SunstoneRC in Dec 2015 Oregon Distance Runner Publication

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 Sunstone Running Club
 By Kelly Barten

You’re out walking your dog one Tuesday night after supper in
beautiful Beaverton, Ore., thinking that you’d love to be running
instead. All of a sudden, a group of runners crests the hill you’re
climbing and greets you (and your pooch) with smiles, high fives
and friendly greetings. Just like that, they’re gone again. Who were
those (unmasked) runners? Where did they come from? Where are
they going? And how can you become one of them?
Well, those answers are simple. They were members of the
Sunstone Running Club, heading out on their run from Sexton
Mountain Elementary for a run of about 4.5 miles, and they’re
extremely friendly. Becoming “one of them” is as simple as sending
them an email, pinging them on Facebook or just showing up to
one of their three weekly runs.
I learned about the run thanks to the outgoing personality of one
of its founders, Hai Nguyen. Made up initially of Intel employees,
the club is open to everyone. Only about half of their members are
“Intellites,” but it’s the kind of club where everyone knows each
other and supports each other’s running goals. Even though I’ve
only been running with them for about a month, when I show up
at runs everyone greets me by name and have already started teasing
me about my temperamental headlamp.

 Started 18 years ago by Nguyen and his neighbor, Atul Mathur,
Sunstone started as a “Jogging” Club. After the pair and other
running friends graduated from short group runs and small races to
training for marathons, they adopted their current name, created a
blog and the club has grown now to nearly 40 active members.
“Run as you are and be who you are,” says Nguyen, when asked
if the club had its own personality. “[We welcome] people from all
backgrounds and levels of experience. Whether you’re a first time
runner or a seasoned veteran, you’ve come to the right place. We
always have someone leading the runs and pushing the fast runners
to run faster, as well as someone hanging out as the caboose to make
sure that no one is left behind.”
With a primary goal of “Run and have fun!” the Sunstone RC
members also place importance on a healthy, active lifestyle and
making new friends from all walks of life. The group often selects
a race to run with team members. Those that don’t race often
volunteer or come to cheer their friends on. In 2014, one of their
chosen races was the Breast Cancer 5k. This year, they ran the Birds
of Prey Half Marathon to support local schools; and they descended
on Cascade Locks – the men and the women – to support members
running the Bridge of the Goddess Half Marathon and 10k. They
also volunteer at the Sexton Elementary School 5k in the spring.
The biggest “perk” the club others is motivation and support.
Knowing that others are willing to brave cold rain and wind can be
enough to get some runners out the door to meet up for the group
runs. Being able to rely on teammates who will run at your pace
while you recover from an injury, or divvy up their mileage to help
you complete your scheduled distance, are just some of the inspiring
things Sunstone Running Club members can count on. Sunstone
Running Club members bring their own sunshine with its positive
energy and upbeat attitude that makes its members excited to be
there.
Their support of other runners isn’t only at races and group runs.
Those with more running and race experience often share running
tips on everything from running form to running gear, what to eat
and how to prepare for long runs. They have an active Facebook
page, embrace the “runner” and other generous doses of good-natured
kidding for its members. They even have a “Code of Conduct”
to remind members that it’s all about supporting each other and
having a good time.
Sunstone members also support the community through
personal endeavors such as volunteering at Oregon Food Bank, the
Catholic Nun Retreat House and sponsoring families in need during
the holiday season. Many members who work at Intel donate their
time and expertise creating and maintaining websites for nonprot
organizations.
If you’re in the neighborhood, join them! Sunstone Running
Club is looking forward to meeting you. Just tell them Kelly sent
you.
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