So what is this ‘super ‘leet’ Club? Why do I keep seeing crazy people wearing yellow/blue shirts with Half Fanatics on it? What is the big deal??
Well, Once upon a time in May 2003, Steve Yee, Chris Warren, Tony Phillippi & Sue Fauerbach were having lunch with a Spokane area Dead Runner (Terry Watanabe) after completing the Coeur ‘d Alene Marathon. They started discussing all the marathons they had run throughout the year (It’s what race junkie runners do). Listening to these crazy talk about scheduling more marathons, and quite a few at that, Terry made the statement “I feel like I’m amongst a bunch of Marathon Maniacs” later on an email sent to the Dead Runners Society. From that day forward, these three were known as the Maniacs. Soon after, they started discussing how great it would be to have a running club dedicated to recognizing these crazy runners and the club was born. Of course, with the craze of half marathons, Half Fanatics was brought into existence.
How do I get into this Club?
The minimum to get into this club is 2 halves in a 16 day period, or 3 halves in 90 days. (See what counts as a half here). Once you provide proof of results, and pay the initial $40 you will be provided a number. When I applied, they were at 2,900 and I was assigned #3002. After that $15 a year to keep your membership. Currently they have a $125 Lifetime membership, which I do believe I will take advantage of the next time I renew in October.
What? I not only have to qualify, I have to pay too??
Yes. there are Membership Fees and Dues, but there are numerous benefits.
- Online database to record and track your races and moon count
- Add and track your upcoming races to your personal profile
- Members only Bulletin Board
- Race Discounts
- Monthly Newsletter
- Monthly Eflash
- Member socials at half marathons everywhere
- Instant friends at the races (usually you need to be wearing the shirt to make those instant friends)
So why did you sign up?
I qualified in 2010, the same year I started racing long distances. my first half was the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon in 2010, and I completed a Half marathon almost every month after that for a year. I didn’t know it was ‘bad’ to be running a half marathon a month (Bad because you should be ‘resting’ your body/ect). My brother made me do it! However, I must admit he didn’t drag me kicking and screaming to the start lines. Being at so many races, I saw the HF Race shirts and asked about them, so I knew pretty early on about the club, but I balked at the fee. $30? To just belong to a club. And I had to renew? So yes – maybe like you, I thought about it. And I thought about it. Finally I joined.
Well I asked myself that same question, but in the end I joined for the camaraderie, the ability to have all my (HM) races saved in one neat database, and to prove ‘I was kind of a big deal’. alright, mainly to prove I was ‘kind of a big deal’. It’s a name that almost commands respect (not always) or at least a little sense of awe (only sometimes). I loved meeting others who loved races, as well as the energy of the crowds, as much as me. Besides the people, the database was pretty decent. and finally, to ‘certify’ that I was a half fanatic. I was the person who had all the qualifications, but never got the certificate to prove it. This became my proof. Instead of people thinking I might be fibbing (As you see, I am not a ‘typical’ runner body) there is proof of my authenticity and validity. Shallow I know, but that’s my main reason.
I still renew because of that awesome database. One neat calculator that lets you know where you stand with the ability to add notes and keep track of why a race was great or not – and share that with others. I hoped it would provide some discounts, but I have yet to sign up for a race that has had a discount, but many do benefit from this feature.
Of course I jest some, because not everyone will be in awe, and there are some who avoid Half Fanatics like the plague. Some people think we are braggarts, some love us. But that’s another blog! This one is focused on why people join when they qualify.
So we know why you signed up- what about others?
Jessica Mumme: I’m Half Fanatic #2635, and boy oh boy am I sure glad I took the leap to become a Half Fanatic! After qualifying in 2012 by racing 3 in 60 days, I immediately knew I wanted to try to become a “double-agent” and qualify for the Marathon Maniac group, too! A double agent is someone who is a Half Fanatic and a Marathon Maniac, meeting both qualifying criteria to join each club, respectively. During the time I have been an official member of the Half Fanatics, I have witnessed the club make a huge transformation; membership has nearly quadrupled (it may have already, in fact!), club gear is not usually always in stock, and the store is packed with lots of choices of Half Fanatic gear to wear. Also, I see oodles of Half Fanatics at the races; when I first joined, I rarely saw any. It sure is a fun club to be a part of, even if you don’t get decked out and wear the Half Fanatic gear at all the races (I used to, but don’t anymore).
Katie St. Pierre: I saw the friendship at races and wanted to be a part of that.
Elaine Weigle : The best reason to renew is all of the WONDERFUL people you meet through HF and get to see at all of the races you do!
Kimberly Duvall: No one asks why you run, I have met new friends locally that are runners. HF’s get why a person wants to run 2 half’s in one weekend and support that kind of crazy.
