Abi VerValin

Name: Abigail VerValin

Location: New York City

Like many others, I found TMIRCE when I was new to New York and looking to meet people with similar interests. I showed up to bRUNch on a rainy morning, nervous and not sure what to expect but was met with an exceptionally warm welcome and tons of high fives.

That day I decided 2 things: 1. I was going to become a runner and 2. I was never ever ever going back to bRUNCh.

Quite frankly, shyness got the better of me and I wrote TMIRCE off completely.  I continued to build up my running independently and at a certain point thought back to that group of friendly runners, all swapping race stories and training tips.  I made my return to bRUNch….4 months later. It finally STUCK.

Since then, I’ve gone to countless bRUNches, track workouts, Fridays at the Willy B, happy hours, housewarmings, birthday parties and cheer squads. Not only have I become a better runner, but I’ve also made life-long friends.

And that is basically the strategy: Come to steal training tips and stay because the people make your life immeasurably better.


Rachel Cochran

Name: Rachel Cochran

Location: New York, NY

Sometime in December 2013, it dawned on me that I couldn't live the rest of my life like a college kid on spring break, so I made a conscious effort to discover new hobbies. I went to drawing classes, I spent mornings teaching kids to read, I joined a crossfit box in the neighborhood - nothing really stuck.

 One day, I dragged myself out of bed and shyly showed up to The Rise. Another morning, I did it again. People remembered my name, where I was from, what I did for a living. They were so friendly I questioned whether or not New York City was playing a practical joke on me. I was invited to a TMIRCE workout where the same thing happened again. It seemed like every workout I left, I also left with an invite to grab a bite to eat after or go to someone's birthday party next weekend. At first, I politely declined, assuming I was being invited because I happen to be standing there. After enough urging, I started to say yes, getting over myself and realizing that these people actually wanted to get to know me. Sometime in between Brittney's going away Wine Mile (god bless) and post-track pizza with Anthony and Jono, I realized that I was a missing puzzle piece in this community.

 I've never met a group of people more willing to do activities for the sheer love of activities. A group of 10 or so TMIRCE kids even visited my grandparents in New Hampshire with me one weekend just because I said to someone, "hey, I'm driving up to my grandparent's house this weekend, wanna come?" (to this day, a conversation does not pass without the mention of #TeamChris). Since that December, I've run races and triathlons I assumed could only be completed by the hyper-dedicated-near-Olympian athletes. I've taken more left turns around the track than I ever thought I would in my life. Exercise is cool and all, but at this point I'm really just showing up to see my friends.


Elly Stolnitz

Name: Eleanor Stolnitz

Location: East Village, New York

The reason I stuck with TMIRCE is the sense of accomplishment after finishing an hour-long track workout and seeing my mile times get faster.

 My favorite thing about TMIRCE is the community of awesome runners who always push me to go faster and motivate me to work harder, and make me wonder why I ever considered sitting on my couch instead. 

The best running advice I've gotten is to keep pushing, you can go faster than you think. 

Since joining TMIRCE, I've gotten over my fear of running in rain, snow, and sub-20 degree temperatures. And made great friends who have taught me that inclement weather can even be fun.

My favorite running accessories are the Nicki Minaj Pandora station and headphones - can't make left turns without them!

Erin Kelly

Name: Erin Kelly

 Current Location: Harlem, NY

Since joining TMIRCE I’ve… finished 8 marathons, survived a 200-mile relay race across Cape Cod without any shower breaks, helped pace an ultra marathon, gone on many road trips to run races I’m not prepared for, been introduced to the sport of triathlon, bought a bike (and in general, spent way too much money on said sport of triathlon), learned waking up early on Sundays for long runs can be fun despite your hangover if you do it with the right people, competed in a bunch of swim-bike-run events and one giant Ironman-sanctioned brick that I am still kind of bitter about, wrote a bunch of articles featuring TMIRCE members that would not have been possible without them, met some of my absolute best friends (including my roommate!), enjoyed being part of an amazing running community, and have learned that every Monday is an opportunity to have the best track workout, ever.


Sam Thomas

Name: Samantha Thoms

Current Location: New York City, New York

I’ve been running for twenty years.  In that time, I’ve ran for many reasons: as part of a high school and college team, to PR in a race, so I can keep up with my friends, to get back in shape and to tire out a little dog before taking him on a plane.  Beyond these reasons, running gets into my system and suddenly I find myself needing to go on a run to find balance, to shake off some unhappy feelings, or to burn off energy that is driving my boyfriend crazy.

Running with TMIRCE meets those needs in a warm circle of welcoming, kind, crazy people.  TMIRCE offers not just new running buddies, but a wide range of people that inspire, push and encourage.  The friends I meet through TMIRCE understand why someone would plan their weekends around their runs and why even with humidity or frigid rain, you’ll find me putting on my shoes to get to track. Not only is it good for you, you’ll also be with your friends, possibly suffering together, but also making memories and getting stronger.

One more thing… I also love TMIRCE because it is really, really easy to stick with.  It only takes three(ish) steps.

  1. Show up.  Give as many high-fives as you can.
  2. Run fast and take chances. (within reason).
  3. Dance a little happy dance and head to the bar.

Claire Wind

Name: Claire Wind

Current Location: Brooklyn, New York

“High Fives and Good Vibes”

After running competitively in high school and college,  I moved to NYC and decided that running and I needed to break-up. I wanted to focus on my career and thought that making new friends and having to schedule runs into my day would take away time from that. Little did I know, 2 years later, all of my friends would come from this running club.

