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March 24, 2017

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Inside the Strava Track Club

rabbit is thrilled to partner with Strava Track Club, a USATF Elite Development Club in the San Francisco Bay Area.rabbit strava

Below, Club Director Dena Evans shares the story of how the club got its start and reflects on the supportive environment that helps athletes to achieve their best. You can look forward to more posts from STC athletes throughout the season! 

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Strava Track Club started organically—one athlete wanted to compete in a meet that required membership in a USATF club and, around the same time, a group of women found themselves working out regularly on Tuesday evenings. One of them just happened to have some experience in coaching. We don’t have a ton of bureaucracy and, 10 years later, our team rules have remained: 1. Train for something, and 2. Be cool, not because those rules were cute and formulaic, but in order to keep things simple.

 

Running is technically an individual sport, but teamwork can make all the difference between success and failure. Post-collegiate running careers are like start-ups. Initiated with a good idea, and a bit of talent and confidence, the reality of the grind and the challenge of pursuing the dream without the support that college athletes enjoy—pre-scheduled airport bus rides, dining hall meals, athletic trainers on demand at practice—eventually set in and the real work begins. At that point, the helping hand of the club can be huge.


The San Francisco Bay Area is a unique region, one that is always shaping who we are and what we can do. Most of our members are grad students or beginning a road in an industry outside of running. We have great weather and varied terrain, but sometimes traffic means it takes a bit of time to get there, and the gas and rent can take more than their fair share of the pie.

 

Through both hardship and success, our club has worked to provide a springboard or conduit for athletes to continue exploring their running horizons. So many runners find that start-up process difficult, and we never know what they could do if given a few years to train with serious intent and challenging competition. Our regional quirks, the transient nature of recent grads generally, and other pursuits often require creative solutions. However, having a jersey to wear, a collective with which to identify, and some like-minded individuals with whom to train and race can make a huge difference. We try hard to bridge the gap. Not all the questions are answered with a yes, or are even answered, but some are, and that is why we are here.


Our team community has never stood alone, but has always depended on other like-minded organizations and businesses. We benefit immensely from the incredible post-collegiate road racing and cross country circuit organized by the Pacific Association of USATF. Almost every spring weekend in northern California features a local track meet that welcomes open athletes, and several collegiate programs encourage our efforts and spread the word.


We have had absolutely crucial support through the years from the Sport Medicine Institute, Agile Physical Therapy, and other companies, such as GU Energy Labs, ElliptiGO, and AlterG, with products that often make the unseen but essential bit of difference that keeps a train on the tracks. We’ve also enjoyed a great relationship with our local retailer, Fleet Feet Menlo Park, and excellent equipment support from suppliers.


As we get into the heart of competition in our 10th year, we are carrying momentum from two outstanding years of title sponsorship from Strava, during which we produced over 500 race performances, over 100 wins, in over 50 Californian cities, as well as 25 states and 9 countries. Working with a technology based start-up with a front and center goal of community creation reflects who we are and what many of us do each day. As a group, our mission is to help individuals weather the storms of startup life as pro runners, with an optimistic approach and a simple formula. We are proud to have that name next to each of ours in the results.


This year, we also run with a rabbit logo on our jerseys. It’s an emblem of that same optimism, commitment to a dream, willingness to support the dreams of others, and the creativity and knowhow to make it just that much more easy and fun to get from point A to point B on foot. In 2017, Strava Track Club members have big dreams and goals on the track and roads. A running team needs uniforms - that’s obvious. But what we have found with rabbit is more than that. We’ve found partners and supporters, folks who will dream the dream with us. That’s what you’ll see when you see the rabbit coming across the finish line—the realization of the teamwork and hard effort that goes into each race and each piece of clothing delivered to you. We look forward to sharing more of the journey in this space, and hope you enjoy meeting some of the individuals embarking on the road.

 - Dena Evans, Strava Track Club, Club Director

(Photo cred: Karen Ramming)


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