5 Life Lessons We Can All Learn From Philly’s Awesome Running Community 

4. Sometimes it rains on your parade and you just have to keep on truckin’. (Looking at you, Broad Street 2016.)

5 Lessons We Can All Learn From the Philadelphia Running Community

Broad Street Run 2016 | Photo by Adjua Fisher

Today is the day, people: Global Running Day! And while the day celebrates running all across, well, the globe (duh), I thought I’d take a minute to give some praise to the awesome beast that is the running community right here in our own city — and point out a few things we could all stand to learn from the folks who make up that community. Below, five life lessons to steal from the badass folks who pound our city’s pavement day after day, rain or shine, snow or sleet, blizzard (really!) or beach weather. Check them out below.

1. You don’t always know what you’re doing — and it’s OKAY to ask for help.
The Run215 Facebook group is full of people who are new to running or new to Philly who are in no way afraid of asking questions, asking for help, and even asking for people to — gasp! — join them outside of Cyberspace and in the real world on runs. It always puts a big smile on my face when someone poses a question to the group and it doesn’t get ignored, but instead, gets a thread of responses so long, I’d have to take a day off of work to read them. The lesson: You only get an answer if you ask the question, and a lot of people are actually very willing to help you out. So JUST ask.

2. Doing nice things for others (without being asked) feels GREAT.
Just this past weekend, 30 Philly runners showed up to deliver flowers and handwritten get-well cards from folks in the running community to SEPTA Police Officer Gary Miller, who was hit by a car (that then drove away) a few Sundays ago while running with his wife. They didn’t know him — they just thought it would be a nice thing to do. Who else is tearing up? And just today, I stopped by the Back on My Feet Treadmill Challenge where runners were running on treadmills to help raise money for the local non-profit, which helps the homeless get back on their feet through running. They’d raised over $9,000 in just a few hours — all thanks to Philly runners. And these are just instances of the running community banding together to be nice humans that have taken place in the past four days. Of course, there are plenty of other examples. The lesson: helping someone out — even if you don’t know them — feels good. Do more of it.

3. Don’t give up. What’s hard now WILL get easier — swear.
As anyone who has ever puked on the side of the Schuylkill River Trail can tell you: Your first few runs, before you have a handle on pacing and a clear understanding that no, you probably should not drink a pitcher of margaritas the night before your first 5K, are hard. But like just about everything in life, you get out what you put in, and the more you run, the easier it gets. My favorite Instagram posts by runners are photos of them from one of their first runs, running with a face that screams, “Am I in heaven yet? Because I’m pretty sure I’m dead” followed by a caption that falls along the lines of, “That time I ran my first three miles and felt like a literal zombie.” Lesson: What feels hard now will be easier later, so keep at it.

4. Sometimes it rains on your parade and you just have to keep on truckin’.
This year, it literally rained ALL over the parade of thousands of runners who’d trained for months to tackle the 10 miles of the Broad Street Run. Did they throw in the towel? No. They had trained for months. Thousands of runners showed up and pounded the pavement as hard they could, getting very wet — and, let’s be honest, probably experiencing a good deal of unpleasant chafing — in the process. And this is not the only time I’ve seen Philly runners show up in less than ideal conditions. Just take one of our first-ever Be Well Philly Underground events when we were shocked (shocked, I tell you!) to see tons of runners show up for a night run through freezing November rain — a run we were sure we’d end up doing alone. So the lesson here: Sometimes the world craps all over the pretty plans you’d dreamt up in your mind, and even still, you should show up and do your best.

5. If you’re into something, no matter how weird it is, you can probably find some friends who are into that, too.
The Philly running community — a community of humans who enjoy running with no destination in mind through blazing heat (hello, today’s weather) and sleet and snow — is huge. The lesson: If you have a hobby that is weird, chances are, it’s someone else on the planet’s — heck, maybe even someone else in Philly’s — favorite thing to do, too. Find them, befriend them, and build your community. Because, as someone who has found a good-sized circle of friends who love watching re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy for hours on end can tell you: Doing weird things together is better than doing them alone.

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