Saturday, June 11, 2016

Vowing Against The Clique

I don't know how many of you read Justin's open letter to the running community a few days ago, but it seems as though after he hit publish the flood gates were opened with people's opinions about the running community {both positive and negative}... And some specifically about #WeRunSocial.

Now, I know I mention WRS a lot on my blog, but in case you are new to these parts, let me give you a brief rundown. The idea came from the 2015 Phoenix Marathon. Some of us were running the race and started using the hashtag #ItsGoingDownAtPHX (it's a downhill course and of course we also meant the party was "going down" too). We began noticing that even folks who weren't running the race were starting to use the hashtag in their posts. Well, Brian (Pavement Runner) had always wanted to start a running 'crew' and it seemed like it might be perfect timing. My hubby helped with the graphic and through word of mouth and the power of social media this all-inclusive running family was born. [PS Head to Pavey's post who spells out the in's and out's much more eloquently than me... But just know the ONLY criteria is to "be good people" - period! There is no application to fill out, no speed or distance requirements, if you run and enjoy social media then you are already a part of #WeRunSocial!]


Well, I've gotta be honest that I was SHOCKED when I saw some folks saying that they felt WRS was a clique. The main premise behind the 'team' is that everyone and anyone is welcome! As long as you aren't a douche you can totally come kick it with us! And I think since I have so many amazing friends who rep WRS it was a bit of a blow to the gut to hear that it was being perceived as the exact opposite of what is intended.

But if people feel it, even if it isn't the majority, their opinions need to be given weight and taken into account.

If you have ever felt like the WRS crew was 'clique-y' I want to say a sincere "I'm sorry", especially if I in any way played a part in that feeling. There is a fine line between spending time with your friends who live across the country and you only see at a few races a year and making others feel unwelcome or excluded... And apparently we haven't been toeing the line as well as I thought. So, for that, I need to offer an honest apology!


So, right now, I am taking a VOW to stand AGAINST the clique! Now that it has been brought to my attention I am going to do my bestest to make everyone feel included and 'a part of' whenever and however I can (I thought I was doing this before, but I plan to put extra effort in since it seems as though I have fallen a bit short of perfection).

And again, I am truly sorry if anything I have done in the past has made you feel alienated. There is no "in-group" or "cool kids table"... if you run, you are a runner, and if you are a runner, then #WeRunSocial! Everyone is welcomed with open arms... And I'm not just saying that, I want each and every one of us to FEEL that!

What is your best tip on helping others feel welcomed into a group for the first time?

13 comments:

RatherBeRunnin said...

Hi Carly, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read this post. I know personally, I have wanted to attend a WRS meet up for quite some time, but was anxious about walking into a room where I didnt know anyone. But, that was my own personal hang up. I will tell you that all of my perceptions and hang ups were lit on fire and tossed in the trash when I went to he WRS meet up in San Diego after RnR. I realized how incredibly welcoming and kind the crew actually is. I would encourage people to actually attend a meet up and give the crew a shot BEFORE making any judgments or assumptions (you know what they say about assumptions). I have a feeling that once they go to a meet up, they will feel the love and want to be apart of it in the future. ... Atleast that's my story.

Jill Barnes said...

Such a fine line, indeed! I have been on/off a leadership team with a moms group for the last 6yrs. It's easy to jump into conversation with people you already know, especially when you don't see each other face to face often. I have to make intentional effort to avoid the easy conversations. When I co-hosted a WRS meetup in Atlanta I tried to be very cautious of the same line. I had friends coming to the event I don't see often yet I knew I needed to meet new friends. It helped that we had planned meals together to visit beyond the WRS meetup too. All you can do is be aware and try your best.

Coach Henness said...

Interesting read. Seems to me that if you draw a circle and say, "This is who we are, come join us in this circle." - there are always going to be people who only feel hurt that they're outside the circle and never respond to the invitation to jump in. I'm friends (online and IRL) with a lot of the WRS tribe but I don't engage with it much myself. Never thought of it as a clique...until I read this and then I can see what you mean. All you WRS folk have done a great job building your tribe. I know firsthand that takes a lot of time and energy to build a community and keep conversation going between those who are already "in". So much so that you might kind of unintentionally engage less with those outside the community. It's kind of natural I think.

Denise said...

I am a wannabe runner and I've never felt like WRS is a clique. I am proud of y'all and love watching your accomplishments. Keep being inspirations!!

Stephanie Abdon said...

you rock my socks ;)

My No-Guilt Life said...

Awww, dang Carlee. I'm sorry you felt attacked. I've also been accused of being stand offish or rude in gatherings, and it hurts to hear, especially since it's never the intention. EVER. I'm just a bit more gregarious online than I am off! It's why I roll in the online world, you know? Like Jill said, it's easier to gravitate to those we know already. Anyway, I can understand why some people may have those feelings, and I love that you are listening to them, and trying to make a difference in the perception. You rock for this classy response.

rashana Wells said...

