by Rosemary Kelly
Some suggest running can be an isolating sport. I would challenge that and say that it is a sport where community is built, connections are made, and friends turn to family.
I have been a part of Forest Hills Runners for a little over 3 years. My friends have journeyed with me through multiple training cycles, seasons of fitness, graduate school requiring 5AM runs, across the river moves, significant life changes, and so much more. What constantly pops into my head is the notion that these friends are truly members of my family in Boston.
Living in Somerville, I am now a little father than before. No longer can I dart out my door and sprint across the field to Stonybrook. Rather, I must take my trusty car and drive 30 minutes to then sprint up the SW Corridor and dart across the field to Stonybrook. Some things will never change.
While logistically foolish in rush hour traffic, I have kept returning for the last year and a half. Why? I return because the people and place are ingrained in my heart. I can breathe easier knowing I can always find my people at Downes field, sprinting up the J-Way, and meandering running in the neighborhood.
This last year has been filled with change and the dust is still settling. But my training family is still there, ready to lace up with a few hour’s notice. The people are what compel me to drive in traffic, muttering kind words at Boston drivers, and down Gu-chomps in preparation for a workout or long run.
As the summer sweaty runs transition to fall crunching leaves to wintery hill repeats, to signs of spring and summer again, there is no one I would rather mark the miles with. In the last year, I have chopped many minutes off my times, set new goals, traveled to new trails, dedicated hills to people and things, competed for reasons beyond myself, and explored new cities. None of these strides would be possible without the crew of which I speak.
So, as fall fades and winter sets in, do not forget the significance of your Forest Hills family. They will challenge you, cheer you on, ground you and always help you return back to yourself. In a world where we forget that we belong to each other, FHR reminds us of our connection to one another.
Our miles are run faster, joys celebrated and burdens made lighter when shared with others. Go find your training family.