Kristin Kathleen: I joined to not only network with others, but because I feel it is an honor for all of the hard work we put in to achieve the goals in the criteria. Everyone is so nice!
Bryan PaschalI: I think it’s fun because when you go to races away from your hometown, you instantly have people to talk to. It’s not just half fanatics. I recently ran a race wearing a half fanatic’s hat. Little did I know that would be a magnet from all kinds of other runners. I met some 50 staters. I met someone who had done I think it was 52 half’s in 52 weeks during the last year. It’s a good way to meet people.
Theresa Racey Simmons: I came across this group by chance. The 1/2 is my favorite distance and I figured out (by chance) that I would be qualifying a couple of months ago (#7691, hanging out on Neptune). It seems like a motivating group to be a part of. Its fun to see people so excited about their races, and the group – as far as I can tell – is supportive of one another and this mutual insanity. I like that it’s for all ability levels – elite runners to brand-new runners. I’ve found other races by what people post here, and I like the race tracker on the website.
Jeff givens: It was cool at the time. Renewed, it’s cheap, like the race calendar.
Leesa Balisalisa: Running takes endurance – through the distance, through the pain, through a battle with your thoughts…that crossing the finish line after weeks of training is a fantastic feeling that only runners will understand. There is a great sense of acceptance to find a group that has the same insane passion, when others in your normal life don’t understand. Fulfilling the requirements to become a Half Fanatic is a great an accomplishment, wearing the gear with pride shows that you know your stuff and being identified by other members and encouraged to live up to its name!
Is everyone so nice?
No. Remember we are humans too. We are all individuals. Just because we are in the club does not make us all excellent interpersonal experts or extroverts, or nice.
Kristie Macris: I run into unfriendly and unsupportive HF more and more lately. They’re wearing their singlet, but are in their own clique or world. I pretty much figure they have their own things going on and encourage them just the same. I mean there are a ridiculous (and awe-inspiring) number now! But for every cranky person in a singlet, I’ll meet five super friendly, having a great time, fanatics not in singlets. You can tell because we’re the ones laughing and chatting on the course. Invariably someone will ask, “you are a HF aren’t you?” And that’s why I stay a member, because it’s fun and I don’t have to take it so seriously. And because there are so many different people here, so there is usually someone to connect with no matter the mood.
Renee Fitts: Well, I’ve done three races recently as a HF. I have reached out to others at races who I can ID as HFs by their attire – no one has yet organized a photo or anything, and as newbie I was not sure about protocol. No one has been especially friendly – maybe that’s just coincidence. It’s nice to have the website to log in my races, and to look for discounts.
Brandy Hines: It saddens me to hear of crabby HF people in races…I see them running all the time and if I was wearing my HF gear I’d for sure say hi! If there was a way to know everyone’s names id be cheering them on that way too!! I’m doing the Jalapeño half tomorrow, and you can be damn sure I’m going to say hi to every HF I see!!! It’s about camaraderie and supporting each other and our crazy habits of 13.1 fetishes!! Why would someone be rude or crabby to someone else is the asylum?? That is just sad and truly uncalled for. If you didn’t want the attention while running then why did you join?! Be happy, run happy!! 🙂 even when I’m having a really, really bad race, I still smile and say hi and encourage those I pass or those behind me to keep going. I will renew with the lifetime fee so I don’t have to remember all the time. I like being able to keep track of your races and the ability to find races on the site.
So I should just join right?
That’s up to you. As you can see, there are many reasons why people join, and choose to renew to stay with the group. Some for the camaraderie, some for the status, others who are looking for crazy like them and just ‘understand’. The Half Fanatics are a great group of people. I have met nice ones, shy ones, reserved ones, snobbish ones, and ones with no social couth. I have met Half Fanatics who do it for the challenge and some for the fun. I have met Half Fanatics who are just as crazy as their name, full of energy like myself, and even some I have clicked with upon meeting (/wave Athena). there are some who always wear the shirt and others (like myself) who do not. (Note: If you choose NOT to wear the Half Fanatic apparel, you probably will not be recognized until you show up to several meet-ups) I have met Half Fanatics of all shapes and sizes, Some are there to motivate others and themself, others to put another moon under their belts. Half Fanatics, we have diverse definitions of what a Half Fanatic looks or acts like.
Whatever your reason, no matter how arbitrary it seems, its probably a good reason to join or not join, but hopefully I have helped provide you with reasons why you should join. And if this helps make your decision I look forward to welcoming you to the Asylum 🙂
Visit the Half Fanatics Facebook Page
Update: Someone just told me that Fanatics and Maniacs get VIP at Oregon Uberthons!