Tribe Run Crew, Toronto

Toronto’s Tribe Run Crew started with five solo run­ners meet­ing up be­cause of a sin­gle Tweet. To­day, the down­town com­mu­nity con­nects thou­sands of run­ners on so­cial me­dia, and dur­ing weekly runs

Canadian Running - - CONTENTS - By Caela Fen­ton

Say what you want about so­cial me­dia – that we’re all be­com­ing slaves to the likes, glued to our phones, con­di­tioned to re­spond to a beep from our pocket im­me­di­ately – but some­times, some­thing re­ally beau­ti­ful can hap­pen through it. Tribe Run Crew was born out of sin­gle tweet in 2013, when avid run­ner, cy­clist and yoga in­struc­tor Heather Gard­ner asked if any­one wanted to join her for a run. Five peo­ple met her at the red ca­noe in Ca­noe Land­ing Park in Toronto. Now, Tribe has well over 2,000 fol­low­ers on Face­book and Gard­ner has opened a phys­i­cal stu­dio space to sup­port the group’s meet-ups and of­fer cy­cling and yoga classes. The run crew, how­ever, re­mains free of charge. Prior to open­ing the phys­i­cal stu­dio space, Tribe was av­er­ag­ing 150 free work­outs per year, most of which were lead by Gard­ner her­self, and oc­ca­sion­ally, a fel­low yoga-in­struc­tor friend. The group now part­ners with Canada Run­ning Se­ries to of­fer a couch-to-5k pro­gram, in which mem­bers of the crew men­tor new run­ners. When Keri Wong be­gan run­ning in 2015, she ran ex­clu­sively by her­self. She’d seen Tribe run­ning along Toronto’s wa­ter­front trails, and no­ticed the group on so­cial me­dia. By 2017, she was ready to try out run­ning with other peo­ple. “I al­most talked my­self out of go­ing,” she ad­mits. “It was a Satur­day morn­ing 10k fol­lowed by brunch. But I told my­self, ‘ just show up.’ Now, a year later, those run-to-brunches just make my Satur­day morn­ings. I feel like I don’t just be­long to a run­ning com­mu­nity, I also feel like I be­long more to the com­mu­nity that I live in.”

In Septem­ber, Wong will be trav­el­ling to Ger­many with other mem­bers of Tribe to run the Berlin Marathon.

Ravi Singh also found com­mu­nity through Tribe, though ad­mit­tedly, kind of by ac­ci­dent.

“When I first got into run­ning in 2012, I’d only run a few races, in­clud­ing a half-marathon in 2013. But I’d heard about the Around the Bay 30k and re­ally wanted to do it – only I had no idea how to work up to that dis­tance.” Singh had started fol­low­ing a lot of run­ners on Twit­ter and saw some­one post­ing about Tribe. “I ended up join­ing them for an 18-kilo­me­tre run on the Martin Good­man Trail in crazy wind when it was not re­ally plowed,” Singh says. From that mo­ment, he was com­mit­ted to the group.

Singh rec­om­mends that run­ners who are think­ing about try­ing out a crew ask them­selves what they’re hop­ing for out of a group.

“Stay open-minded,” says Singh. “Maybe it’s a fit, maybe it’s not. Know who you are as a run­ner and what you want out of a group. If you’re a be­gin­ner run­ner want­ing sup­port, look for that. If you’re in it for im­prove­ment, look for some­thing more per­for­mance-based. What do you want – com­mu­nity? com­pany? proper train­ing?” A crew, he says, can of­fer all those things. Caela Fen­ton is a staff writer at Cana­dian Run­ning.

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