BEMIDJI BONDS: Bemidji running club looking to reboot numbers
The Bemidji Running Club and Headwaters Fit Club has been up and running since February 2011, but numbers have fallen as of late. Melanie Havel-Olson started the club in 2011 knowing maintaining a group would be difficult given the population of ...
The Bemidji Running Club and Headwaters Fit Club has been up and running since February 2011, but numbers have fallen as of late.
Melanie Havel-Olson started the club in 2011 knowing maintaining a group would be difficult given the population of Bemidji, but she did it anyway.
“I wanted to get rid of the excuse of not having a group to run with,” Olson said. “I heard from multiple people that it was unfortunate there was no group to run with. I’m from a city in Washington with a quarter-million people living there and our groups for that were pretty small.
“I heard there used to be a running club in Bemidji a long time ago and that it fell apart due to lack of interest or fracturing.”
So, Olson began the club and the numbers have fluctuated throughout the years.
The numbers have dropped significantly this summer, a few times no one has shown up, which can be frustrating.
“The most regulars we had at once was four and I think the most who’ve come to any one run gathering was six,” she said. “The past two to three months have been the lowest numbers since I started the club in February 2011.”
There are still a few loyal runners including Matt Wolf and Angie Gora.
Those two have been the most consistent running mates for Olson, but even they have trouble making time to meet up and run.
“Matt has been really regular up until a couple months ago,” Olson said. “His main obstacle is that he works at night so he has to get up early and then come here and then work all night. I really respect him in trying to do it.
“Angie Gora, she is one of those super motivated and really involved type people and did a great job getting the Blue Ox Marathon going.”
Gora and Wolf have been great running mates, but Olson is looking for more because they can’t make it every single week.
Olson is looking for more runners to join and keep the club alive and going.
“I would certainly love to get more regulars,” she said. “People wish the club were bigger, so when they come and it’s small, they don’t come back, but they don’t understand that in order for it to keep growing, they need to keep coming.”
Regardless if people come or not, Olson will continue to run; it is her passion.
A former assistant at BSU, she is a trained running coach and she wants to share her passion with the people of Bemidji.
“I want to connect with more people and be a positive influence and use my passion for running to try and reach people,” Olson said. “I want to try and take my passion outside of myself.”