The Running Club at OU on fostering friendships and personal development


Dongfu Han

Running club was founded in 2012 at Oakland University. Students get together and run to stay healthy.

Each Friday afternoon, the members of Oakland University’s Running Club (RCOU) lace up their shoes and go for a run. After a long week of classes and homework, the runners find solace in their workout.

While some view running as strenuous and exhausting, many find the exercise to be cathartic. Golden Grizzlies that find cardio exercise to be a beneficial stress-reliever can find a second home at RCOU.

Acceptance is the allure of Oakland University’s Running Club; membership is open to anyone, regardless of speed or skill level. With a collection of students from different backgrounds and experience levels, RCOU boasts a high level of diversity. 

Many runners joined the club because they missed the team aspect of high school cross country and track. Others simply joined because they wanted to stay active.

Current Secretary, Sarah Nyquist, joined Running Club in Fall 2021 as a way to maintain her physical fitness and mental health. At club practices, she feels motivated to push her limits.

Conversely, freshman member Eien VanRiper joined the club because he enjoys the training aspect of running. 

“One of my favorite parts of running is training,” said VanRiper. “I like to push myself to improve as a runner every day.”

While their reasons for joining vary, RCOU members are united in their shared love for running.

The main appeal of running is that the sport is accessible to virtually anyone. No experience is necessary and the only equipment required is a pair of athletic shoes.

“Everyone is welcome [to join Running Club],” said RCOU President John Sidwell. “The Running Club at Oakland University has always and will continue to provide a nurturing environment in which friendships and individuals can grow.”

Oakland’s Running Club ensures that their workouts are individualized, grouping runners by speed and experience level. The more experienced runners lead the pack, whereas the beginners anchor at a relaxed pace.

This grouping method reflects RCOU’s commitment to their ‘No Runner Left Behind’ policy. 

“The No Runner Left Behind policy ensures that all members feel included,” said RCOU President John Sidwell. “So, whether or not you have run extensively before or not a single step, there is a place for everyone at OU Running Club.”

With a large portion of Oakland’s student body being comprised of commuter students, RCOU has put effort into recruiting students that live off-campus. This past year, the OU Running Club has attracted a modest number of commuter students.

One such student is Nicholas Skinner, a freshman studying Environmental Science. Nick decided to join RCOU to get more involved on campus.

“Joining Running Club has been a great way to make friends and meet new people,” said Nick. “It’s not difficult to stay involved as a commuter student; I usually just head to workouts after class.”

As the spring semester comes to a close, RCOU has rather simple goals for the club’s future. The club hopes to expand its membership and participate in more competitive team races.

Most importantly, RCOU hopes to continue providing a welcoming, supportive space for individuals and friendships to grow.

Editor’s note: For full transparency, Payton Bucki is a member of the Running Club at Oakland University.