Our graduating seniors answer some questions and reflect on their time as a part of the Running Club at Ohio State.
What is your favorite Running Club memory?
Jessica McManus: ONE memory….oh wow. From the time I was talked into running a 4×800 in a bathroom during a party after refusing to ever do so again (thanks Kate) to the many nights ending in the Bernie. Also, the long car rides sharing every possible variety of nuts you could imagine (Jamie’s melted chocolate trail mix she ate with a spoon….brave and slightly gross), ALL the fire alarms going off in the hotel at once and screaming for Mike Shah (WWMSD). That was the same time I was told the day before to get in the car and that I would be running my first half marathon the next day. And we can’t forget the wonderful selfie with the grizzly bear we lured into our hot tub in Gatlinburg. I even completed 2 full marathons with the help and support of running club. But the best memories come from the friendships I have made in Running Club. I have met my best friends, my roommates, and my running support through Running Club.
John Lin: My favorite Running Club memory was going to the Smoky Mountains in Fall Semester 2013, my junior year. Staying in a cabin for three nights with 15 other running club members was an awesome time. We ran in the mountains together, played Murder in the Dark throughout our three story cabin, and even saw 7 bears and a raccoon we named Stella all in one day. One of the bears even crawled towards our cabin, and at one point only a screen door separated us and the bear. Throughout the trip we all became closer not only as teammates, but more importantly as friends.
Jack Schlabig: We went to mrytle beach for spring break and that was really fun. There was a lot of running, Star Wars battlefront and Pokemon played.
Morgan Crouse: My favorite running club memory was planning and going to Relay for Life last year. After we all learned about Erica’s diagnosis, the officers really came together and knew we wanted to do as much for her as we could. I was put in charge of pulling together the Relay team, and I am so grateful I got that opportunity to do so. From literally having her face on a stick, to selling orange soda shakes, and then winning the ‘Heart and Soul’ award, it was such an amazing experience. I absolutely loved seeing all of the club members running around the track (even at 5 in the morning) nonstop, and coming together for such a wonderful cause. I hope to see Running Club participate in Relay for Life in the future!
Mark Schenberger: Cross Country nationals 2013 in Hershey. Because chocolate, my dog, and racing as Will Schumacher.
Mary Stankiewicz: My favorite Running Club memory was running through the 6 inches of water and mud on the flooded course at the Otterbein Invitational. Those were the worst running conditions I’ve ever had to race in and it was so bad that it was hilarious. The photos from that race just capture that mess so perfectly, too.
Who was your role model in Running Club when you first became a member and why?
Jessica: My biggest role model in Running Club freshman year was Jenna Hoersten. She was our “women’s coach”. Coming from high school, I was still in the “listen and look up to your coach mode.” Jenna helped me make the transition from viewing racing as purely serious to having fun. She would warm up with me at the beginning of races; even if she had a race next. Not only was she a role model with racing, but she showed me the true personality of running club. We were the CLUB team for a reason. We could be competitive and still have a blast with each other on the weekends.
John: My role model in Running Club when I joined was the former President Erica Kelly. When I joined Running Club my freshmen year in Fall Quarter 2011, I talked to her a few times but I didn’t know her that well. She was a run leader at the time. Once she was elected President the next year and I was elected on the racing committee, I got to know her a lot better. I admired her strong devotion to the club, she put her life into making running club grow both competitively and as a whole. She would put in late nights balancing running club responsibilities with her academics and other extra curricular activities. This continued throughout my junior year, when she was again re-elected president and I was elected Co-VP. She continued what she did the previous year and brought the club to new heights. We had record membership and members at races. Even when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, she continued to pour her heart and soul into running club. And as she discussed in her blog post, she overcame it and now is going off to medical school. She also taught me how to become a better president and person by following her model of success. For all of those reasons, she has been my greatest role model in Running Club.
Jack: Erica Kelly. She loved running and was very competitive. She showed me you could do running club and still improve as a runner.
Morgan: I would have to say Jenna Hoersten. Jenna was one of the first members I met when I was a freshman. She was outgoing, friendly, and always positive. She was the main reason why running club had such a fun atmosphere when I joined and why many people stuck around. I will never forget mirror lake night with Jenna and how much fun we had ~ those memories are priceless. After Jenna graduated, I would have to say Erica Kelly became a big role model for me. Even before Erica’s diagnosis, she has always been a hardworking and dedicated person. Erica is inspiring not only when it comes to running, but in so many other ways. I will never forget studying with her countless times and she always motivated me to do better academically.
Mark: Daniel Zaas. He’s done a lot of cool adventuring outside of running that aligns pretty closely with what I want to do in life.
