Weekend MBA student Spoorthy (Spoo) Papudesi and Evening MBA student Christopher Zawisza update us on the Booth Running Club (BRC) and how they’re motivating their members to keep on running.
- August 19, 2020
Spoo: When I started as co-chair of BRC, the club was only doing evening runs for students and I thought, we need to do something for Weekend students. We went on the Slack channel for the club to see if anyone wanted to meet for a run at 6 am before Saturday class. The first time, on a Saturday in February, we had seven students show up. We reached a point where there were 15 students running every Saturday from Gleacher, which included a lot of first-time runners. We even ran one time when the weather was -5͒F degrees, with heavy winds and a frozen lake. We got used to waking up and connecting with our running friends before class at 9 am.
Spoo: We knew that many people would turn to running now of all times as it’s contactless. The BRC asked people to download an app called Strava. So far, we have about 79 Booth runners on it. Along with everyday runs, we do monthly challenges such as virtual 5Ks,10Ks, and half-marathons. To make it more fun, we then asked students to run shapes or letters on their routes. One of our runners, Eleanor Jacobs, even wrote Booth on her run. For Global Running day on June 3rd, BRC runners ran 108 miles in a ten hour period. We collectively clock upwards of 700 miles on a weekly basis, thanks to runners like Alex Schachtel, Anan Subramanian, and Ben Levinsky who log big mileage every week. Another student, Molly Cosgrove, is currently training for a virtual Chicago Marathon.
The Strava leaderboard helps beginners and experienced runners maintain consistency and have some competitive fun. For example, we tried to categorize runners into groups of ten depending on mileage potential per week and let the four teams compete. We plan on bringing this back in fall with prizes for teams with the most mileage. We also tested out a virtual version of a relay race where one person finishes their run and texts the next person in the lineup to start their run and so on. We challenged students to a running streak from Memorial Day to Independence Day where runners were encouraged to log at least a mile every day between those two holidays. Also coming up in the fall, we plan on signing up the BRC team for the St Jude run in September—a race we typically do in person every year as a BRC tradition. Currently, we are busy revamping our website and working on some cool BRC gear, which we’re aiming to release in time for the run.
"The Running Club is more of a community than a competition. This is what we’re proud of...It’s definitely more of a build everyone up, encouraging environment than a competitive one, even though we do celebrate people’s running achievements too."
Chris: Running seems to be everyone’s exercise of choice now. We’ve really tried to drive home the different things that get runners out there. Distance is a big motivating factor for some people, they want to be competitive with that. We encourage the use of our Slack channel so people share photos of their neighborhoods, neat things they might have seen on their run that day, and ways to engage where it doesn’t have to be about pace or distance. We don’t want it to get intimidating for people, instead we want to promote staying active and connecting with your classmates. This gives an opportunity for people to check in with each other, asking questions, and form a common bond.
We ran a virtual happy hour one weekend and are trying to find different ways to keep members engaged. The Running Club is more of a community than a competition. This is what we’re proud of. You can come in as someone who’s never run before and ask questions like what shoe should I be wearing or do you know what type of injury this might be. It’s definitely more of a build everyone up, encouraging environment than a competitive one, even though we do celebrate people’s running achievements too.
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