Last weekend, I met my mom in St. Louis, one of my very favorite cities. I adore it for many reasons, but most of all for the close-knit community feel that the entire area embodies. The people of St. Louis take such pride in their communities – their neighborhoods, their schools, their baseball team, their pizza shops and ice cream stands – and that has a serious impact on how people live their lives compared to the city on the other side of the state.
When it comes to running, there is a rapidly-growing community that is particularly special. Big River Running was born just a few years ago, and are already planning to open their third store in the St. Louis metro area. Not only are they great runners, coaches, and gear gurus – they are good friends of mine from college. While I’m certainly biased, I will not hesitate for a moment to say that this running community has everything that is absent in Kansas City. (Or if not absent, still very cleverly eluding me.) Great talent, great passion, and the desire to bring the entire city together around that passion.
I had the pleasure of running with their training team in between marathon shopping sessions with my mom. Their training group serves runners ranging from beginners to truly elite. The lovely Jen, with the intention of running an “easy 10,” proceeded to drag me across the city under 8:00/mile pace. It felt fantastic.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t make much sense to drive to St. Louis to run every weekend. As I run alone on the Indian Creek trail and see dozens of similarly solo runners heading the opposite direction, I can’t help but lament what this city is lacking.
Is it because KC is just not a city that embraces and fosters community? Can I blame the Royals?