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a unique running experience: an interview with brittney paye of navy yard run club

posted by
Ian Campbell

from hockey player to running group facilitator - brittney rocks

Brittney Paye is a seasoned field hockey player, former coach and group facilitator of the Navy Yard Running Club. Ian Campbell, the founder of the eseo app, sat down to interview Brittney about her love of sports and community running. Here’s what she shared.

How did you get into running?

I was a field hockey player forever. I played in college and even coached while I was in grad school. At that point, the woman I was coaching with told me I had to find another way to be competitive because my field hockey days were over. She got me into running.

I ran my first half marathon while I was in grad school. Running was always something I did to prepare my body for field hockey but it was never something I sought out competitively. It was from that point that I started pushing myself to be a better runner. 

How do you come up with routes to run for NYRC?

When the NYRC started years ago, it was my first time in the Navy Yard. The person who started it had left to pursue other things. We were left without an organizer, so I stepped in.

I was the only person in the group who didn’t work in the Navy Yard. So I had to learn and identify some of the routes and streets. From that, I developed some routine runs. 

We have to shift and change a lot due to construction, but that’s the beauty of the group. Everyone’s flexible and accommodating. 

What are some fun events that your group has done?

We try to do something special for every 5th Tuesday of the month. Recently, we played Wiffle ball. We split up into two teams and played a pretty competitive game. Another 5th Tuesday, we ran up to Chickie’s and Petes and had food and drinks after. 

We’ve done relay-type experiences. We ran a nighttime Christmas light run. There are a lot of upcoming events for 5th Tuesday, too, so come join the group to see what’s next.

How often do you play field hockey? Where do you play?

It’s different depending on the time of year. In the summer I played in a night league at Friends Select School and in a Landsdale league. This fall I’ll play in a Saturday league using the Landsdale location as our home field.

In the winter, there’s not really a good spot to play so I hold off until Spring. 

What can someone expect when showing up to an NYRC run?

It’s consistent. The routes are easy to navigate and the group is very involved. Everyone is interested in each other’s lives so we try to get to know people, especially newcomers who show up.

With running, a lot of people fear they won’t be able to keep pace. We give a designated endpoint. If someone is uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the route, we try to stick someone with them so they’re not left on their own. 

We’re an inclusive group and we’re always open to expanding our community. 

Do you use any type of running gadgets?

I have a Garmin watch. I like the data aspect of it. It graphs a lot of information visually, which helps me understand where I am in my fitness. 

In the group, people have all types of gadgets. We have people with no devices whatsoever; we have people really into the Apple watch. We have people who like to track everything on Strava. It’s all a matter of personal preference. 

What keeps you coming back to running? Do you have any special races coming up?

I like making sure that I’m trained and ready for races. There's a mental aspect, too. I’m a behavioral analyst so I need continuing education to keep my certification. I’ve found a podcast that helps me learn with my CEUs while running and being productive. 

I also love the community aspect of it. The run club allows me to see my friends every week. It’s empowering to be around people strengthening their bodies as I help my body feel stronger, too. 

My upcoming races include The Mayor’s Cup and The Philly 10k. I’m going to sign up for the Philly Marathon Patriot Challenge, which is the half marathon followed by the 8k.

How can people get involved with the Navy Yard Running Club?

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. You can send a message and I’ll get back to you. 

You can browse the Navy Yard’s newsletter and look for the running club on their events page.

We always meet on Tuesdays at 5:45 pm on the corner of 12th and Constitution. Dogs are welcome; children are welcome. We’re an open group and the streets are pretty accessible and well-maintained, so come run with us!

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from hockey player to running group facilitator - brittney rocks