Monday, August 19, 2013

My Cyber Running Team

In a matter of minutes, I went from marathon training alone to training with a couple of thousand others. Don’t let anyone tell you the Internet isn’t useful. 

The Lonely Road

You may already know, but just in case you’re new to Fatherlyhood, I’ve been training for my first marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon, in January 2014. It’s difficult to fit training into work schedules, children’s activities, church, family and everything else.  Given those important things, it’s even tougher to find running partners for encouragement and accountability.  Plus, everyone else has their own schedules that are just as demanding and increasingly longer runs require larger blocks of time.

And, most people simply think I’m crazy for training for a marathon. I’m in my 40s, so most of my contemporaries just don’t run, which is fine. I wasn’t a “runner” either until recently. Most runners would say I’m still not a “runner.”  Based on my average pace, I’d have to agree with them!

As the long runs get longer, I’ve learned that I need encouragement. I’ve found it. 

THE Online Running Group

No, there’s nothing quite like having a group of friends to sit down with, or run with, and give and receive
encouragement for any endeavor. Once in a while, however, we come across good substitutes, especially now that we have technology that can bring people from across the globe together for myriad reasons.

As a writer, of sorts, I’ve found it necessary for a few years to establish and maintain a social media presence. I’ve grown my online community gradually during that time, but I haven’t quite, how would you say, been significantly “engaged.”

What better place for a marathon?

With my most recent off-line undertaking, my marathon training, I’ve started following/friending runners online through Twitter, RunKeeper, Daily Mile, and Facebook.  Initially, I did so due to my need for expertise, but I recently came across a rather large group of runner-folk that not only provide technical knowledge, but encouragement and engagement, as well; Team #runDisney. They aren't affiliated with Walt Disney World, or runDisney, they're just a great group of runners who love Disney races.

I followed @TeamrunDisney on Twitter and joined the Facebook group.  More often than not, online groups fall short of their goals, not for lack of trying, but the numbers aren’t there to keep it going, the members aren’t motivated or the reason for the group makes the members sort of transient.

In the case of Team runDisney, members are generally in for the long haul, they’ve committed a large portion of their life to a common goal. They know how difficult it is to reach running goals and they want help in any way.  It’s a fantastic group. 

Immediate Response

After joining the Facebook group, I posted a couple of questions/comments and within a few hours I had dozens and dozens of responses. In my experience, that’s unheard of!  So far, there’s been no post-bombing by people who have nothing better to do, only people offering to help.

For a relatively new marathoner-in-training, it’s just what I needed at just the right time. Now, I hope I can contribute as much as I receive.

If you’re a runner, even if you aren’t running a Disney race, or any race, I’d recommend hooking up with @TeamrunDisney on Twitter and join the FB group.  You’ll see the benefits.

I’ve mentioned a couple of others on this blog, but have you encountered any great online groups/communities, not just running-related?

Image courtesy bkgunner.


  1. Amen Alan! I completely agree. I find myself smiling at the computer whenever I'm on the TeamRunDisney page on FB. Its been such an energizer for me who usually "runs alone" as well. Good luck in your training!

  2. Thanks, Donna! "Energizer" is a great descriptor for the group. I'm finding I need a lot of energy! Good luck in your training.