I found out about TMIRCE from the “Valentine’s Day Pub Run” held by Brooklyn Running Company. Granted, I hadn’t run in over a year and was in no shape to drink a beer every mile and run some more, but my college teammate was hosting the event so I went to support her. The group I was running with (God bless them for staying with me; I was a mess!) told me about this informal running group, “You go at your own pace, for however long you want, then you hang out and eat!” Sounds like my kind of running group! After the run, I liked the TMIRCE page on Facebook and that was that.

It took me over a year to muster the courage to attend bRUNch. But when I finally did, I kicked myself for not running with the bRUNch crew sooner. During the run, everyone was giving me high-fives and asking me about my week, as if I’d been a part of this group for ages. I left that day with a huge runner‘s high, something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.

I came back the next week (and the week after that, and eventfully all TMIRCE events) because the TMIRCE bRUNch crew made me feel more welcomed than I’d felt anywhere, while living in NYC. The city can be a hard, cold place; every man/woman for themselves. But when I show up to run for a TMIRCE event, I know I will see a ton of smiling faces, receive all of the high-fives, and run with an awesome group of people.


Becky Fitzmorris

Name: Rebecca Fitzmorris

Current Location: Brooklyn, NYC

I found out about TMIRCE and The Rise when I met Ben and Chris Lopez at a Run and Chug meetup! I started out by going to The Rise and then switched over to TMIRCE about 2 months later going to both track on Mondays and brunch on Saturdays.

For a while I kept coming even when I wasn’t able to run (always injured) because everyone was just so nice and I loved the high fives. Now I still make an effort to go when I can because I consider everyone to be part of my family. My favorite thing about TMIRCE is the fact that we are all so supportive of each other – both at workouts with high fives and encouragement and in our personal lives. 

I will never forget how I had a housewarming party last year and the trains weren’t running to my apartment, far into Brooklyn and people still found a way to get there. Also, I will never forget the support that I had when raising money for charity to run the NYC Marathon last year and when my dad died soon after. People that didn’t even know me well in the group, donated so much and also reached out to me after my dad died and it is something that will always stay with me. 

The group is filled with the best hearted and most genuine people – something that is really hard to find in NYC. Since joining TMIRCE, my life has changed by far for the better. It isn’t just about running, but about the community of support we have formed. On a running related note – I think my favorite distance is a half. I like longer distances but never like to train for races and halfs seem to suit me well as a longer distance with minimal training.


Joe Yoga

Name: Joseph Oleary

Current Location: New York City, NY

Picking up running when I did (three years ago, a few months shy of my 39th birthday) is, I imagine, to the outside observer, clearly a response to me quitting smoking in conjunction with some sort of midlife crisis event. The simple explanation is that I just switched my obsession with smoking over to running. Internally, the narrative is slightly different; it’s true I did get my act together around three years ago –  but because I’d found myself at a point where I felt I had failed my responsibilities to both my social bonds and my art. To make an long story short, I came to the conclusion that the problem was literally, physically, me. I lacked the constitution to create a consistent and stable mental state through which I could repair those bonds and fulfill those responsibilities.

I tried a lot of things. I did yoga. I lifted weights. I cycled. I enjoyed them all but nothing stuck.

Except running.

Running made sense to me immediately. Running was a profoundly personal experience when I needed time to commune with my literal mind and body. Words like “God” or “spiritual” describe the feel, but don’t account for the physicality of it.  Running revealed inside me intense joy at a time I’d figured the well had run dry. But I wasn’t lacking anything. What I needed was a fresh coat of awe thrown over everything. Running did that.

Everything I read recommended to beginners a program called Couch to 5k. When I finished that program, I found a 5k to run. I wanted to beat my time, so I ran another, and beat it. Then I did Bridge to 10k. When I finished that, I found a 10k to run. Along the course, I saw people taking photos, so I looked on facebook the next day for photos tagged at the event. Some guy named Dave Johnson had one of me near the finish. I went to his profile and found he had a running group that did Monday workouts. So that night I went to my first TMIRCE track workout. You know the rest.


Chris Ho

Name: Christopher Ho

Current Location: Upper West Side, New York

I found TMIRCE by…

I was by myself at the east river track when I stumbled upon TMIRCE and the best track workout ever. Since then my life has been forever changed, forever.

I love TMIRCE and have every intention of naming my first born after the group. I have met some of the most important people in my life, one of them is my fiance. I have challenged myself more than I thought I could with TMIRCE. More importantly, I have given more “yeah buddies” and high fives to anybody and everybody.

Why “Santa Maria”?

I don’t really know anything about the actual ship. But I yell it out loud just because I liked yelling it during the Columbus Day track workout in 2014. Dave Johnson made us do three different distance intervals – the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.


Jiheng Huang

Name: Jiheng Huang

Location: New York City, NY

I found TMIRCE by…

Riding the subway with fellow TMIRCE runners Jerry and Zoran! It was New Year’s Day this year and we were on our way to Coney Island to participate in the ‘Polar Bear Plunge’! They kindly introduced me to the group. I was shocked when I found out sometimes they do a morning workout then run in the evening after work! I thought “Two workouts in a day? These people are crazy! Let’s run together crazy in the New Year”

The reason I stuck with TMIRCE…

This group makes running a habit. All those smiley faces make training or exercising a fun event to enjoy, instead of a painful process to go through. Oh, and I love the ongoing virtual race around New York State! We are team Road Llamas!

This coming Sunday (October 9th) I will be running my first race after moving to New York, the Staten Island Half Marathon. I know a lot of informal runners will be there, smiling and giving high fives!