From fun socks to the social-fitness app Strava, Bowdoin’s running club is finding ways to engage their members when running together in person is not possible.
“I really think our biggest limitation [this year] is just not being able to run together,” co-club leader Reed Warburton ’23 said in a Zoom interview with the Orient.
Echoing this sentiment, co-club leader Stephanie Dailey ’23 noted that, in past years, the group relied on running together to create community.
“When you run with people, you just get to know them so well in a way that you may not otherwise,” Dailey said in a Zoom interview with the Orient.
Despite these physical limitations, Dailey and Warburton are focused on making sure all the members are still able to find joy in the sport they love through fun activities.
“This week, we’re all going to wear our favorite pair of fun socks [while we run],” Dailey said. “That can help you get motivated to get out there and run, and post a picture of it in [our group chat].”
While varsity teams may have to make greater adjustments to get through the pandemic without the usual volume of resources of Bowdoin’s athletic department, the Running Club is having no issues. As Dailey explained, in pre-COVID-19 times, the running club barely used the athletic facilities, anyway.
“When we were on campus, we just met up,” Dailey said. “[We] had more freedom to pick and choose when [we] wanted to go, and how often. I guess there is still that freedom but in a different sense now.”
Despite the club’s leaders and other upperclassmen members not being on campus, the group is still finding ways to introduce first years to Bowdoin’s low-stress club running culture.
“We mapped out a couple of our favorite routes in the area to send out to first years,” Dailey said. “This way they can see parts of Bowdoin that otherwise they wouldn’t see. Hopefully, they’ve gotten to check those spots out.”
In terms of club-wide goals, the Running Club has always placed an emphasis on having fun.
“We are definitely a fun-based, all-levels club,” Dailey said. “One of my friends [in the club] is a marathon runner, so he’s been cranking out miles. But we also have people that have never really run before, which is awesome too.”
Dailey is also making sure that on-campus students who want to run are not limited by their previous running experience. The overall inclusive attitude within the club is something that the club’s leaders strive to preserve whenever they can.
“Even when we were sending out run routes [at Bowdoin], we tried to use mostly the out-and-back style, so people would have the option to go the six miles total,” Dailey said. “But if they wanted, they could go out half-a-mile and come back.”
Adding to the overarching goal of enjoyment, the club is now placing emphasis on more individualized objectives.
“I would honestly say that goals are a bigger thing now because we can’t run as a team. So it’s important to set personal goals,” Warburton said. “We’re going to do something where everyone adds up all their mileage for a week to see the full mileage of the club at the end.”
Though the club is trying to retain its tight-knit community this semester, leaders reminisce about prior, in-person running experiences.
“[On campus,] we just meet up, and it seemed so simple,” Dailey said. “But it was so powerful.”