November 4, 2022 | ACTIVE LIFE | By Alanna Jackson
As a former cross-country runner and lacrosse midfielder, I often find myself yearning for—or chasing, if you will—little bursts of adrenaline that I used to feel during a city meet runner’s high or major lacrosse win. Now, as I enter my twenty-second year, I realize how my relationship with running has faltered during my time at Colorado College. Under the constant time pressures and feelings to always be productive, I often have random month-long spurts of running every day followed by months of never lacing up my Saucony running shoes (see my inconsistent Strava record).
On top of that, since running used to be such a competitive domain for me, I now feel disappointed when my mile times don’t reflect my times when I was 18 years old. Running is now a vulnerable activity for me. In fact, don’t tell the varsity cross country team, but whenever I spot them stampeding towards me on the Tiger Trail, I bolt from the dirt path at whiplash speed. I don’t shy away because I think they will mock me — I secretly have friend crushes on all of the cross country/track baddies — but rather because I know I could never keep up.
Recognizing this need for a space for runners of all levels outside of formal teams, Wade Noelke ’24 founded Caprese Trout Running Club, alongside Brandon Chan ’23, in August. Noelke ran cross country and track in high school, and upon moving to CC, he would often jog around campus and the Tiger Trail with Chan.
I met Noelke at the club fair, where he weaved between tables to negotiate with other club leaders to join Caprese Trout in exchange for him joining their clubs.
“While I really respect what the cross country and track teams do, they can run up to 80 miles per week, and, frankly, that’s more than I drive. I saw the need for a space for the runners at CC who may not want to commit time to a sports team,” he explained.
Noelke created Caprese Trout to help foster a fun community of folks interested in running and to deindividualize the sport itself.
“I think running can be made to be more individual, like you see people running in the gym or posting on Strava, doing it on their own. But I wanted to bring back the community aspect without the stress of a legit sports team.”
In light of recent elevation of students’ longstanding historical and current efforts to rally for mental health and wellness at CC, Noelke believes the club provides an important space to foster wellness. The body and mind are inherently entangled and connected, so moving your body and allowing yourself to feel your body—in all of its pain, joy, knowledge, tension, and beauty—are essential for being well.
“There are so many stressors at CC that can take away from being a person, right? [Caprese Trout] centers on talking to people and encouraging people to take time for themselves. We want to see people become happier and healthier.”
Noelke strategically plans meetings to be as flexible and personalized as possible, providing several different workouts and a walking community as well, led by Pumehana Holmes ’24. As Noelke carefully reflected, “Some people may want to run five miles, and some people may want to walk half a mile. We try to bridge the gap to make sure everyone feels comfortable.”
With over 80 people in the GroupMe chat, a consistent turnout, and the promise of a refreshing Capri Sun at the meetings, the Caprese Trout Running Club has been a hit. However, Noelke wants the club to not place increased pressure on students, which is often a common theme at CC.
“We are trying to find ways to increase engagement but decrease pressure because along with the mental health protest movement, which I am lucky to be a part of, we recognize that there is a need for individual time for healing and collective community that CC doesn’t seem to offer as well as it could,” said Noelke.
Along with community building and focusing on wellness, the club hopes to facilitate student community engagement, such as enrolling members in races as a group because as Noelke stated, “Especially if we had some matching shirts and headbands, we’d look like A1 ballers out there.”
Noelke’s advice to aspiring or new runners is to “As Nike says, ‘Just do it.’ Even if it’s just a quarter of a mile on the track, … go enjoy the view of Pike’s. Make a fire playlist. Even if it is not running, I encourage everyone to get out. Any kind of physical exercise helps to clear your mind. I am not a chemistry major by any means, but I know there are endorphins that get released after you run, bike, swim, or anything like that.”
Caprese Trout Running Club meets every Thursday at 4 p.m. on the track. In fact, President Richardson is coming to walk with the club on Dec. 1. Please reach out to Wade Noelke (email@example.com) or Brandon Chan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to join or to ask any questions. I highly recommend checking out the Caprese Trout Running Club; I’ve heard it’s a swimmingly good time.