If you’re an ultrarunner and you spend hours and hours alone on a daily basis, training in remote, unpopulated areas, running can be a solitary undertaking. It’s ironic, then, that some of the greatest and deepest joys in my running career have come from the people I have met and the things we have shared. You don’t have to be an ultrarunner to take advantage of the social rewards of running. Try running—at least on some of your routes—with a friend. Join a running club or weekly group run. Enter a 5K or 10K race. Do something for running that doesn’t involve running. Working at the finish line or at an aid station or joining trail work parties—all of which I’ve done—provided great ways for me to participate, to give back to the sport that’s given me so much.

 Running can be a lonely activity. It can also introduce you to people worlds beyond your imagining.