of her best friends in a running group. Now they walk through life together.

I know some of us think of accountability in terms life struggles, but in terms of finding accountability for goals you are trying to achieve, how do you go about it? Do you have a person or a group that helps you stay accountable to sticking with it?


The views expressed here are those of a personal nature and do not reflect the corporate view of my employer or anyone else who employee my services.