The start of a new year always lends itself towards reflection on the old. Something about the symbolic opportunity of a clean slate compels me to look back and examine the lessons, recall the joys, and muse over the journey of the past year.
One of the most exciting things in this year for me was becoming a part of the Donner Party Mountain Runners. That may sound silly, but I’m not just talking about joining a club. When I look at the fact that the DPMR didn’t even exist this time last year, and I think about everything we have all done since the club formed last spring, I am blown away.
What I have loved most about being a part of this group has been watching the community form and grow. I don’t even think of this as an entirely new community – I think of it more as the bringing together of people, energies, and ideas that were already there. And as with many endeavors that involve a wide variety of inspired people, we are more than the sum of our parts. I have loved hearing the ideas and seeing them come to reality, seeing people meet and connect on trail and at events, and sharing miles and laughter and inspiration.
With all that in mind, and inspired by the barrage of “Favorite ________s of 2015” lists out there on the internet in the past few weeks, I wanted to share my personal top five moments with the Donner Party Mountain Runners from its first (not even full) year.
In chronological order:
- Our first “club meeting” at Helen’s house. Okay, so actually the first meeting was a week or two before this one at a tap house in Truckee where, rumor has it, a lot more drinking than deciding went on. So we’ll call this our second club meeting, but it was my first. The other board members probably think I am joking about this being a great moment, but I can look back and really see it as the beginning of something awesome. There was no actual club yet, but there were a lot of people with enthusiasm, and Peter made a pointed effort to make sure everyone gave their input and shared ideas. This was to be a club for everyone who loves to run on the trails of Truckee/Tahoe. By the end of the night, we had constructed a jumping off point, and an awesome club name.
- The Memorial Day Kickoff Party. We had a beautiful day at the Donner Picnic Grounds with trail runs of three different distances, plus a kids fun run. It was the beginning of what are now the DPMR signature carnitas, and we sat in the mountain sunshine after our runs eating good food and drinking good beer with good people. What could be better than that?
- Monday Trail Teaser runs. These were mostly lead by our dedicated secretary, Helen. They are a favorite “moment” for me because I saw them as one of the first manifestations of what a great thing this club was turning out to be. I know I am overusing the word community in this post, but that’s what I saw happening on the Monday runs. People of all abilities showed up regularly and got to know each other as they got to know new trails. I have no doubt these Monday runs will be even more popular when they return in the spring.
- Running the PCT from Donner Summit to Sierra City. I think of this adventure run as a great example of one of the many runs people put together themselves through our club Facebook page. We split a group of five of us into a fast group (Peter and Luke) and a slower group (me, Audrey, and Betsy). After swapping car keys, the boys ran Sierra City south, and we ran the opposite direction. 30-something beautiful, challenging miles on a (very snowy) point-to-point route with no car shuttle!
- CIM training. I was surprised when I found out so many club members were entered into a road marathon. Just another example of what a diverse group we are! Having friends in the race, and getting the chance to run together and share training updates, made race day so much more fun for me.
These moments really just scratch the surface for me. I am excited about all the things this group has done and where it’s going.
I am also just one person, and I really want to hear from everyone else. I would love it if every single club member shared at least one moment or thing they enjoyed from the DPMR group this year! Please comment!