I have a confession to make. I kind of love Twitter (find me @BTBogtrotters). And by kind of, I mean totally. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it in passing here on occasion, but I guess it’s time to put any doubts to rest. I’m not going to do an entire write up on how to use Twitter or why you should or anything like that, but I think it would be useful to explain one of my favourite aspects of Twitter – and that is the chats. Some people call them “tweet ups”, but whatever you call them, they are a whole mess load of fun.
When I first decided to dive in to Twitter, I wasn’t sure exactly how I would connect with other runners. I figured just searching for people who use running related words in their tweets or hashtags was as good a place as any to start. Just by searching for “running” or “marathon” was an easy starting point and seeing what these first few people I found were doing helped me expand who I followed pretty quickly.
One of the first things I noticed was that people were using various hashtags with the word “chat” in them. Exploring this a little further, I found out that many runners participate in regular Twitter chats. Some of the chats are small and regional, while others are HUGE and have dozens and dozens of participants from all over the world participating. Most chats occur weekly or bi-weekly at a regular time and have a theme such as nutrition, new experiences, recovery from injuries and so on.
The two main things I have learned from participating in these chats on a fairly regular basis are 1) There is a LOT of great information out there and 2)The running community in general (and Twitter is no exception) is VERY generous. The knowledge I have gained from people on Twitter has been fantastic, but the relationships I’ve formed have been truly amazing.
The foundation of relationships is common ground and mutual understanding. This doesn’t mean that you have to live the same lives and hold the same opinions on every topic. What it does mean is that you have shared experiences, faced some of the same challenges and respect the differences people have as well. Running is definitely a microcosm of that definition – whether you are getting ready for your first 5k ever or the veteran of 100 marathons, you’re a runner. That shared bond of training, achieving milestones and recovering from failure and heartbreak is the same, regardless of your level.
With that in mind, I decided that I wanted to talk more with runners from our part of the world on a regular basis and discuss things that may be unique (or at least more common) to Atlantic Canadians. A few weeks back, I created a second Twitter handle @RunAtCan and decided to give it a go. Every Sunday night at 8pm AST, I tweet out a few questions of the topic of the week and encourage runners from all over to answer the questions and share their knowledge. There have been regularly about 20 participants, mainly from Atlantic Canada, but also from other provinces and states.
It’s been a really great way to help runners from our part of the world to meet each other, get great tips on racing and training and to expand our running community between communities and provinces. I’ve also been lucky enough to get a couple of the chats sponsored and been able to have some neat giveaways to randomly picked chatters – including Rumble Drink, Anointment Natural Skin Care and a free registration for Halifax Police Chase.
Hopefully, the chat will continue to grow and give some of the amazing runners from all over Atlantic Canada a chance to connect outside of race days. I’ve already been able to connect with some of my Twitter people in Fredericton and Halifax at the events there in May and look forward to meeting even more of the coming weeks and months. If you haven’t tried Twitter yet or don’t use it much, I really can’t say enough positive about it. What are your thoughts? Know of any other running related chats? Post any comments or questions below!