By: Brian Elder

When I traveled West this summer, one of the things that I remember most that was extremely different from the East Coast was fire. Fire is a major concern. Everywhere you drive there are signs with arrows all pointed to the red side of a meter that calls for extreme caution and fire danger. When driving through the center of Oregon there was an entire traffic stop made by police due to an ongoing wildfire. The danger is not just that it spreads, but that it spreads rapidly because conditions are right.

Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World Magazine, was on our Connect Run Club podcast and talked in detail about how running spreads. Not only how it spreads, but how it grabs the attention and devotion of people rapidly: “After that first race, the running community takes over and you’re hooked.”

Here is what I noticed about how running begins to spread?

1.       Running spreads when the conditions are right.

2.       Running spreads when we are passionate and care about a common goal.

3.       Running spreads when there is community involved.

This week I have a personal example of the fire spreading in my local running circle. I actually found a new group of runners just by chance. The fire started through a random connection with a guy I have competed against in local races and run sparingly throughout the year. On Monday he introduces me to two other friends he runs with regularly. Before I realize what is happening, we decide that we want to run together at the same time every day to get back in great shape. Four Runners. Tuesday on a run we find three other runners that they know and I had never met. Seven runners.  No sign of stopping. On Friday I expect an easy run to end the week and I find out that we are going to meet up with some other runners and after about a mile I see the entire University of Georgia Club team coming towards us. Fifteen Runners. This is what we expect to see happen when Connect Run Clubs launch in 2015! Connections and friendships that are made through the sport of running that ultimately point others to Christ. Running can spread like wildfire when the conditions are right, people are passionate about a common goal, and there is community involved. 

Brian Elder is a learner, amateur explorer, and nomadic runner that is going to run until it takes him somewhere. He is a senior at the University of Georgia studying English and Religion.  After running competitively on trails and roads, he fuels with an appetite so big you would swear it’s competitive.  Follow Brian on Instagram.