Posted by: Susan Loken | August 27, 2014

Together We Achieve More: The Many Benefits of Teamwork

My running career began alongside a small and diverse group of novice athletes, organized through the YMCA. When I showed up on my first day, I didn’t even know what a 400 meter repeat was. With the help of an experienced coach ( Heidi Wildy) and supportive group members, I was able to jump start my running. As a matter of fact, that very coach was at the first marathon I ever won (Tucson, 2002).To this day; I vividly recall her jumping up and down screaming, “You are a world class athlete!” I didn’t even know what that meant, but her energy and excitement has stayed with me far longer than the thrill of winning.

Over the years, I have learned that success is not a solo journey. Teamwork is all about individuals coming together to achieve a common goal. Members arrive with a clear (or not so clear) personal goal, but quickly adopt the team’s vision. The synergistic energy of the team encourages every member to aim higher, achieve more and support their teammates in doing the same. I have learned, with experience, that it is beneficial to train with runners who have similar goals or who are just slightly faster than you. This can help bring out your personal best.

I soon outgrew the YMCA group and began running with a team called the Bandidos. I credit that team and my great coach (Brett Schumacher) with helping me believe in myself and achieve some of my biggest dreams. Seeing someone at their worst, helping them up and then watching them press through until the finish line creates a bond you won’t find elsewhere. To this day, some of my best friends are from those early running groups.

As I developed as a runner, I realized that I could begin coaching a team and offer other runners the opportunity to develop the support, accountability and friendship that I gained from my teams. BTB allows me to watch these amazing women (and men) nourish one another’s’ goals and celebrate each other’s victories. We have an awesome team!


Team BTB 2014

Team BTB (missing a few )

When you are part of a cohesive team with a shared vision, people notice and want to get involved. Team BTB continues to attract stellar women (yes, a few guys too!) of all backgrounds and experiences. Our mission as a team is to achieve our personal goals, to support one another, and to inspire other women to pursue their dreams, no matter what!

A perfect example is Michelle. During a difficult divorce, Michelle was able to draw strength from our running group. Being lovingly pushed toward her goals helped her to gain confidence and reclaim her happiness, both on and off the track. She has rediscovered her wings and is now flying on her own. She met a new man, has a new home and loves her life. Like Michelle, members may come and go. Sometimes they just need us for a short time to prepare other dreams, while some work and grow alongside one another for years.


Together we…Believe in ourselves, Train to succeed & Become our dream!


Our BTB Butterfly Wings represent transformation!

When I joined my first running group, I could not have imagined how many incredible teammates and friends I would come to know. If you had told me I would become a running coach, I would have thought you were crazy! The BTB Believe Train Become running team is so amazing that businesses have taken note and offered to team with a group that truly personifies the word TEAM.

Oiselle understands the meaning of team, as well as the benefits. The BTB team just received our Oiselle team shirts and they are awesome! Their feminine yet practical athletic wear makes all of us feel strong and beautiful, but the matching shirts also helps unite us even more. Team BTB is so proud to team up with Oiselle!

I also love Sole Sports because they understand the importance of community, whether in a tight-knit running group or in support of a local cause. Just as running groups offer personalized support to every member, Sole Sport believes in offering each store visitor and community member with the same level of care. BTB is honored to team up with Sole Sports!


Thumbs up to Oiselle & Sole Sports!

With Oiselle and Sole Sports on our team, we no long only run for ourselves. We now run for a cause and a vision. As we represent the best running store in the USA and a women’s clothing line that supports and nourishes women across the country, we serve as an inspiration and as role models to women hoping to reach their goals. Together we can achieve more.

To reach my personal running goals, I am currently training with a local group of Elite Women runners, called the Sonoran Distance Project. Most of the women on the team are faster than me and want to accomplish what I already have. I hope to inspire them, because I know they inspire me! Speaking of inspiration, we had two BTB runners–Natalie Como and Carrie Weldy–join this Elite running group of women with the shared goal of qualifying for the 2016 USA Marathon Olympic Trials. It was with great honor and pride that these girls left Team BTB to pursue even higher goals.

Flagstaff Run Camp

Coach John Reich and the Sonoran Distance Project in Flagstaff at Running Camp

If you want to accomplish big things, become a part of a great group. I’m not kidding! Though you may not remember the races you win or the PR’s you set, you will ALWAYS remember your teams.

My teammates, old and new, are forever in my heart and with me every mile.

Keep on Believing, Keep on Running & Smile,





  1. AMEN!!!!

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