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Prez Corner

Making Our ERC Tribe Even Stronger In 2016

As I begin to draft my first President’s Corner—what may be the most daunting task I’ve yet to come across in my new role as President—I’m reminded of Runner’s World Editor David Willey’s October 2015 column, You Are Not Alone. Exploring the history of running clubs, he referenced an Invisibilia podcast he’d recently completed.

“An episode called ‘The Power of Categories’ focused on our primal need to sort ourselves into social groups we identify with or aspire to,” he wrote. “The hosts made the case that life is harder when you have no category, and that finding one—surrounding yourself with people who are like you in some key way—makes you feel that you are not only significant, but enduringly so.”

Willey went on to say, “After all, we’re a category. When the first running boom went off in the 1970s, simply being a runner set you apart. Runners were a tribe—a few thousand skinny guys running sub-three marathons and training 90 miles per week in what looked like underwear—but a tribe nonetheless. From then on, the world was divided into two kinds of people: runners and nonrunners.”

While Essex Running Club may not be “a few thousand skinny guys running sub-three marathons,” I hope you’ll agree that over the past 33 years ERC has become a tribe in its own right. While we range in paces, goals, training methods, and lots of other things, we’re a strong, growing community of support, motivation, and friendship. I hope to help us foster even stronger bonds over the next year, following in the footsteps of many great leaders, the most recent of which was Paul Maloney.

In the coming months you’ll hear more from the ERC Board about opportunities for involvement (please volunteer!) in these three areas: Member Engagement, Running/Training, Community Building. Tapping into your passions and expertise beyond running will help to build a greater sense of community and belonging—and make you even prouder to be an ERC tribe member. Please let me know how you’d like to help.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2016!

Tracy Keller

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