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How the #TreadMafia Trains Together for an Ultramarathon

How the #TreadMafia Trains Together for an Ultramarathon

One virtual happy hour lit a spark for setting new and challenging goals with a mega support system.

By Colleen TraversUpdated February 4, 2021


It’s no secret that making goals with friends is a great way to stay accountable and push yourself past your comfort zone, but what about online friends you’ve never met? That’s exactly what the #TreadMafia is about to find out, as a group of Members team up together to run Moab’s Red Hot 55K in Moab, Utah this month. Here’s how the #TreadMafia formed and how this crazy dream quickly turned into race reality.

It All Started With a Zoom

The Peloton community is known for being social, so when the coronavirus pandemic shut down a good portion of the nation, Members knew just how to band together in order to stay sane and connect with the outside world.

“The weight of COVID-19 was having a profound effect on my life, mental state, family and business,” says Member Alon Nager. “Working from home with the kids in virtual school was taking a toll on my social life, and I was also starting to fall off the wagon with my exercise plan. Some of my groups started doing Zoom happy hours, and I noticed that one was being done in the Peloton Tread Group, so I decided to join in. A lot of people showed up to the first two, but the numbers started declining from there. The remaining people enjoyed talking to each other so much that we decided to start a texting group, which led to a Facebook group, Tag and weekly Zoom happy hours!”

It was during a Zoom happy hour Member Gillian Plummer mentioned she was planning on running a 55K, and it didn’t take long for other Peloton Members to join her.

Training With the Tread

Once members of #TreadMafia decided to lace up and train for the 55K (which is roughly 34 miles), they learned to lean on each other for support, particularly because they were all at very different points in their fitness journey.

“I started running in August of 2020,” says Member Trent Lofgren. “When Gillian first said she was going to run an ultramarathon in Moab, I was intrigued but pushed the thought aside. There was no way I could run an ultramarathon. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I just kept thinking, ‘What did I do during COVID? I trained with the #TreadMafia and ran an ultramarathon in the desert, that is epic!’”

Members of #TreadMafia train together on the Tread by coordinating how many miles they’ll run together in a day and keeping each other company through their Pelotons for the many hours it takes to prep for such a distance. “Over the past few months, we fit our training around Tread classes, including long runs starting with an on-demand class or scenic run and finishing with a live class to [virtually] cross the finish line together,” says Member Matt Harris.

Even those who don’t have a Tread are part of the family and welcome to join. Member David Levinson started running with the Peloton App when he became a part of the group. “I was afraid I wouldn’t belong since I didn’t have a Tread or that I didn’t stack up as a runner,” he says. “But I realized what an amazing and diverse group it is. It’s runners from all different backgrounds and all different skill levels who just love Peloton, running, supporting each other and having fun."

"Peloton has not only changed the way I think, work out and my state of mind, but it has brought me so close to my #Treadmafia family. We are literally family. It is such a special bond we have and so special that we can all workout together, motivate and cheer each other on."

—Gillian P.

Supporting Each Other Through the Good and Bad

It’s vital to have a strong support system when training for a long distance race, but the #TreadMafia has gone above and beyond, not only cheering each other on for the miles they mark off in anticipation of the race but also by picking each other up during the hard times too.

“This group is so supportive, not just for a new Peloton milestone, birthday or progress, but also in times of tragedy,” says Levinson. “I was amazed at how a group that had never met in person rallied around one of our family members when her spouse unexpectedly passed away. There are many others in the group that have faced their own challenges (including myself—I am a cancer survivor, and my wife is a two-time cancer survivor) and can always look to the group for support.”

Going for the Goal(s)

While the 55K is the next big goal for #TreadMafia, those who can’t make the race are rooting them on virtually and using the group’s motivation to reach their own goals. “What we all have in common is absence of judgment about each other and genuine excitement for each other as we keep reaching toward the next ‘best’ we see for ourselves,” says Member Cindy Bennet. “My goals right now are to break a 30-minute 5K and run an outdoor half marathon in under 2:30. Other members have goals faster or further than mine, but they’re applauding me with every PR I get.”

“With this group, I’ve achieved so many goals,” says Member Nicole Hanes. “I brought my half-marathon time down from a 2:45 to a 2:07, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my virtual cheerleaders. We all have the same ultimate goal of being better athletes.”

And for those ticking down the days until the 55K, there’s a few reasons to have those exciting race-day jitters. “Having served eight years in the military and being 41 years old, this will be my last hoorah,” says Member Kollin Berg. “My wife and I joined this group during a time when we had nowhere to go and nothing to do, and now these people have become some of our closest friends. Come race day, I’ll get to meet some of them for the first time while we run 34 miles across the desert. If it wasn’t for Peloton, I wouldn’t have met these incredible people and wouldn’t love running the way I do now.”

Whether you’re training for a big race or running just for fun, the Peloton App can help you take your workouts to the next level.