MEET. TRAIN. SOCIALIZE. REPEAT.
Frightening to some, exhilarating to others, the word “fitness” runs much deeper than its traditional definition of “being physically fit and healthy”. It represents release, the release of the sum of stressors accumulated throughout the day. It represents seclusion, the only part of the day that you have complete ownership and control over. It represents a social aspect, a means for building relationships, over common interests and goals.
And for some, fitness represents Electric Flight Crew: a divinely proportional lifestyle team characterized by the physical, mental and social attributes of physical activity.
Electric Flight Crew (EFC for short) started with just three in 2014 and has now expanded bi-coastally, with members into the hundreds. It was a seemingly normal Wednesday when we pulled up to the W Hotel for our inaugural street run with EFC. Members of the group slowly trickled in and Kerri, one of the EFC Captains, arrived on the scene. Kerri learned about EFC by word of mouth, deciding a year ago that she ought to drop in one day. One year, countless workouts and an appointment to captainship later, she’s earned a lot of respect from the group. And rightly so, Kerri sees the “social dynamic in LA [as] very transactional. People build relationships with the mindset of gaining tangible gratification versus mutual affection”. Electric Flight Crew could not be farther from it. You don’t walk into an EFC event and make friends, you recognize them. Every single member is your friend, regardless of your title, physical shape, age, gender, amount of times you’ve attended an EFC event or how far you came to get there. It’s automatic. It’s poetic.
As soon as the final members arrived, we crossed the street and onto the UCLA campus for a quick warm up, with the massive BRV-XXL blasting, stretching quads, IT bands, hamstrings and calves in preparation for the runner’s choice route of either two and a half, four or five miles.
The run commenced shortly after 7pm, with the spring sun dipping behind the hills of Westwood. Throngs of runners deftly navigated the crowded streets, bouncing past the Fox Theater, finding pace, splitting off onto their chosen path. It’s mostly uphill, this run, traversing uneven dirt paths, asphalt, cement sidewalks and dodging pedestrians all the while.
“One foot in front of the other” is a common thought for individual runners, but some were lucky enough to find the perfect pace partner to push their limits, forcing the onward and upward. The multi-mile route ends at the base of a long, winding hill paralleling the gorgeous southern Italian inspired brick and limestone buildings. And just like that, you’re back where you started: sweaty, out of breath and grinning ear to ear. Oh, and terribly thirsty. Cue no shower happy hour.
After the run, forty of us walked back to the W, up the steps and immediately into STK, where the wait staff received our return with energizing music, bottomless champagne and wonderful hors d’oeuvres. Settling into no shower happy hour, the sweat stopped pouring, but the drinks certainly did not.
Members come from all walks of life, telling story after story, growing friendships and forging new ones. When it’s all said and done, you can’t help but reflect on how quickly it occurred; the unforgiving run, the testament to your own mental toughness, the music you played and the runners you encountered. None of that matters, really, because you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. You’re a part of Electric Flight Crew.