As she became more entrenched in the local running community, Dale realized a glaring need for beginning runners, and she helped address that need by starting a running group — “For the Run of It” — aimed at catering primarily toward newcomers, although some experienced pavement pounders have also taken advantage.
“Many people said to me, ‘I wish there was a running group just for beginners,” Dale said. “They were looking for some advice on running.”
“For the Run of It” stresses fun over competitiveness and offers an extremely non-intimidating way to get into the sport of running.
“I encourage my runners to run their own race, at their pace, their distance, and most importantly, to have fun,” Dale said. “I encourage them that walking is OK, knowing that when I began my training, I had to walk and run.
“As a new runner, your body’s physiology is still adapting to the demands placed upon it, and as your body makes these adaptations, you’ll be able to run faster.”
Dale’s biggest selling point on her running group is that each person is made to feel welcome, especially beginners.
“I will always keep the miles at 3.1, with my hope that I am a stepping stone and a beginning of their love of running,” she said. “It does not matter if they have never ran before. I will work with each person to see what they feel they are capable of, then we go from there.”
Dale noted that everyone in the group is training for different events, from 5K and 10K runs all the way up to half-marathons.
“For the Run of It” meets on Saturday mornings at the Tri-Cities Family YMCA. The group runs east to Sheldon, then up Grand Avenue to Harbor, then back to the YMCA.
Dale created a Facebook page, “For The Run Of It,” which serves as a way to help keep her group motivated and to facilitate communication between runners.
“We encourage each other and let each other know what days we are running so if someone wants to run together, they can,” Dale said. “I post many positive quotes through the week to keep everyone motivated.”
Dale encourages anyone who would like to take up the sport of running to join her group for its Saturday morning treks through downtown Grand Haven.