“WeRunMPLSer of the Month” is a series we write to introduce the faces that make WeRunMPLS so special. We say this a lot – our core is community; it was the motivation behind starting WeRunMPLS, is the foundation for every time we meet and is what guides all our decisions. Hope you enjoy!

This month we're introducing you to Luke! Luke started running with us in late 2016 + jumped in with both feet from the start, joining us for a fun night out after only a few weeks of running with us. He's quickly become a regular face at WeRunMPLS, always sticks around to get to know other people better + we're excited to cheer him on at Grandma's Marathon this month! Scroll to learn about him + show up on a Thursday or Saturday to meet him!

Tell us your name + how you found out about WeRunMPLS.

My name is Luke and I discovered WeRunMPLS while I was searching for local run clubs in MPLS. During my google search some images appeared of the WeRunMPLS cheerers at the 2016 Twin Cities Marathon. I ran that marathon and remembered seeing those signs and wondered why they would write “WeRunMPLS”. I was initially intrigued by WeRunMPLS’ mission statement about building community and welcoming everyone, those sentiments made it less intimidating to show up without knowing anyone in the club. So, around Thanksgiving 2016 I decided to show up and give it a shot.

Where is your favorite place to run?

I think my favorite place to run is near St. Anthony Falls and the West River Parkway. The power of the falls still amazes me every time I see it.

A close second would be the trails at Afton State Park. It is a really great park to have right in our backyard. When I go to Afton it seems like I am million miles away from the city.   

What’s been your favorite night of WeRunMPLS (so far!)?

I have to say that my most memorable night was not even an official run. It took place in early January when the temperature was near zero and there was a wind chill of about twenty below (although there was hardly any wind that night, so it didn’t feel that bad). There were two other people that missed the memo that the run portion of the night had been cancelled and showed up anyway. That night the three of us went for an unofficial fun run on our own. Afterwards, we met some other WeRunMPLSers at Pat’s Tap for a bite to eat and a beer. It was a lot of fun and one of those moments that became etched in my memory.

Tell us your top 5 interests.

  1. Running – I started running 16 years ago during a college weight training class. We had to run the mile for that class and so I started training for it. I discovered that I really liked running and just never stopped.  
  2. Cooking – I worked in a kitchen for most of my twenties and developed a passion for cooking. I no longer work in a kitchen but now I get cook all of the things I want at home. Soups are some of my favorite things to make because you can be very creative and pretty much make it however you like.
  3. Fly Fishing – This is a newer interest. I grew up fishing the conventional way but recently I have been learning how to fly fish. Fly fishing can be difficult and frustrating but also has meditative quality to it and occurs in some nature’s most beautiful settings. Becoming a fly fishing guide in the Rocky Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico is one my dream jobs. 
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves – The Wolves are my favorite Minnesota sports team in my favorite league. I enjoy watching them play and like to keep up with their offseason roster moves. I have pretty much been a fan since they arrived in 1989. Most years are full of disappointment, and sometimes humiliation and embarrassment, but I root for them anyway.
  5. Economics, markets and data – This is a super geeky interest, but I guess the books on my shelf and my podcast subscriptions don’t lie. I am aware that this sounds completely awful to most people but it is quite interesting to me.

What’s your favorite thing about WeRunMPLS?

My first favorite thing about WeRunMPLS is being able to meet and get to know people who I otherwise would not have met.

My second favorite thing is being able to explore different parts of MPLS on the Wild Card weeks. It has helped me become more appreciative of MPLS and what the city has to offer.

Favorite running quote?

“When you run, it is just you and the sound of your breath and footsteps, everything else just melts away.”

This was one of the first descriptions of running that I remember. I heard it before I was a runner but it has always stuck with me. I forgot where I heard that quote but it sums up how I feel when I get to go out and run.

One random fact everyone should know about you.

I have an irrational fear of mountain lions, a healthy fear of bears and birds creep me out. But I am getting better with the birds.

Anything we didn't cover?

I have always been a solo runner ever since I started running, so running with other people was new to me. The majority of the time I have been running with WeRunMPLS I have also been training for Grandma’s Marathon and in that time I have noticed a large improvement in my running and in my ability to follow a training schedule. By running with people who are faster than me I have increased my speed, and by being surrounded by others who are also in marathon training I am more accountable to my own training schedule.

If anyone out there is reading this and thinking about coming to run with WeRunMPLS for the first time, you should totally do it! It is a great group of people and a lot of fun!