Members of The Most Informal Running Club Ever (TMIRCE) in New York City, have been training together since 2012.
Four times a week, 20 to 70 of the group’s 400-odd runners get together to run, with each session having a specific focus: speed training, endurance building, beginner’s run and a social run.
Yet many of the members didn’t know each other, says Chris Lopez, a TMIRCE veteran.
To help bring runners together, Lopez recently used Racery to customize a 1649-mile virtual run around New York State starting on September 1st. 75 members signed up, running together in teams of six people.
Lopez’s own team consists of close friends who typically only participate in one run together per week.
Racery’s real-time activity feed created lots of new opportunities for interaction and camaraderie. “I can tell that one of my friends just ran a 10-miler,” says Lopez. “I was like ‘That was really awesome!’ and gave them a little ‘Like’, shot them a comment — ‘Congratulations! We’re now in first place!’”
It’s not just friends in NYC who are suddenly spending more virtual time together. The race connected different chapters across the country.
“We had zero connection between these groups until we actually signed up for the Racery race. It created a really big platform for us to talk to one another” says Lopez. “There’s been a huge back-and-forth. We’ve been able to talk to leaders and managers of the other chapters.”
Running under nicknames like NYC Coyotes, Sewer Gators, Gowanas Boas, and Harlem Tigers, members of 20 teams have been duking it out.
Profiles of racers boosted TMIRCE’s sense of community. Lopez’s team, the Track Rabbits adopted a lighthearted mascot that they brought along on runs. And TMIRCE is printing up magnets to commemorate the race.
“The messageboard is full of smack talk and we had emails going back and forth, egging each other on and seeing who is going to push further, who is going to finish first.”
Beyond adding an extra social layer to TMIRCE, Lopez says runners also liked the extra blend of competition and accountability.“It definitely adds a competitive edge and forces you to run a little farther and a little more consistent.”