GlenGlen Run Crew inspires the start of a “Run Crew” in Norway
The Chicago Area Runners Association is always proud to welcome new members and participants to our events and programs. Our goal is to provide as many accessible opportunities to runners as possible, and that’s exactly how Lisa Sølvberg found her way to CARA.
Working on her PHD, Lisa and her family came to Chicago for the first 6 months of the year and she was keen on finding a running club to join during her time here. Before getting to the US, she researched Chicago running clubs, and quickly realized CARA was central for Chicago runners. Through our website, she was able to find the various Run Crews that we have.
CARA Run Crews are a part of our ‘Go Run™ mission based program, which aims to provide affordable (free) and accessible opportunities to train and race. We have six Run Crew locations in different neighborhoods of Chicago, where groups meet for weekly runs.
Knowing where she would be staying, Lisa discovered the GlenGlens meet every week nearby. From there, she just showed up! Because that’s exactly how easy it is to join. The group loved getting to know Lisa and welcoming her on the weekly Thursday runs for six months.
When asked about the difference in the Chicago running scene from that of Norway, Lisa explained she had never run with a group before. Voss, Norway is much smaller than Chicago and Norwegians are a bit more shy and quiet.
"Voss, Norway is much smaller than Chicago and Norwegians are a bit more shy and quiet"..."I joined the GlenGlens and I enjoyed the conversations and friendships a lot. It’s something about the mix of quiet mornings, endorphins and running that makes it easy to form good friends…plus the miles go by so much quicker!"
That was something she wanted to see if she could find in Norway as well.
Returning to her home in Voss, Lisa sent a group text to everyone she knew in her town that could be interested in meeting up for a group run. People began to add others to the chat and soon the idea had spread. She made a plan to meet at 6 a.m., and in true GlenGlen style, stopped and waited at a second meeting point at 6:20 a.m. and took a group photo.
Expecting only a couple people to show, she was thrilled by the turnout. The desire to run with a group to be active and make friends was clearly needed by more than just Lisa, as new faces showed up and someone drove 20 minutes to join. The group had a lot of fun, invited people running solo to join as they passed, and even gave themselves a name that represents meeting at the corner of Vangsgata and Gullfjordungsvegen; VangsGull. Vang(en) is their city center and Gull means gold.
Since their first group run on August 17th, Lisa has found that her initial suspicions of Norwegians as shy and quiet has been challenged. The Norwegian running club members are fun, loud, and very outgoing, and she shares that many new friendships are being formed!
It goes without saying that this is the kind of impact Chicago Area Runners Association aims to have on runners everywhere. We strive to be inclusive and offer opportunities for individuals to race, train, learn, volunteer, and be social. It is touching to know that when we can’t extend those opportunities as far as a place like Norway, our efforts can inspire others, like Lisa, to make an impact where they live. Commenting on Lisa’s initiative was GlenGlen Run Crew leader Darren DeMatoff:
“When Lisa first talked about bringing this experience home with her, it made all of us feel so happy and proud. We get so much joy, support, and satisfaction out of our connections, and we couldn’t wait to hear about Lisa’s experience with setting this up back home.”
“Now each week when she sends us their run picture, our hearts sing! It is amazing how running can bring people together and transform what we think we’re capable of.”
So what is next for VangsGull and the GlenGlens? Well, the Chicago crew may be talking about future travel plans to Norway for a marathon trip. Sounds like lifelong friendships formed by runners inspiring runners.