Staff Notes

STAFF NOTE: Finding My Footing After a Long Couple of Years

how an Eau Claire relay got me back on my feet (literally)

Jake Smith |

fleet feet
FLEET FEET ON GIBSON STREET. Volume One's marathon relay team, "Volume Four," from left to right, Joann Martin, Jake Smith, John Lyberg, and Allison Buchli.

There’s an odd breed of folks in this world that enjoys seeing how fast they can cover painfully long distances on foot. I happen to be one of those folks, and Eau Claire happens to be home to one of the best long-distance foot races in the Midwest: the Eau Claire Marathon. Naturally, it’s my favorite weekend of the year.

This year, I wanted to approach the weekend from a new perspective and formed Volume One’s first-ever Marathon Relay team, creatively named “Volume Four.” Together, John, Joann, Allison, and I braved less-than-ideal weather for a morning of friendship and fun that I won’t soon forget, placing 16th overall. Despite the weather, the atmosphere was electric, and as we cruised down Graham Avenue to cross the finish line as a team I couldn’t help but feel proud of what we all accomplished together.

Leading into 2023, I was in a bit of a running slump: I was struggling to find a groove after a bout of long COVID kept me from training at the level I had grown accustomed to, so I was feeling pretty jaded. Between our endlessly flowing group chat, the shared album of group pictures at the coffee maker, and our “team bonding” runs (that always ended at The Joynt) this team was the spark that helped reignite my love for covering painfully long distances on foot. So thank you, Volume Four. We did the dang thing.