This past week I asked myself, what four words would I use to describe the LRC Nebraska organization? While this is definitely not an all-inclusive list, it includes several important facets of our organization and the principles we strive toward. When I talk with prospective athletes about the LRCN team, I find myself regularly using the words Flexibility and Opportunity.
Flexibility - Some of our athletes have competed at the collegiate level. Most of them are wanting to pursue running goals they have set for themselves. All of them have something other than running in their lives. We have moms/dads, med school students, public accountants and undergrads represented on our team, and every single person has something going on in their life that is (and should be) more important than running. There will be days when getting that run in just isn't possible, and I want every single person on our team to realize that those days are OK. I think that runners put a lot of pressure on themselves to run every day or at a certain level, but one day is not going to make or break the training cycle.
Opportunity - The sole objective of our organization is to provide opportunities. Opportunities to run races, meet people or support those in our community. These opportunities can only be provided through the support we receive from our sponsors (Lincoln Marathon/Lincoln Track Club and Lincoln Running Co./Ann Ringlein). I use the word opportunity because it requires an action from each of our members. The opportunity is just an offer, but everyone has to take an action if they want to reap the full benefit of our group.
Now, as I take a step back and think about what I want LRC Nebraska to be known for, I think about some of the things we have dealt with in the running community this past decade that I DON'T want to be associated with our group. After reflecting on those negatives, I want our group to be known for our Positivity and Community.
Positivity - We want to be positive. We want to be encouraging. We want to be realistic. I think you can do all three at once. There's no need to focus on the things we can't do or can't be, but we choose to focus that which we can control. I will never qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon (or any other event, for that matter), but it sure isn't going to keep me from going out for a run every now and again! There is something between that high level of running and being out of the sport completely, and I see it as my job to convince people that such a thing is true.
Community - While some are faster than others, no one is better than someone else. I can tell you that our three Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers like going for an easy run or talking shop with just about anyone. We are all just regular people who enjoy the sport of running, what it can do for us and where it can take us. I saw a tweet this year from Hal Higdon that said "...no matter how fast or slow, we are all runners". It is this type of community we are attempting to build in eastern Nebraska, starting with the organization culture of LRC Nebraska. We want to continue to encourage this community growth through various events, including two of the distance track nights we have put on this fall!
Flexibility. Opportunity. Positivity. Community.
Not all-inclusive for who we are and what we do, but a good place to start.