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It’s very easy to forget to appreciate things. It’s very easy to fall into new routines that start to feel like old routines, and forget that they weren’t always the case. It’s very easy to focus on everything we don’t have, don’t like, and don’t want.

I moved to Philly at the beginning of June. I had a vague intention of using running as a way to meet people here. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to go about that. I didn’t know there was such an amazing community of people running together in this city. I’m pretty sure that I came across the Run215 instagram account somehow, and that I saw that on their website they posted lists by weekday of running groups and when and where they met. I do know that I looked at those lists several times before I swallowed the hesitancy of shyness long enough to actually show up for a run. I don’t know why it was Fishtown Beer Runners that I chose to show up for. But I am very grateful that it was. I seem to have luckily stumbled my way into the tribe that kickstarted this whole amazing Philly running community, and that continues to anchor it. I was warmly welcomed from my first night running with the group. I never felt like an outsider, any more than I was intent on making myself one. After the run and some beers and some conversation and the weekly toast, David April came and chatted with me that night, found common ground, and pointed out some people who were also from New York.

In my few months running with FBR, I am certain that I have already made at least a few friends who I will keep for life. I don’t believe that there’s much more important in the world than that.  This community of people is a network in itself, constantly growing and morphing and living and celebrating. It’s also as many links to other networks and to the whole wider world, as it is members. Just about everybody seems to run with at least one other group; everybody’s running races or volunteering for them, or meeting for beers or brunch or hill repeats, or cheering on the newbies or the ultrarunners or the triathletes or the speed demons (or the FBR newlyweds!!!), or supporting each other through the ups and downs of their lives. FBR is a big enough tent to be able to welcome absolutely everybody, and small enough to feel like home.

There is something very special here. Whatever else you may or may not have going on in your life, if you’ve found your way here somehow, realize that you could be doing a whole lot worse. I’m aware of that. And I aim to stay very, very thankful.

— Jill Capel