By Ty Akins
Running can be lonely. It doesn’t have to be.
I’m Ty Akins, better known as Mr. RunForGood. I’m the field marketing lead for Saucony. I love what I do, I love my team, and I love Saucony even more. How I got to this point is exciting. The short answer is running. But since you asked, I’ll give a long answer too.
It all started back in high school when I started running track. I was decent at it. I won two state championships in the 110-meter hurdles and one state championship in the 300-meter hurdles. As exciting as that is, the best was yet to come. My high school success allowed me to receive a scholarship from Auburn University, where I won two SEC championships, a national championship, and was a six-time All-American. If that wasn’t exciting enough, my college success allowed me to run professionally, where I competed for ten years. Once I retired, I wanted to keep running. However, there was a big elephant in the room.
Running by myself wasn’t fun. I had someone to train with my entire career. Even when I didn’t have anyone to train with, I had a goal to chase (SEC championship, national championship, Olympics, etc.). Now that I didn’t have the goal of winning titles or a team to run with, I had to change how I approached running. Once I started with Saucony, it helped me switch things up. Saucony connected me with running groups. My colleges and community even introduced me to virtual groups through their Strava run club. Through these avenues, I began to enjoy running again. Running with a group was what I needed. Here are a few reasons you’ll also benefit from running with a group:
- Running by yourself can sometimes be dangerous for several reasons. Drivers sometimes don’t see you running, and there can be wild animals, or you can easily get lost (which is no fun). Being with a crew provides you the safety you need to have the peace of mind to run in peace.
- Running with a crew is excellent because everyone holds each other accountable. There’ll be days where you’ll be tired, not feeling your best, and sometimes mentally exhausted. The good news is there’ll be people in your crew that’ll understand precisely how you think, and they’ll be able to help you get over the hump.
- An essential part of running with a crew is fellowship. For example, I could connect with Black Men Run. The group fosters a healthy brotherhood through running. They are involved in the community, focusing on taking care of local neighborhoods and local businesses. There is so much diversity within the group. You have doctors, lawyers, coaches, and police officers, to name a few. Crews this diverse are unique because you have many opportunities to grow. Fellowshipping is a great way to get involved. Running with a crew has helped me love running again, and I’d go as far as to say it’s a critical step in my journey. So don’t be shy. Get out there and find some friends to run with!
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