Ya­majo Run Crew, Montreal

In­clu­sion, brunch­ing and giv­ing back is the name of the game with the Ya­majo Run Crew

Canadian Running - - DEPARTMENTS - By Meg Lewis-Sch­nei­der Meg Lewis-Sch­nei­der is an elite run­ner and mar­keter liv­ing in Van­cou­ver.

Mem­bers of this Montreal-based club don’t what Ya­majo means, but its tagline “Crew Love” is what this group is all about. The crew be­gan in March, 2014, when two run­ners, David Joseph and Daphné Ex­an­tus, who, hav­ing com­pleted a Spar­tan Race, logged their mileage and posted their runs on so­cial me­dia for fun. Reach­ing new mile­stones, get­ting faster and the ca­ma­raderie dur­ing and af­ter runs mo­ti­vated Joseph and Ex­an­tus, so they kept go­ing, which ul­ti­mately led to the cre­ation of the Ya­majo Run Crew. “Ya­majo” thrives on in­clu­sion, em­brac­ing ev­ery kind of run­ner, from be­gin­ners to sea­soned speed­sters alike. Their weekly runs on Wed­nes­days and Satur­day are di­vided into two, some­times three groups to ac­com­mo­date vary­ing speeds and dis­tances. Every­one starts and ends to­gether. To get the full Ya­majo ex­pe­ri­ence, Satur­day post-run brunch is a must. Friend­ships form and strengthen as bar­ri­ers are bro­ken over brunch­ing. The Crew val­ues show­ing up for each other, no mat­ter what. This means cheer­ing from the side­lines at 6 am races, when you can’t race your­self, find­ing as much joy in a Ya­majo crew­mate’s suc­cess as your own, and pac­ing a Ya­majo crew mate to a PB in a marathon.

Look­ing back, Joseph says that it’s hard to be­lieve they ini­tially started out with no con­crete plan, other than a de­sire to be more like a fam­ily than a tra­di­tional run club. Since then, Ya­majo has de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion as a wel­com­ing com­mu­nity within the Montreal run­ning scene.

Be­yond pound­ing the pave­ment to­gether, Ya­majo Run Crew re­cently launched a part­ner­ship with the Lit­tle Bur­gundy Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Montreal. Kids play more typ­i­cal sports, such as bas­ket­ball, foot­ball and soc­cer at the cen­tre, but they also hike, camp, cre­ate art and pod­casts, all of which the chil­dren had never ex­pe­ri­enced un­til Ya­majo’s in­volve­ment. In ex­change, Ya­majo uses the Lit­tle Bur­gundy Com­mu­nity Cen­tre to meet as a group be­fore and af­ter runs.

Go­ing into their fifth year now, Ya­majo should con­tinue to make noise within Canada’s run­ning scene with their unique vibe and pos­i­tive im­pact in their com­mu­nity.

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