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Power of the Group

It’s fitting we post this on the same weekend of the US Olympic Marathon trials.

Admiring, motivating, and inspiring are just a few of the words that describe our experience at last weekend’s Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) annual awards banquet. It was a great time as a few hundred Chicago area runners gathered to celebrate a year in running. Since 1978 CARA, a non-profit organization has been dedicated to running advocacy in the Chicago area.

The annual event recognizes individuals from youth to seniors as well as teams for their achievements in the CARA Runners Choice Circuit. The Circuit, which includes some of Chicagoland’s most organized and well-known races, was developed to promote local race participation as well as a competitive structure for area runners of all levels.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of the CARA Lifetime Achievement Award to our teammate and friend Ann Schaefers Coles. This prestigious award was presented to Ann, Jane Murphy, and Jenny Spangler on the 20th Anniversary of their Olympic trials qualification in 1996. It recognizes not only their achievements in running but also their contributions to the Chicago area running community.

What hit home the most with us were the words Ann shared with the audience. Ann’s mantra is the “Power of the Group” and she spoke to that powerful statement. The threesome being recognized trained together for the trials with the same coach. Ann so perfectly defines her mantra in a post award statement. “We tend to gain strength from one another’s energy and by training together… We collectively were one dedicated, hard-working group with one mission in mind.”

Ann Schaefers Coles(right), Jenny Spangler(Center) and Jane Murphy(left) accepting the CARA Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo Credit: Kevin Claffey
Ann Schaefers Coles(right), Jenny Spangler(Center) and Jane Murphy(left) accepting the CARA Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo Credit: Kevin Claffey

Ann said the “power of the group” was applicable beginning in her high school days and has been a consistent presence in her life since including today with our running team, Dick Pond Fast Track Racing Team. The “group” has been teammates, coaches, family and running friends.

Dick Pond Fast Track Team. Photo Credit: Kevin Claffey
Dick Pond Fast Track Team. Photo Credit: Kevin Claffey

What Ann says about the groups is absolutely right on! If it weren’t for the groups Amanda and I have met through running, I doubt we would have stuck with it. The group is what has fueled us. There’s something universally unique about runners. We encourage, push, and motivate each other. We pick each other up when we’re down. The friendships and support systems we build through group running are incredible.

The amazing people we’ve met running are who drove us to start this blog. We are such advocates of group running we want to share our experience with all of you. We want to feature these beautiful people, their groups, and their stories. Regularly we will write about inspiring individuals and groups. We will visit random groups during all travels and want to take you with us on our journey.

As we encourage group running we want individuals to experience the “power of the group” no matter where they live or travel to. Our site will feature a Run Group Directory. If you are part of a running group, please submit your listing on our site through this link: Submit Your Run Group

We want our site to be the “go to” site for group running. Please help us make that happen by subscribing to our site and sharing with others.

Jimmy n Amanda

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