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The Club Dilemma

Recently, my local running club held a meeting to discuss the future direction of the club. The meeting was hosted by the founder of the club who was acutely aware the club had naturally evolved over the past four years. It was time to re-evaluate the purpose of the club.

I didn’t attend, but sent an email expressing my view. I joined the local running club to find like-minded people who I could train with, race with, and keep me motivated. Over the last few years, I have made great friends, learned a ton about training, and enjoyed the comraderie that only runners share. Over the course of time, the club also developed a logo, a web site, newsletter, club gear, and kept a record of Grand Prix points so club members could compete on a level playing field.

Then the club decided to take on the organizing of a local race, then another, and this year was considering launching another local race. We have raised money for charitable causes, given scholarships to local high school students, and generally given back to the community. The trouble is, that’s not why I joined the club. I really just want to train and race. Philanthropy is important to me, but I prefer not to mix it with my training and racing.

So we find ourselves at a crossroads, and I re-evaluate why I seek the fraternity of fellow athletes. I know I never would have considered the triathlon, attempted the marathon or ultra marathons if I had not joined the running club in the first place. I have found some great training partners for the tri and running, and we have had a really fun time. The friendships have been very special.

In the end, I think we all have very similar priorities. Family first, then work, then working out. By the time we get to working out, there isn’t much time. Maybe once the kids go off to college, I’ll have more time…to run.

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