Monday, July 22, 2013

Membership has its privileges (and issues)


Last week I received a mailing from my old company, inviting me to join their alumni association. This offer was packaged like a wedding invitation, with a tasteful note along with the requisite response card. The value proposition was tempting, but I chose to decline, just as I have each time I've received solicitations from my high school and college alumni groups.

I mention this because I've recently thought about joining GLIRC, the local running club in Long Island that boasts a membership in the thousands. I usually enjoy running with other people, but I also find solo runs very fulfilling. But just like alumni groups, I can never bring myself to sign up.

I first wrote about joining a running club four years ago. At that time (and ever since) I've dismissed the idea. I wrote that, while I liked to run with others, it was, "mostly because [they've been] discreet events: assemble, run, depart. No barbecues, fund raisers, meetings, bylaws or committees. I'm not saying these things aren't great, they're just not for me."

It may be worth re-thinking running clubs now that I have a little more discretionary time. Perhaps there's an option to just do meetup runs, with no further obligation to participate in club activities. In that case, I might be tempted. Especially if they send me a nicely worded invitation in the mail.

4 comments:

  1. GLIRC is kind of interesting in that on one level, membership is like joining NYRR. It's a huge organization, and is probably behind most of the races on LI. You do get discounts to a number of events, which is nice, and their monthly running magazine "Footnotes" is great. They do send quite a bit of email, tho, but you might be able to decline being on the list if that's something you'd find annoying. (I admit to getting a little tired of all the messages recruiting volunteers, as much as I appreciate the need for them.)

    On another level, there is an actual "club" component to GLIRC, comprised of maybe 60-70 regulars who do track workouts, and wear the club singlets at races. I did one track workout with them- seemed like a nice group and great coach. The track (Plainview) is a bit out of my way, however, so I haven't gone back. There are other group runs at various places- "Footnotes" lists all the details. You're not under any obligation to go to any of them. Also, the membership dues are the same for everyone- it's up to you if you decide to become part of the more competitive "team". (So far, I haven't).

    Another suggestion re group runs- Meetup.com has a few local running groups that are no fee/obligation. People just post when/where they are going, and anyone else who is interested in the run posts an "rsvp".

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    1. Thanks Carla! Earlier in the year (or perhaps in December) I'd seen a mention about an open GLIRC run that originated at their Plainview HQ. It seemed interesting, as there was no signup or prescribed route and runners could fall in with those who shared a similar pace. I ended up missing it because it was snowing hard that day. But that was the type of thing I'd like to do.

      I had actually looked at meetup.com but never found a match in my area. I guess it couldn't hurt to invest $35 to see what GLIRC offers.

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  2. I'm a member, and although I've not done any of the 'club' stuff yet, I do want to volunteer, take more pictures, and perhaps try the coaching on the track. I don't mind the emails.. they keep me on top of things I would normally forget to do like SIGN UP for races..and the magazine is a gem, IMHO.

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    Replies
    1. Well that's a good endorsement and I hadn't thought about the other benefits like coaching resources. I'm beginning to consider it. Thanks.

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