Run Crew

Guest Post: The Power of a Run Crew

By Sabrina Lott

I’ve spoken before about my fears of joining a running club. I had too much free time during the pandemic to read online reviews about the ways people like me were treated in running clubs. I only knew about one local running club and for some reason, I had it in my head that they were only for elite runners. (Yes, this opinion has been obliterated a thousand times over and now these runners are some of my best friends, but I can’t change the ideas of the past.) Those of us who don’t regularly maintain a sub 12 minute mile, who like to use walking intervals or who run for fun and don’t care about competition, are not generally the target market for the average running group. Lucky for me, I saw an Instagram post for another group that happened to run from one of the few shopping centers I knew how to get to in my new city. I ‘applied’ to join their group while telling my partner that I would be okay if I was rejected, as long as I tried. Little did I know at the time, as soon as I hit submit on the google form, I was ‘approved’. And as soon as I completed my very first workout with them, I was in love.

When athletes talk about running clubs they talk about the fun you have when running with friends, the power you can receive from having more accomplished athletes help push you, and the challenges they can help you face. What many athletes fail to mention, or experience, is the power of those amazing friendships. I joined my running club to get through the Taji 100 Challenge of February 2022. I did not know they would inspire me to run countless miles, races, and challenges over the years. I did not know how powerful a picture of my partner and baby lined up with them before our most recent race would feel. I did not know that they would have such an amazing impact on my life as an athlete, coach and mother.

Running has been a tremendous gift to me and running with the right people has been amazing beyond belief. I look back at the pictures from our race this weekend and am overwhelmed with emotions. When it was announced that the 408K was returning to our race calendar but moving from February to June and adding a Half Marathon option, I agreed to do the 8k. I ran that distance the last two years of the race, pre-pandemic. I had the pleasure of running with my oldest daughter one year and we added my partner and more family, the final year. In December, I participated in my first ever running, scavenger hunt with our run crew. I teamed up with my best running friends, BRFs, and we won entries into the race for the distance of our choice. Having already signed up for a half in April, for my birthday, my friends and unofficial Coaches and I decided the June race made the most sense as my A Race. The San Jose Half is on a primarily flat course, close to home and the two months between races would give me enough time to address any race concerns, and adjust, in theory.

Sabrina Lott

Sabrina Lott

The nerves were high when we lined up at the start but I was confident in my ability to perform to the best of MY abilities. The amount of mental and physical strength that it took to get me through the last few miles of the race is proof that my training is paying off for me. The support that I received at the finish line was surprising and is proof that I am supported and loved beyond measure. You expect to meet up with your friends and family AFTER you cross the finish line. You don’t expect to have them waiting for you when you round the corner at mile 13, to cheer you through the last 0.1 mile sprint.  I also didn’t realize that half of my outfit was from friends and family until I looked at those finisher photos. The hat I wore was won in a raffle at an event I attended with a run crew BRF to help train for my first postpartum half marathon. The glasses were won at a fundraiser held to help a run crew BRF get to the London Marathon. The skirt was gifted to me by a run crew friend. The socks were gifted by family. And my amazing race tank was a gift from a BRF, and fellow Coach, who constantly shows me how much she believes in my potential and who ran me into the finish for the last two half marathons I’ve completed, to help me prove my power in ways I never imagined. This is a testament to just how much of an impact this run crew has had on me.

In the past I have found that too much attention was given to negative running experiences and not enough was given to the good, or maybe there weren’t enough positive experiences happening. As a Coach, I find that my focus now is on creating a welcoming and inclusive space for all athletes. The fact that our local running community is working to foster that environment is very important to me. There are multiple members regularly repeating the message that all runners are welcomed, all paces are honored, all friends will be celebrated. Another running coach, and mentor of mine, who had the honor of facilitating the pacing team for our race posted a message that gave me chills. Simply stated, “We have a place and a pace for you!” How amazing is that?

When we handed out bibs the night before the race, we did our best to calm the fears of each person that was brave enough to express one. We reminded them confidently that they would be supported on the course and should they find themselves falling behind, there would be someone there to support them. I had family, friends and clients participating as walkers in the 8K and I knew they would be well taken care of by our crew because we have fostered an amazing family of support. Our leaders enjoy giving back to the community and take great care of those around them. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll see that I wrote about the fear I once had of being the last person to cross the finish line at my first race. Now I’m honored to know that final person because multiple members of our running family enjoy being race sweepers and making sure no one finishes the race alone. When I crossed paths with the 3:00, 3:15, 3:30 pacers and the sweeper this Sunday, they were friends who genuinely cheered for me. I know that had I been running with them, I would have enjoyed the race just as much and for me, as an athlete, coach and member of our amazing run crew, that feels like a full circle reminder.

***

Coach Sabrina Lott is a mother, athlete and partner. As a curvy woman of color, over the age of 40, she saw the lack of visibility and inclusivity of people who looked like her family in endurance sports, racing and training and wanted to work to help make a change. Sabrina became a Coach in order to help other women feel safe and supported in fitness whether that looks like walking, hiking or running in the outdoors. As a mother runner, these days you can find her running the streets or hiking with her infant in the jogging stroller or with her local running group. While she may be training to PR the Half Marathon distance, her passion is best experienced on the trails enjoying the natural beauty with family and friends. As an 80/20 Endurance Certificated Coach, Sabrina specializes in helping Women, Mothers and newer athletes get moving. Whether you have a specific fitness goal in mind or you’re still trying to figure out where to start, she is here for you. Learn More.

Leave a Comment