Trail Running Into Your Tribe in a New Country

How a solitary sport helped me build my community after landing alone with two kids in Costa Rica.

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Trail Running in Costa Rica in the Jungle

I moved to Costa Rica last July alone with two little boys. It is a feeling like no other, to be on your own in a new country, in a new home, and in charge of every aspect of the lives of two kids. 

My kids found furry friends

We knew no one in our new neighborhood save one couple we’d met when we toured homes in April. They have three dogs and my boys made fast friends, in fact, I could turn my back for a minute and when I figured out they’d disappeared, I knew they’d ridden their scooters down the street to pet and visit their new friends. 

Thankfully, these new neighbors were kid-friendly and very understanding and accepting of my boys’ desire to seek friendship with their animals. Having left two dogs behind in the states, they were in need of that connection. They made up songs and wrote stories about these dogs and spent hours swimming and walking the beach with them.

I still ran alone

I had a harder time finding my groove. I was running the trails almost every morning, alone.

After a month of lonely runs, I happened upon two neighborhood women just starting out as I was returning. One I knew because my children loved her dogs (see above), the other was a new introduction (we’d find out our sons were in the same class at school). We exchanged information and when they headed out for their training run two days later, I timidly joined in.

When I found my people, the group got bigger

The next time I joined them, two more ladies joined us. I never ran alone again. In fact, I found myself training for the upcoming trail 10k with this group. Though I couldn’t join them on race day due to an injury, my boys and I made signs for this group of over 12 women as they came through the final home stretch.

From lonely trails to a community of support

I found my tribe. Funny how a solitary sport like running can unite us and bring us closer together. The support these women gave me in those early months on my own was immeasurable. I sought their advice about everything, from school uniforms to birthday party planning to where to find the best organic veggies. They kindly accepted me and often checked in on us. 

I am forever grateful for their friendship and kindness.

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