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rabbitELITE Sara Ibbetson shares how running community has enriched her life

Running community: It drew me to running at age 11 and keeps me in the sport 30 years later.

Running is hard to beat. I love the day-to-day training, the mileage, the early mornings, the double days, the long runs, the workouts, the recovery runs, the routine, the fueling, and the lifestyle. I feel more like myself when I'm running. There are no other activities that make me feel so in my element. But running with my running buddies makes running even better! I've had periods in my life when I've trained primarily solo, and I don't need to have others to get myself motivated to get out the door, but the running community sure enhances the experience! Good luck finding a runner who is not also an amazing person.

My daily running group has few things in common aside from running, but we are the best of friends. We are made up of teenagers to grandparents, high school through master's runners, men and women, medical professionals, IT professionals, pastors, and stay-at-home moms. I am often in awe of the bonds we formed from shared miles. We think we are some of the most fun and humorous people out there, and if you come run with us (which you should!) you’ll be inundated with back stories and welcomed into our inside jokes.

Running has connected me with people across the country. I can’t even count the number of people I’ve met through our shared sport, and all of those who come to mind are not just good runners, they are genuinely good people. When I travel, I am thankful to often have friends to meet for a run. I cherish the texts and messages about running and about life. I’ve learned that while these people all care about running, they also care about me and I care about them, which is ultimately what makes the world go round.

I tried to achieve the 2020 OTQ Marathon standard 5 times, and I never quite managed to achieve it, but through the process I met a strong contingent of amazing women with the same goal. I ran most of a marathon in 2010 with a kind woman I met during the race and who I still talk to often. I spend hours on foot with the amazing people from the Miles from Mentor program. This year, I was added to the rabbitELITE team and continue to be impressed with rabbit’s role in bringing people together.

Over the years, racing has become a way for me to get the best out of myself. Sure, I'm a competitor and it's always a blessing to win a race, but instead of seeing other women as competition, I see them more as opportunity. We are in it together and can help each other be our best on that day. Someone is going to get to the finish line first, and I'm going to try to make it me, but I'd much rather spend most of a race side-by-side with a friend and end up second than run solo to a win.

I'm not sure the running community is fully understandable unless you're in it, so come join us! I already mentioned my unbiased opinion about us being the most fun people out there, but we are also one of the most welcoming groups out there as well!

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