the no excuses run club

We came together in a circle on the seawall. It was a Tuesday morning in March and the sun wasn’t up yet. Vancouver was still holding on to the ends of winter. It was cold.

Running hurts my knees.

It’s boring.

I don’t have time to run.

I’m not a morning person.

vancouver running club
The seawall at 7 a.m. - still kinda dark

Each person spoke and we went around the circle until every one of us had laid out our nasty, invented, but very real excuses. And this is how the inaugural meeting of the No Excuses Run Club began.

A few weeks earlier, our CEO Christine had posted an invitation to all employees to join her on the seawall and learn to run. Bring your excuses, it said. I RSVPed on a whim. The next day, full of memories about 12-minute runs around the track in high school, I was full of regret. What have I done? I thought. I don’t run.

And it’s true. Until the No Excuses Run Club, I hadn’t ran. Walking, hiking, cycling and yoga were my movements of choice. I thought that the peace I found on my mat could never be replicated by lacing up sneakers and pounding my feet on pavement. Running looked painful.

stretching before vancouver run club
Paula stretching it out after a run.

On the first day of run club after all excuses had been revealed, our run coach Garry led our group through a mix of running and walking intervals. As we wound our way around the seawall, the sun rose over the North Shore mountains and runners of all levels passed us in both directions. Some of them said good morning or nodded; others did not. I started to feel a twinge of something familiar, something I usually feel after a yoga class: a sense of community.

For the next two months we met rain or shine, and “no excuses” became my mantra when my alarm went off and I considered sleeping for an extra hour instead of heading out into the early morning.

no excuses running club in vancouver
Post-run stretching in the rain. Rain = no excuse.

In April, the No Excuses Run Club signed up for our first run: the 5 km Earth Run at Jericho Beach. It was my first run ever and I was extremely nervous the day before, fretting over what to eat and drink (but not what to wear! ;)), so that I could have the best run ever the next day. But as I ran along the pathway with all the other runners, I realized I had fretted for nothing. This run wasn’t about time, racing, or personal bests. Everyone was there together, for a common purpose. And I felt it again: community.

running club in vancouver, bc
No Excuses Run Club member, Randy, at the Earth Run finish line!

It’s now June, and the No Excuses Run Club still meets weekly on the seawall, where Garry leads us on different routes around the area with increasingly longer intervals. Do I still wake up and think about choosing my bed over running? Yes. But something gets me dressed and out the door, bed head and all. Will I ever be a marathon runner? Probably not. But I am beginning to understand why people run. I like the feeling of my body being pushed to its maximum potential and finding my edge -- the same edge we experiment with in yoga class. As for my original excuse: is running painful? I've learned that some days are easier than others, but that if you feel pain when running, you're doing something wrong. And good run or bad run, I always feel amazing for the rest of the day.

the run club in vancouver, canada
The No Excuses Run Club. We're hard to miss.

Thank you to Christine for inviting us to run, Garry for leading us through the good times and the bad, and everyone that's run with us for shared words of encouragement, early morning jokes, and lots of high-fives.

I challenge you to invite someone in your life to a yoga class, on a run, or to wherever it is you find happiness. You can change someone’s life with an invitation, and it doesn’t cost a thing.

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great initiative and a good experience for all of you guys. I hope every one finds his or her love for the road and continues to run in good health.

Comment by marathon training — June 17, 2010 @ 3:23 am

Beautiful words, Alana. I couldn’t agree more. Good run or bad run, it still leaves you feeling great. And the occassional post-run trip to the greasy diner isn’t bad either. :)

Comment by Elissa Joy — June 18, 2010 @ 10:18 am

Alana, thanks for capturing the essense of the No More Excuses Run Club!! I had many excuses not to run but now there is not a better way to start my day than running with my buddies like you. Rain or shine, you always smile. I invite anyone who has an excuse not to run to join us!!

Comment by Randy Kanigan — June 18, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

This sounds amazing! .. Exactly what I need, actually. How do I join?? :)

Comment by Jen — June 21, 2010 @ 10:18 am

So true! this is a great post! makes me motivated to go out and run in the mornings more often…!

Comment by Alyssa — June 21, 2010 @ 10:59 am

Great motivation, I wish I was on the coast to join you all! I have to say though, here in Banff when some mornings it’s -20C or more, that is a pretty darn good excuse! ;)

Comment by Stephanie — June 21, 2010 @ 11:28 am

thanks for the inspiring article, not just to run but to LIVE!

Comment by bob — June 21, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

I wish I was there to join you too but it is still motivation to get past my own excuses when the alarm goes off at 5am!

Comment by Amberley — June 21, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

Check all the excuses at the door! I love the name of this run club and it’s a great reminder to just run.

Comment by Shawna — June 21, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

Hey Lulu Lovers! I love this idea and for anyone on Nike Run, created a challenge called the “Lululemon ‘No Excuses’ Summer Run Club”. We can all run virtually with each other. :)

Comment by Angie — June 22, 2010 @ 9:32 am

That photo of Randy warms my heart! Love everything about this :)

Comment by Alexis — June 30, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

Love it! Any plans to start the NO Excuses Run Club for Spring 2011. It’s amazing to be motivated and inspired by others during your early AM runs.

Comment by Lana — April 2, 2011 @ 11:05 am

Is there going to be a “No Excuses Run Club” 2011 ?? I could really use it! No excuses is just what I need, but I have no one to help motivate, inspire and push me. Is it going to be happening again any time this year?

Comment by Jen — July 28, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

Hey Jen,

All of our stores put on their own events and clubs independently. I would definitely recommend popping into your local store to have a chat with them about joining or starting a “No Excuses Run Club!”

Good luck!

~ Jordan
GEC Online Community

Comment by GEC Online Community — July 29, 2011 @ 11:21 am

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