By Chloe Rosen ’11
Hi, my name is Chloe Rosen, the runner formerly known as Chloe Lewis (class of ‘11, woo woo!). At William and Mary, I was lucky to spend the best four years of my life making the closest friends, taking thrilling classes, performing at PBK, and learning that I liked grits, especially with cheese. I also learned that I loved running.
So, you’re probably reading this like, oh yeah, I sort of remember her (or maybe you don’t at all, which is totally fine), didn’t she give tours or something? Yes, yes, I did. But that’s not the point. The point is learning to love running at W&M changed my life and put me on a trajectory towards the career I have now. But more on that later.
Here are the spark notes: (which I never used in college, honor code, people!) In my sophomore year, I began running in earnest with a Timex watch that just told the time, an iPod mini loaded up with a lot of punk rock. My favorite route was from Bryan down Richmond road to the turn for the back way to the gym and then to Bryan through campus. I had no idea how long it was, but I always felt like an olympian every time I ran it.
Fast forward to 2017. I’ve graduated with my master’s degree in telling fart jokes for a living, and I have run a handful of half marathons, 10ks, 5ks, and even a triathlon. I even have, wait for it, running friends.
In 2018 I decided to run my first marathon. Training for a marathon is like having a full-time job on top of your full-time job. So, while I trained a lot of the time with friends, I also ran for hours, and hours, and…hours by myself. I started to write jokes about what was happening to me during marathon training—the chafing, the hunger, the lost toenails, you know, all the real glamorous stuff.
Then one day, shortly after successfully running the Chicago Marathon, I was joking with a running friend of mine, and he asked me what I did with all the jokes I wrote in my head while I ran. To be honest, I wasn’t doing a lot with them at the time, and it seemed like maybe I should. So one thing led to another, and the Instagram account, Your Best Running Friend, was born.
Your Best Running Friend (@yourbestrunningfriend) started as an account to put the jokes and characters I wrote in my head on the run. It was an amalgamation of the “every runner,” it was as far away from me personally as you could get. But then, in the absolute dumpster fire year 2020, I realized as auditions ground to a halt, I desperately needed a place to be creative, an outlet that was more about me and my running experiences, something a bit more personal.
So, two years and a ton of jokes and personal insights later, this crazy journey has allowed me to make over 12,000 new online friends (WHAT?) and partner with incredible brands like La Joie Skin Care, Coros, and Goodr, to name a few. I feel so lucky that I followed what started as an excellent way to clear my head and feel unstoppable in college turned into a way to be creative daily, push me out of my comfort zone, meet new people, and find my voice.
And look, I am by no means a “good” runner (what even is a good runner, anyway?) I run because I love it, I don’t pay attention to my time, and I will probably never win a race. But if you’re scared to do something, I urge you to step up to the starting line and race towards your dreams. I did, and you can run towards them too.