While living in San Diego, I tried joining a few running clubs (three to be exact), but decided a running club wasn’t for me. While it was nice to join a group of runners at different locations in the most beautiful city in California, it wasn’t a fit for me. My first try started great upon arrival with everyone appearing friendly and welcoming, to ending with the group leaving before I even made it back to my car. The second group I tried was the famous “SDTC”, with 800 members. I was sure to find a friend.. I arrived at Mission Bay Park on Saturday morning that happened to be their “time trial day”. They had a course marked and clock set up to time everyone. I though “fun”, kinda like a free 5k! The next run was Tuesday night where I was “grouped” with the walkers because my time was too slow for the runners! I never returned. SD had a fun adult social activity league which I was a captain of a kickball team. Adults would play and different watering holes would sponsor the social hour afterwards. They offered a running group so I gave this one a try. While much less competitive than last experience- it was definitely like moving to a new high school in the middle of the year when all the “cliqs” have already been formed.
So when I moved back to Delaware in 2010 a coworker told me about MAC and I was less than excited to check out the club. She forwarded me a couple of Andy Shearers club update emails. They were full of riddles and fun comments about people. I was intrigued. I emailed Andy and asked if there were any “turtles” in the group or are there mostly elite athletes and fast runners? He welcomed me and said there were runners of all levels. Sure enough- there were all ages and speeds that Saturday morning. I was introduced, waited for and talked to afterwards- even invited to Dunkin Donuts where Barb Ward slipped me acoupon for a free coffee! Everyone said see you next Saturday as I left. Over the weeks to come Barb and Joe Ward took me under their wings, coached and inspired me, the and while my “pace” didn’t match the Soucy’s, Heaths and Shearer families they all took an interest in my runs and made me feel part of this special community. Almost 10 years later, There are so many people that have been part of my MAC experience and friends made have become family. When I introduced my friend visiting from San Diego to MAC on club run, he felt welcomed and could feel what a special group of people I belonged to. That friend (now my husband) moved to Delaware a few years ago and we are proud to say we plan on being active in the club for a long, long time.