Runners have a way of finding their “people”—The friends who cheer you on, geek out about PRs, and love the sport just as much as you do. There’s something special about that instant bond between runners.
10 years ago, David Hylton tapped into that phenomenon when he co-founded the #RunChat. We asked David, an avid runner and ROAD iD Ambassador, to share more about the massive #RunChat community and how you can be part of it. Ready to make a bunch of new running friends? Read on to find out how!
How would you describe #Runchat to someone who has never heard of it before?
It's a fun, wild hour-long chat on Twitter with hundreds of other like-minded people to talk about all things running. Everyone is welcome to come share their highs and lows of running, and to meet tons of new people. Many of those people will become life-long friends. I guarantee it!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how your running journey started?
I've been running since 2004— I started the year I got married with a goal to lose about 20 pounds for my wedding. I ended up losing 40 pounds that year. After I got married I signed up for my first race— a 4-miler in Lynchburg, Virginia, where I was living at the time. I actually ran a couple of years in high school— it was always something that was in the back of my mind as I got a little older and trying to figure out ways to lose weight after gaining so much during and after college. Outside of running, my wife and I now have three kids, who take up any "free" time I have.
Q2: Have you done (or are you currently doing) a run streak? What do you like/dislike about them? #RunChat— #RunChat 🏃 (@therunchat) May 25, 2020
You helped found #RunChat 10 years ago. What made you decide to start the #RunChat movement?
Scott Miles and I came up with the idea for #RunChat after taking part in another fitness-related chat. We took our conversation offline, did some research to see what was out there and then came up with that hashtag, which had only been used randomly a few times before that.
#RunChat has grown into more than just a weekly Twitter chat. Can you tell us more about that?
#RunChat is used by hundreds of people daily across all of social media to talk about running. At last check, it's had nearly 2 million uses on Instagram. It's also helped establish more virtual events over the years -- numerous Scavenger Hunts (#RunChatHunt), photo contests and a small virtual race, just to name a few. We've also introduced numerous small businesses and races to runners, helping build their foundations for social media. (And of course ROAD iD for several years!)
What’s been the best part about growing the #RunChat community?
The word in this question— COMMUNITY. It's always been about the people. Everyone comes together through #RunChat through not only their personal needs, but when they just need to be together, such as after the Boston Marathon bombing. And it's amazing to see people connect through #RunChat online to meeting in person. I've met numerous people at races because of #RunChat who are now really close friends.
What’s a popular #RunChat question?
Personally, I love the question: "Living or dead, who would you like to go for a run with? And what would you ask them?" I love to see people going outside the running world to ask former presidents questions, or their favorite singers. As for my answer to that ... it's always been Dave Matthews! I'd love to ask questions about building a variety of setlists for concerts.
What's on the horizon for #RunChat?
Global Running Day (June 3) is going to be huge for #RunChat! We've always had "24 hour of #RunChat" with a question every hour, but this year we're stepping it up a notch with our longtime partners at AfterShokz who has helped bring Meb Keflezighi to #RunChat for an hour that evening. We're also having our scavenger hunt again this summer (sponsored by ROAD iD!) after taking a summer off. It'll be a little delayed and will be held in July. And for those familiar with it, YES, we will do a holiday version at the end of the year.
What would you say to a rookie runner who is thinking about joining the next #RunChat?
Pack your patience! It can get a little crazy at first, but I recommend that they have #RunChat saved as a search; if they're on desktop, set up a column for #RunChat. (Pro tip: Check out TweetDeck.) I think it's good to "observe" a chat or two as well to get the hang of the flow.
You can join #RunChat at 10 p.m. ET on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month and 8 p.m. ET the 2nd and 4th Sunday.