The MissFits of Maine just started their Friday evening run group. It’s become a spring tradition, luring walkers and runners from Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Arundel and other nearby towns after a winter (or longer) away from the running shoes.
And while jogging on the tree-lined streets of Kennebunk and the seaside sidewalks overlooking the Atlantic are certainly part of the draw, what brings most of these women out is the camaraderie. It’s the sense of community, the new friendships, the hilarious stories shared while they walk or jog or run those scenic miles. (Okay, it’s probably a little bit about the happy hour wine afterward, too.)
MissFits of Maine was created by Danika Whitehouse, a group fitness instructor and full-time Spanish teacher in Kennebunk, who first started the group several years ago to help connect some of her clients as they trained for their first 5K. In the process, she saw how powerful a group of women could be when they were supporting each other.
Since then, the group has expanded beyond running. They hike mountains and go ziplining. They paddleboard and kayak, ride bikes, ice skate, and float on tubes on the Saco River. They’ve gone on some overnight trips to Vermont and here in Maine to the Maine Huts and Trails. “We also (twice) ran the Eastern Trail from Kennebunk to Portland as a relay and rented out a barn for a big dance party,” said Danika.
It’s all informal – there are no membership dues and events come together when time allows – but it’s a great way for active women to meet each other. “It remains a community for new people looking for a way to meet people – one of the runners (the other night) was a first-timer – and for people to find buddies for activities,” said Danika. Sometime five women show up for a run – sometimes it’s 20.
I can attest to the welcoming atmosphere, too. When I joined the MissFits for a Friday evening run a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t the only newbie, but introductions were swift and soon we were all gabbing away about upcoming vacations, our plans for the weekend, and long it’d been since some of us had run at all. I stuck with the run/walk group (those are my people!) for an easy-going three miles on a neighborhood road and along the ocean, where we stopped a couple of times to pet dogs. Because of course! A few others split off to run extra miles at a fast pace.
In this group, it doesn’t matter if you’re 30-something or 60-something either, said Danika. “We have women spanning four decades in age and at all levels of activity. We celebrate inclusion and sisterhood.” And fun is always a focus.
And there are those aforementioned happy hours, too. Because camaraderie is solidified on group runs and mountain hikes and at wine bars. (We snagged an outdoor table by the bonfire at Old Vines Wine Bar just in time to enjoy the happy hour pricing. The running was lovely, but the post-run wine and conversation was the perk of the evening!)
MissFits of Maine
The Friday run group meets at 5 p.m. in the Lower Village parking lot behind Mekhong Thai (35 Western Ave., Kennebunk). The group splits up based on pace and distance – so there’s a run/walk group and a faster group.
To find out more about the group, like the MissFits of Maine page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/missfitsofmaine/ AND joined the MissFits Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/312505692117768/