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Running Evolution

Running Evolution's Couch-to-5K group runs around Seattle's Green Lake
Running Evolution's Couch-to-5K group runs around Seattle's Green Lake
Courtesy Beth Baker

Running Evolution's founder Beth Baker was not born a runner. Like many of us, she picked the habit up as an adult, although it wasn't an easy task for her. She fought her way through a number of setbacks before finally getting over the hump and running her first marathon. After that success, she found herself fielding questions from her friends on how she did it and how she could help them do it, too. They didn't all want to run marathons, but they all wanted to run.

Beth Baker, founder of Running Evolution
Courtesy Beth Baker

She discovered that she loved coaching beginning runners and set out to turn it from a hobby into a career. She started out as a coach with Seattle Fit and soon branched out on her own when Title Nine asked her to lead a women's running group from their Seattle store. The rest, as they say, was history. The exposure that the Title Nine group gave her jump-started Beth's business and turned Running Evolution into a full-time job.

Beth firmly believes that running should be fun, not scary or intimidating, which is why her groups are focused on the social aspect of running. Everyone is there to have a good time and there's absolutely no judging or negativity allowed. Thanks to this positive and supportive environment, most people will stick with the program once they get started and many even discover that they love running. For this reason, Beth calls her Couch to 5K program the "gateway drug."

In addition to the Couch to 5K groups (which are often scheduled to line up with local races), Beth also offers weekly club runs and half-marathon training programs. Her groups aren't filled with super-competitive runners, but she still has a speedwork class because sometimes it's just fun to go out and run really, really fast. While her groups focus on supporting women runners, boys are 100% allowed. She frequently sees husbands join up with their wives and encourages them to set a healthy example for their family.

Running Evolution is, at its heart, less about running and more about people. Beth has formed a community of runners with her groups, and she has women that were in her very first class 5 years ago and still come to run with her every week. They've become fast friends through those weekly runs and have supported each other through thick and thin during that time.

If you're looking for a group to run with, check out Running Evolution's schedule. Beth and her co-coach Ben offer both Couch-to-5k programs and weekly club runs in Seattle and Bellevue. To keep up with the latest additions to the schedule, you can follow Beth on Twitter or find her on Facebook. She also offers stroller jogging classes for new moms through Mommy Caravan.