This is why I am forever grateful that the running blogs I read began linking to dailymile early last year. Those links allowed me to go down the rabbit hole of the niche social media sites on the internet to find a community of (mostly) runner’s combined with a data store for all of my running activity.
Fast forward to over a year later and I have managed to amass 96 friends on DM. Some are real life friends, others are bloggers I follow, there’s my brother and sister in law, but the majority of my friends are strangers. People I have never met in person. People, who like me, run for pleasure and fitness. People who are goal setters and/or racers. People who love the functionality and social component that DM has to offer.
This past weekend, I took a step towards the merging of the relative anonymity of the internets and planned a DM meet-up for all interested to run the Milton Half Marathon route.
Emma, Alan, Phillip and me quickly fell into an easy paced run along the sunny sidewalks in Milton and were able to easily chat about life, running, food and build up those friendships that were previously stuck behind screens and confined to keyboards.
I love this community and its spirit. I love that three people were brave enough to meet me IRL (but honestly - how is a 5ft nothing, 35 year old suburbanite, mainly seen grinning like a fool with a thumbs-up in photos, scary?). I love that I now feel that much closer to three of those 96 people whose runs and fitness I read about daily to offer encouragement to them and myself.
And I really enjoyed Emma, Alan and Phil. I hope that these types of meet ups can continue and friendships can be created to expand beyond the wires of the broadband.
I encourage you to do the same. Join a running group. Plan a meetup. Because if someone is offering you some kind of value through 10-point font, chances are, they will offer you value in person as well.