I've never heard this or felt this way :) I'm over in the Midwest and have never been able to meet up with others but hope to some day :) The feel I get is just what Brian stated its mission was. The running community is the best! Social media and in person.

FitnessFatale said...

I was just a bit confused about what the group actually meant but we showed up to the meet up in San Diego anyway and everyone was really nice! It was definitely a little intimidating since it seemed like most knew each other but we tried to just jump in. I personally know that I am a little shy and I have to be super cautious about coming off bitchy so hopefully it didn't come off they way! Anyway the vibe I've gotten from you in blogging and in person is that you're very welcoming !!

Daisy Gomez said...

I'll be honest. I had seen Instagram posts about it and thought it was a running clique but not in a bad way (if that makes any sense). I didn't know it was open to others but I follow a few of you on Instagram so I knew you guys are friendly. I've never gone to a meet up but it is out of pure intimidation on my part. It's also the same reason I haven't joined any running clubs. Keep on doing what you are doing!

Carleeh said...

Omgosh first I love WRS. Second, I just love you. I love that you keep it real. When I first found WRS, I was intimidated, simply because i am not a marathoner/natural runner. But WRS is very welcoming, specifically Brian and you. You both have been pretty amazing to me and welcoming. Though with that being said I have come a cross a few who don't but hey not everybody has to like everybody right?!? Being that I am not a marathoner and am not a everyday runner, I get that from many communities. But honestly, I am about people, relationships, and encouragement so it doesnt bother me one bit if people who dont engage with me, well dont engage with me. I love people, specifically women who are learning to love themselves and find their strong ( whatever that is) and dont require them to be into everything I am. No prerequisites here either. I gotta say I dont see any negatives to WRS. If you dont put in motivation and community effort, it is kinda hard to expect it back. I love that you all get together and have fun and support eachothers journey's. It is real hard to find people that go out of their way to be a part of our lives and when you do there is absolutely not reason to limit that to make others feel "cozy". Usually people often feel left out if they dont get invited, but with an open invitation...thats their own ego working against them. I cant imagine anyone feeling left out or denied. I mean most of us are internet friends, and sometimes when you meet someone in person it just doesnt click. Thats okay, there is always others! Passion and motivation should be the goal anyways! I love that no matter where you go, you invite others to "get down" because truthfully these lives we live are worth celebrating and so are each mile we log!

I cant wait to hang out with you all next week in my town!

The only question I have is...what sock are you guys all wearing and hopefully I own it!

Emily said...

Very open & honest post, hopefully this will help with any misconceptions. I guess just keep mentioning here & there that this is intended for all: new & old (to running) / fast & who-cares-the speed / indiv & groups, etc. No question you are the real deal & very approachable. Please remember there is no perfection so while we can all strive to be our best, you can't expect "perfection" of yourself, unless it's defined as "not flawless (!!), almost always trying my hardest, yet knowing I can't please everyone all the time." It's always helpful for us to remind each other to be real, accepting of our own imperfections, and overall POSITIVE people! Running fosters positivity, so do you, so does WRS ! *** t h a n k y o u ***
p.s. Justin Stone is great, so great to respond re. the madness

Shannon said...

Carlee, first off, love you girl. We have yet to meet in person, but I can tell how amazing you are.
That said, I NEVER thought WRS was anything but an open community for all runners. It saddens me to hear that some thought of it as a clique. It is unfortunate that you have to apologize for that. The running community is awesome, period. Especially the running community online. I love everyone so much and only feel WRS strengths that bond amoung us.

runlaugheatpie said...

I'm not sure you will allow my comment to be published but here goes: I DO feel like it's a clique. I HAVE tried to connect with you and several others, especially because some of us are on the Rock'n'Blog team together. I disagreed with you on something I felt you were being negative about suddenly I was no longer welcome in your world. I'm not a "douche" (I don't know who gets to decide in WRS who is a "douche" or not), in fact I'm actually a very nice and kind person. And I've been blogging for a very long time. Since many WRS bloggers came to RnB I've had the feeling that it's not fun anymore for those of us who weren't a part of your group. I have tried to connect and comment on social media blogs, etc. Not one of you has been to my blog. I notice because I'm not a "popular" blogger.

All that said, I'm OK with it, with your group and with whatever it is that you do. I know that having meet ups can be fantastic and it's super nice to see people you only maybe see once or twice a year at a favorite race. I get the social bit because I run with a club in my hometown that has 2 sister clubs that I'm more than welcome to join whenever I'm in their city. I know a lot of runners from all over the world and I enjoy meeting new people. So you have every right to defend your group. And I'm certain the intention of the group was not to be a clique, but from the outside, from someone simply not even allowed to play in your sandbox, it does feel that way.

Have a nice day Carlee and at least don't stop being you. Lord knows I am not going to stop being me.