If you really want to get to know someone, run 20 miles with her.
There’s a lot of time for talking.
Far from being lonely or solitary, running for me is extremely social and a way to stay connected with friends.
My longtime running buddies have a regular Sunday morning run, known as “church.” This is when I can catch up on their lives and their families, and we can talk about whatever is on our minds.
Since beginning training for the Illinois Marathon, I haven’t been to many church runs and I’m feeling out of touch.
But running is also a great way to meet new people. And I’ve met some great people through the Second Wind Running Club’s marathon training program.
During those long miles, we talk about our pace, races we’ve done or plan to do, shoes, our preferences for sports drinks, and the location along our route of the nearest bathroom.
Then we move on to more interesting — and sometimes personal — subjects.
In the last few weekends, I’ve talked biking with an Urbana man, weddings with a Mahomet woman, and wildlife sightings with a Champaign woman who was already a running friend.
Even though I may not know the last names of some of my new running partners, that doesn’t stop us from sharing information about our lives or our families.
While running this past weekend, a friend told me about his father — a man in his 60s, living in a small town in southern China — who recently did his first 13-mile run in less than two hours. On a treadmill, and barefoot!
You hear a lot of interesting stories on a long run.
And there’s something about the camaraderie you get from running 10 or 12 or 18 or 20 miles together that seems to make it easier to form a connection than it would in other circumstances.
As my new running friend from Mahomet described it, “You make a new best friend for the day.”
The photo below: my running buddies at Kickapoo State Park this past weekend.