Mary: Silas was my very first role model in Running Club because he was a great leader, runner, and friend. When I was a freshman he made me feel very welcome in the club and we quickly became friends as I got involved with the club. He did a lot to get this club to where it is today, and many great leaders have followed in his footsteps.
How would you describe Running Club to someone who doesn’t know anything about the club?
Jessica: We are a group of friends that compete together, socialize, support one another, and share our passion for running.
John: Running Club is a student organization under the Ohio Union. We meet to run 5 days a week and compete at cross country and track races throughout the year. There is no commitment required, however we encourage members to come regularly to make the best out of running club. We have a wide range of members, from those that ran varsity on the cross country/track team to newcomers who have never run before. We accept and cater to all types of runners regardless of ability. Not only do we run, but we hang out together at social events throughout the year and along with service events.
Jack: We are a group of friends who love to run and have fun (and Tai’s Asian Bistro).
Morgan: We are the large herd of people running through the oval almost every day just after 5:30 PM. Seriously though, a great group of runners who truly have a passion for the sport. Over the years at the involvement fairs, I always describe Running Club to prospective members as this: It is what you make it. If you want to compete – we have the perfect opportunities for you to. If you want to try something new, maybe even a marathon – we can help you train. If you just want a group of runners to talk to about your day – we got that too. If you love running (and runners) you’ve found your place at Ohio State.
Mark: In between doing things that are actually fun, we run.
Mary: Running Club is a group of people who ultimately just love to run. At different levels and paces, we live our lives as runners. It’s not something many people in the world understand, but in this club, everyone gets it.
What are your post-grad plans and how do you see running still playing a role in your life?
Jessica: Post grad plans….become rich and hit the lottery to pay off my student loans…That would be ideal. But realistically I am currently applying for User Experience Design jobs. I would like to move back out to San Francisco I’m keeping my options open. Over the past 10 years, I’ve traveled to many of places for school, internships, and vacations. The one thing that I can bring with me everywhere is running. It is the one thing that will never change, no matter where I am at.
John: I will be applying to med school in June and taking a gap year in between. During my gap year, I will either be going off to a one year masters program or working at a hospital. I will still be around in the summer, so I will definitely stop by some running club runs. Running and competing is still important in my life. Whichever masters program/ med school I get into, I will join their running club or find some local running group to join. If I end up staying around Columbus this year, you guys will still see me at some runs and events!
Jack: I am going to take a gap year aka an existential crisis year before I apply to grad school. I’ll probably continue to work for Columbus running company and maybe coach cross country and track.
Morgan: This fall I plan to attend Capital University for their Accelerated Nursing program. I am excited that I get to continue to live in Columbus, especially when it comes to running. Going back home would have meant running the same three routes over and over again, so I am happy that I can stay in Columbus with the endless running options. I plan to continue to use running as my coping mechanism and sign up for plenty of half and full marathons in my future.
Mark: My post-grad plans mostly involve figuring out what the hell I’m going to do post-graduation. I might try to ride my bike across the country this summer just because, but I’m not really sure yet. Running will definitely be playing a role for (hopefully) the rest of my life. My probably unrealistic, but maybe still kind of possible down the line goal is to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon trials at some point. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll take the typical pretty fast, but not elite fast marathoner route and try my hand at ultra-running.
Mary: I have accepted a post-grad internship with a public relations company in Columbus and hopefully will land a full time job before the end of 2015. I’ve now been a runner for half of my life time; running is a permanent part of me. I will continue to run because I love it and to keep myself sane. I hope to start training for another marathon soon, too.
What is your advice to someone who wants to make the most out of Running Club?
Jessica: Running club is what you make of it. Like I said before, running is something that will never change. I’ve learned more about myself in college than I have any other time of my life. It’s okay if you don’t meet those high school PRs, and its great if you beat them. Run and have fun!
John: My advice to make the most out of running club is to come to as many runs and events as you can. This is a great way to become close friends with other like minded members. ‘I would also recommend competing at cross country and track meets. The competitive aspect of running club is one of the most memorable parts. Staying overnight at meets and supporting each other at races allows you to form close bonds with your fellow teammates.
Jack: Come to as many runs as possible and hang out with us outside of running club! I’ve made a ton of friends in running club and you can too!
Morgan: Have fun with it. Most of us came from competing in high school where it could be stressful. Now is your chance to do with running what you truly want. There is no coach or anyone telling you what times you need to run, it is now up to you to decide how you want running to play a role in your life.
Mark: Go to stuff as much as possible (even if you’re injured/can’t run for other reasons). I didn’t do that this year and regret it now because I probably missed out on some things.
Mary: Figure out what you want to get out of Running Club, then make that happen. Get involved and be open to meeting new people. You can meet some lifelong friends in this club; I know I have.