Three runners by a lake

Run Farther Together

The importance of finding belonging through a running community

How Running Communities Can Help Create a Sense of Belonging

After competing in several marathons, ultra-trail runner Rebecca Murillo found her running community by discovering a local trail-running group. With others by her side, she was able to test the limits of how far she could push herself.

"I've always liked the challenge of testing the limits of how far, how long, and where I could run," Murillo says. 

Rebecca running with friends

It gave her a whole new perspective on her hometown, and made her feel grateful to be able to run through the varied, challenging terrain of the Bay Area. The benefits of trail running offer a welcomed respite from the stresses of everyday life. By getting out into nature with friends, Murillo began to feel a newfound appreciation for simple pleasures like the sun on her skin or breathing in the fresh air of the forest.

"I have moments where I'll just be totally flowing,” Murllio says. “I don't really have to look down and think about where my feet are going and I'm not afraid of falling. I trust that my feet are doing the right thing and I can look out and see those beautiful views."

How to Find Your Running Community

Sometimes the toughest part of starting a run is lacing up your running shoes. Finding the motivation to crawl out of bed to get your daily miles in can require a pretty monumental effort. But thankfully, you don’t have to tackle it alone. Although there’s nothing wrong with a solo run to clear your head or catch up on our favorite podcast, running can also be a team sport.

The key to running, like any good workout, is consistency. By finding a running community or joining a run club, you’ll build a sense of belonging that will help you stay motivated every step of the way. If you’re a competitive runner, finding someone to train with can help you push yourself further than you ever thought possible.

Humans are hardwired to form connections, and the bonds we make through overcoming obstacles and challenges together have been proven to create some of the strongest friendships. The camaraderie we find on the trail or out pounding the pavement encourages us to keep going, even when we don’t think we can take another step.

But if you want to find other runners and start building a running community or running club of your own, how do you get started? Luckily there are ways to find a running buddy besides jogging next to a stranger in the park. Below are a few tips and resources to help make running a daily part of your social life. 

A group of runners jogging by the water.
Group of runners outside of a local store

Local Running Stores

If you don’t know of any groups or meetups, your local running shop can be a great place to start. Renegade Running in Oakland, California is a shop built around “community, diversity, and creativity” and they’ve built one of the most inclusive spaces in the city. It’s become a destination for people to find everything they need to hit the ground running, from shoes and apparel to information about trail running groups and race events.

CamelBak’s partnership with Renegade Running is how we first met Rebecca Murllio and discovered her community of fellow trail-runners. If you don’t have a running store in your neighborhood, don’t worry, there are still plenty of other opportunities to start building a community of runners in your town.

If you are looking for an outdoor retailer near you that carries running gear, you can locate designated CamelBak® retailers with our online tool here.

The Runners Club of America

If you’re having a hard time finding a group, you can search for ones registered with The Road Runners Club of America. Just choose your state and you’ll find a list of available running clubs to join near you. If there still isn’t one close enough to you, why not start your own? You can start a certified Road Runners Club right here

The Runners Club of America can be a great resource to help connect you with other runners looking to find a community, and their team will be able to help you navigate the process of getting one started.

Run Community Apps

Today, you could be anywhere in the world and still find a community of like-minded runners through run community apps like Strava. Strava connects you with millions of other runners, while helping you track your progress, discover new routes and trails, and is a great way to meet new people.

Want to join a ready-made running community on Strava right out of the gate? You can join the CamelBak® Strava community of runners right here and instantly be part of a 3,000+ strong running club.

Once you’ve joined, you’ll be able to stay up to date on our latest challenges so you can push yourself further and earn exclusive rewards like discounts on your favorite CamelBak® gear.

Join the Club Here

How to Keep Going

Creating a consistent running routine requires a lot of diligence and strength. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make it easier to stick with your running regimen.

  • Drink More Water: Running is one of the fastest ways to become dehydrated, and you’ll likely end up somewhere you won’t be able to refill your water bottle or hydration reservoir. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re fully hydrated with plenty of water in reserve for those last few miles before the home stretch. Don’t forget to check out Scotty Hawker and Sage Canaday’s advice in our previous article. Still not sure how much water you should carry for where you’re headed? Use our hydration calculator to see just how much H20 you need to reach the finish line.
  • Track Your Progress: Apps like Strava are a great way to track your miles and can help you work toward your running goals or stick to your training plan.
  • Do Some Outreach: Once you’ve joined a club or established one of your own, help spread the word about your group so others can join in on the fun. Introduce yourself and be a friendly resource to newer runners or those who are running with a group for the first time. The more welcoming and inviting you’re able to make your group, the more likely it is you’ll always have a running partner by your side. 

Whether you choose to find a sense of belonging through your local running club, run community apps like Strava, or by starting a community of your own, you’ll quickly find that the bonds you form there will make your life richer and your running habit even more consistent — all thanks to the encouragement and support of your fellow runners and friends.