The New and Old Runners of the Wild
Intro by Mack Robertson
There is something uniquely special about sharing a run with someone. The act of running with others has a way of drawing out conversations from even the most introverted of people. In the last 7 years I have gone from having nearly no friends who are passionate about running to having a friend group of trail runners who will happily wake up at 4am on a Saturday to drive out into the middle of nowhere for a long jaunt in the woods.
It started with the Runners of the Wild.
When I first got into running around 2014, I didn’t have any friends who ran and I lacked direction. My wife had convinced me to sign up for a road 15k and I found it absolutely brutal. I was living in the St Johns neighborhood of Portland, just across the Willamette River from miles and miles of trail in Forest Park. Despite my proximity to some incredible trails, I was still regularly pounding pavement with my primary route consisting of dodging semi trucks running an industrial sidewalk through Swan Island. It wasn’t that I had an aversion to trail, I just didn’t really know trail running was a thing.
In 2016 my wife and I decided to join Runners of the Wild, a running group created by Territory Run Co. Immediately we began connecting with other local runners for group runs, learning more and more about local trails and races. We joined trailwork parties put on by Runners of the Wild. We went to weeknight meetups at local breweries.
Slowly but surely we started to feel a community growing around us. Through Runners of the Wild I found a group of like-minded people who were more than willing to share their wisdom with someone new to the trails.
It’s no accident that I now work for Territory. In fact, Thomas Hayes, our warehouse manager, joined Runners of the Wild around the time that I did and was someone I’d met through the group. When a position opened up at Territory, Thomas recommended me for the job. I started at Territory last year right as we launched our annual “Run Team”. What struck me over this past year was that Run Team just didn’t have the same feeling as the Runners of the Wild I had joined. Coming out of a period where group runs and meetups were on hold due to the pandemic made it feel like we had lost the community vibe along the way.
Today we are changing the name of our Run Team back to its original name with the spirit that was the reason for its creation– to connect like-minded everyday runners.
We have been reviewing how Run Team was playing out the last few years and came to the decision that it didn’t represent what we truly designed it to be. It had become about how to make it grow for the success of the business instead of making the goal to bring more value to people's lives above gear and material goods.
We asked ourselves, how can we have the most impact? It was clear that an international community stretched us too thin.
So here is a little preview of what we have developed for 2023.
Everyone who has even been a member will have member access and the ability to connect with the group through Slack.
Anyone in the world can sign up however we will be narrowing our focus in terms of location in order to create the best chance for a growing community.
We will be making Portland, OR our priority with in person events like movie nights, pub hang outs and group runs.
We will be offering a Runners of the Wild Weekend in Portland featuring group runs and meetups each evening.
We will also host a summer camp out and hope to make our St. Helens Run Camp the biggest Runners of the Wild gathering ever.
More details are on the way in the coming weeks.
Runners of the Wild is a group of people who identify with feeling wild running on the trails, they feel a sense of belonging out there, a sense of true self that they don’t ordinarily feel in everyday hustle of life. We have a mission to connect people who share these values.