Runner Spotlight: 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.

Runner Spotlight: 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.

Runner Spotlight: 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.

Runner Spotlight: 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.

Runner Spotlight: 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.

Runner Spotlight: 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.

Runner Spotlight: 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!

Runner Spotlight: Brittany Lewis

Name: Brittany Lewis

Current Location: New York City, NY

I stumbled across TMIRCE last summer after receiving a Meetup email that advertised a track workout that would be followed by a pizza delivery. I hadn’t been to a track since my freshman year of high school, where I ran the 600m and finished last in every race. But I am a professional student and will do just about anything for free/cheap pizza. I don’t remember the workout at all, but the food was good and I figured I should just keep coming back. (We haven’t done the pizza thing since, hint hint…)

High school track stardom notwithstanding, I pursued no athletic endeavors during and after college, and last summer I still considered myself a recent convert to running. Changing my lifestyle came about because of a variety of factors, but one of the most important influences is my mother. She suffers from a disease called rheumatoid arthritis, which prevents her from doing any repetitive activity like walking beyond about a half mile. It’s been rough on both her physical and mental health, but she still makes an effort to enjoy being active as much as her body allows. It seemed wasteful for me, a completely healthy person, to be ignoring my good fortune by sitting at a desk all day. Long story short – I got hooked on running rather quickly and started testing out some of the local workout groups in the city. When I showed up at TMIRCE I knew that these were people who shared my newly discovered enthusiasm.

Running for me isn’t about competing against others or about PR’ing at every race. It’s about enjoying being active, exploring our city/country/world by foot, and sharing unique experiences with like-minded people. Running is a privilege that I hope to never take for granted. Running for high fives and positive attitudes and sweat and beer and brunch (plus so much more!) is why I’ll keep coming back to TMIRCE every week.

Runner Spotlight: Laura Baldwin

Name: Laura

Current Location: New York City, New York

I found TMIRCE by…

Attending one of their happy hours in February of 2013. A friend of mine found TMIRCE on Meetup and asked me if I wanted to go to a happy hour with other runners. I was training for my first half marathon, so I figured it would be nice to meet some other people to run with and maybe make some new friends (spoiler alert – I made a lot of new friends!)

I remember thinking “well, if it sucks, we can just leave.” It didn’t suck and I’ve been a part of TMIRCE ever since.


Runner Spotlight: Pam Kavalam

Name: Pamela Kavalam

Current Location: Astoria, New York

About a year ago, a friend recommended the Rise (TMIRCE’s sister morning workout group) to me. I spent last summer looking at all the amazing photos and fun posts on their Facebook page while being too scared to hang with these super fit, smiley people.

I finally got the courage to join when I saw that TMIRCE was starting a 6 week Beginner Run series in November. My friend Hillit and I joined the first session and were greeted by the amazing and encouraging Rachel Cochran and a bunch of TMIRCE regulars. They talked us through the basics of running, led a challenging but doable 2 mile jog (I had never run more than a mile without walking before!), and then we all got to know each other over pickle backs.

By the end of the series, we had formed our own “cohort” and branched out to the Friday hills workout, the Sunday foodie runs, Monday night track, etc. It was really nice to know that I had a buddy around my pace. I also started cross-training with the Rise in the morning and my next goal is the elusive “Rise to Five” (doing all five 6:30 am workouts in a week).

In the past year, I’ve shaved minutes off of my mile pace, given out a ridiculous amount of high fives, and met some of the most inspiring, friendly and wonderful people EVER. If you don’t consider yourself a runner but have been curious to try it out, definitely try out the Beginner Run and soon you’ll be hooked!