Many runners have the opportunity to participate in group runs in which there are many benefits. Benefits we know are there but may not think about. In some groups, all the runners may run together in a pack. But in groups consisting of runners with varying speed and ability, there are going to be runners in front, middle and back. In such groups, all runners are tied together regardless of their place in the group. Here is how it works. Each runner is aware of the others but may not be actually competing with them, yet they are pulled along. It's like the runners are tied together with a tether, an invisible tether that runs through the group. The tether makes the runners put out more effort, work harder and not "take it easy." That's the message running the length of the tether even if the runners are not aware of it. As for the leaders, all they have to do is look behind them and see the runners chasing them and they may work harder. The invisible tether works in both directions. Subtle messages, that we don't think about, are going front to back and back to front. This draws the best effort out of the runners in the group.
This winter I've discovered the Off Season Striders and have run with them on Sunday mornings. Conditions for running this winter with the snow and cold weather have not been good. These are the kind of conditions that make runners like me want to "take it easy." Not so with the Off Season Striders. I'm usually somewhere in the middle to back of the group and running alone. I'm okay with running alone because messages from the front and back of the group are still coming through the tether loud and clear. For me that message is run hard because others with me are running hard and that's important.
I've enjoyed the Off Season Striders particularly the coffee and snacks after the run. This is a nice group. They've been around for years, which makes me want to use a reworded old saying. "Where have I been all their lives?"