Sports Staff Writer
The team started in 2015 and has taken off ever since. Any student at UNCA is encouraged to come meet the team, whether it is their first year as a student or their last.
The team is co-ed which allows every member to practice together. While there are men’s and women’s divisions at meets, the team acts as a whole.
The team practices every day at 5:30 p.m. at the outdoor track on campus. The number of events varies each year, but five or six events is average. Teams from other universities such as UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, UNC Charlotte and Duke University attend the events. The team also hosts running socials, such as pizza socials, ice cream socials and an opening introductory social at the beginning of the season.
Events such as the numerous socials allow for other members of the campus community to become involved in the Running Club. Adam Wan, freshman said he enjoys his time on the team.
“Everybody in the club runs at their own pace and there is no judgment there. Nobody runs at the same pace in running club, everyone is different, we all try to stay in the same area when we run. Occasionally we split off, but normally we stick together when we run,” Wan said.
Wan was not an experienced runner before joining the running club.
“I never ran beforehand. I never ran in high school, never joined any clubs in high school that pertained to running. This is my first running experience. It’s really fun—I joined to stay in shape and meet new people. I’ve definitely met new people, I’ve joined a large community and we go eat at Brown Dining Hall each day as a team. It’s definitely broadened my horizons, I’ve met a lot of upperclassmen through joining this club,” Wan said.
Despite Wan’s lack of prior involvement in running, he said he felt satisfied after finishing his first race.
“My best memory of cross country was probably finishing my first 5k. I definitely wasn’t one of the fastest guys there. It was my first 5k so I wasn’t expecting much. I wanted to finish around 30 minutes. After I finished I felt an overwhelming sense of completeness and accomplishment. After that, I dropped to my knees and just laid on the grass for a minute,” Wan said.
Molly Pegram starting running cross country her junior year of high school. She ran cross country for Asbury University in Kentucky before transferring to UNCA.
“What makes the club special is that you can make it what you want. If you are someone who is really competitive like me, you can put into it what you want. Whereas somebody who has never run before, they are 100 percent welcome and they will have people to run with that are trying the same thing,” Pegram said.
According to the team, the UNCA running club is a great way to make new friends on campus.
“It’s a lot more than just running. It’s still kind of early in the season, but there’s friendships that are made that wouldn’t have been without the team. Most of the people would have never talked without the team,” Pegram said.
Freshman Nick Dunnigan said he joined the team this year after being invited by a senior on the team.
“You get to be a part of a group. I’ve met new people, I stay in shape. You get to travel around to meets and meet other new people at the meets. I didn’t run in high school, I should have,” said Dunnigan.
If the team does well enough at the regional meet they can advance to nationals.
“You have to break a certain time at regionals to make it to nationals,” Dunnigan said.
According to the members, the club is what you want it to be. Whether the intention in joining the club resides in a desire to compete against other runners, or merely to stay in shape during college, all UNCA students are welcome to join the team.