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Sometimes runners either do not understand or else lose sight of what they are trying to achieve in running. If you get down to tin tacks of what people want when they participate in a sport, it is to do something that is going to make them feel better about themselves and to feel happier.

Runners have variaous mechnaisims in mind seeking their holy grail of increased happines. On the physical side, it can be losing weight, improving appearance, improving fitness to run faster or peform better in another sport.
On the psycological side, it can be a mental break from work or school, to be interacting with different people, to get a buzz out of interacting with the inviroment, or the personal satisfaction of a hard workout or PB.

I have now been involved in running since the late 1960's and have observed a high turnover in the sport but have also been fortunate enough to know people who have become involved and stuck with it for many years.
If there is a single common denominator for the latter group, I would say it is the lasting friendships they have found in the sport, not the PB's or the medals or other prizes. The friendships were fostered by shared traning, shared trips away and shared racing experiences and social interaction.

For former group, who don't last long, the two most common denominators are injuries and not taking an approach which fosters friendships.

From a personal view as a runner, the greatest satisfaction I have recieved over the years is the friendships I have made.
As a coach, something that has given me tremendous satisfaction has been seeing so many of the runners I have coached turn into best mates with other runners in the group. As a race official at a recent race held locally, I was asked by a runner who I was trying to get to join a club what would all of the benefits be.

How do you explain in a couple of minutes the value of friendships and personal growth from those friendships?

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that is oh so true. This fall was my first year doing XC, and I've made some better friends in one season than I have in my entire high school career so far. I think runners can just connect with each other very easily, and they get along so well too. There's something weird about runners. whatever it may be, I like it.
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I to have made some great friends inside the pack of guys I run with at work. We all use our training runs as a way to unwind. We also use each other to push us to our best.

Running is a solo sport that is done best in a group. Having someone to run with even in silence can make the time go quicker. It is always better knowing that someone else is crazy enough to be out in the cold or the rain or the wind and run with you.

Enjoy the friends you make and enjoy the miles you pass together.
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i agree that running is a great common ground between friends. don't see how you could possibly explain what you've gotten, how you've grown, the path your life has literally taken due to your running in just a few minutes. benefits=endless. how about --- try it, you'll like it. or even better -- just do it :|
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Amen, brother! The friendships I've made through getting involved with running far outweigh any of the injuries or other difficulties there have been doing it. I enjoy my alone time, I truly do, but there are other times when the camraderie of a run with a good friend, or just a visit with someone I've gained as a friend through here or my other running sites/clubs, is just priceless.

What a great thread to start the New Year! Thanks and Happy New Year to you, Phar!!!!!!
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This is quite a true statement...I enjoyed the friendships made during high school XC and I still keep in contact with a few former teammates 4 years from HS graduation. In college, I joined the school's triathlon club and participated in the weekly group interval workouts, making many friends in the process..running with a group/club really helps you to get to know and socialize with other like-minded individuals and makes you want to continue with the sport longer.
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