Running with the club

Barbara Carlson

Barbara Carlson has been an avid runner for 12 years. Since moving to Chico from Southern California about a year ago, she and her husband have been members of the Chico Running Club, and have been loving it. The Chico Running Club has been organizing races and informal runs/walks for 38 years, and the CN&R talked to Carlson the morning of the recent Independence Day 5K in Bidwell Park. The club’s next official race is the H.O.T. Half—the Hooker Oak Trail half-marathon/quarter-marathon, on Oct. 6. Visit for more info on races and how to join.

How did you hear about the Chico Running Club?

When we moved here, there was an article in the [newspaper] about the running club, and my sister-in-law saved it for me because she knew I ran. So she gave it to me, and we joined.

How long have you been running?

I’ve only been running about 12 years. Before that, I walked, did aerobics, everything else. But just running—it’s been 12 years. My husband made me start running. When I first started running, I was running with [him], and we did a lot of 5ks, 10ks, and ran short distances.

Why did you join the club?

Oh, the support! The support is fantastic. I love it. We have a lot of friends in the club. It’s not just about running—we have other things in common. It’s all about the support and camaraderie. When you don’t think you can take another step, there they are to help you.

Do you notice the club having an impact on the community?

Yes, a very good one. Bringing people together, the runs that they sponsor, and all the things that they do. They give a lot of support, financially and otherwise, to the two local high-schools’ track-and-field programs. They’re always the last on the list to get any money from the school, at least down south where my grandson ran track.

What do you get out of running?

Oh, it’s a huge stress relief. It is my No. 1 stress release; I put on my shoes, and I take off, and solve the world’s problems. My favorite thing about running would be the endorphins. [I] have to probably run four or five miles before I get it, at least. And then the longer you run, the more of the high you get.

What’s the longest distance you’ve run?

The farthest distance I’ve run would be a marathon, 26.2 miles. I would say 10 miles is my favorite distance; that’s nice. I like to run in the park here, in Bidwell; it’s very nice.