No one is an island, no one stands alone.
Each one’s’ joy is joy to me, each one’s grief is my own.
We need one another, so I will defend,
each one as my neighbor. Each one as my friend.
When I started November Project SF, the last thing I ever thought I would have to do was to stand in front of you all, like I did today, and talk about one of our own in past tense. You look to your leaders for strength, support, and comfort, but the honest truth is we need you as much as you need us. The last few days have rocked us to the core as we try and navigate this new world without our dear girl, Sam Dweck. This tribe was not made on burpees and push ups, but on real, human interactions. I have had the honor of spending countless hours learning from, listening to, and growing with a tribe of people who I consider to be the best of the best in San Francisco. To me, losing a member of the tribe was the equivalent to losing a family member. And Sam was my little sister.
This is not a solo story, however. Very far from. Sam Dweck managed to change the lives of so many in such a short span of time, and I got the pleasure of reading through endless emails filled with love, gratitude and joy from some of her closest friends. I encourage you to read through these memories and smile. We have nothing left to do today but smile. -LM
sweet and determined soul
Sam manages to encompass many relationships all in one. She was a mom, a sister, a tough-love coach, a best friend, and so much more. We were family. Boom. All three of us are in an odd limbo state in our lives, trying out being “adults” in a new city and supporting each other through the transition. She was everything.”-Sasha and Malina
“Sam was one of the most genuine people I have ever met, and I think I knew that before I even heard her speak. All it took was seeing her smile to know that this was a good, friendly, honest person staring back at you. In the beginning, that’s how I knew Sam — a new face in the bounce, a hat to the back, a grin ear to ear, and then a cloud of dust as she sped off to the front of the pack — never too out of breath to make a goofy face at the camera. She was an instant regular, an instant friend, and the kind of person who made you excited to wake up and sweat before the sun. I got to know her better over time — through social gatherings, runs, races, hikes, camping trips, etc. If there was a group of people going somewhere, seeing something, or experiencing something new, she was there. She lived for adventure, for her friends, and she loved every minute of it. You could see all of that in her smile. I will miss Sam terribly. The community that loved her so much will never be the same, but we’ll try our best to keep living as she would live, and always hold her in our hearts. We love you Sam, never stop smiling down on us.”-DC
“How can you describe in only a few words the impact that Sam had on the people around her? She is November Project epitomised to the core, a symbol of this crazy community that we’re so lucky to share and be part of. Samantha Dweck. What a great smile. What a competitor. She’s a hugger. She’s a racer. Our closest friend. A beacon of light at every workout. A great supporter, Sam was the person that was always there to cheer you on, to race you, to push you to be stronger, whether it be up and down the SF hills or on raceday. We love you Sam! You’re an inspiration! You’re one of our best!”-PO
“Sam was effortlessly cool. She was hilarious, athletic in the true sense of the word, and totally confident in herself. Normally I would be intimidated by someone with those qualities, but Sam’s warmth and positive spirit made her so easy to be around. I wanted to be her friend.
And, right before we got into our kayaks, she told me all about the poop she needed to take. Who does that? Sam. “-SK
“The image of Sam that will forever be in my mind is of her doing a bare ass naked handstand on the side of an alpine lake. To me it represents everything Sam was: beautiful, funny, full of joy and unabashedly free spirited.”-AL
“I just keep remembering the last conversation that I had with Sam. It wasn’t so much a conversation as a running commentary. We were all talking about spirit animals in our boats. It felt like a few miles but it could have easily been just a few minutes. I don’t really know. I just remember calling to Sam and asking her what her animal was. She just smiled wryly with the glimmer in her eye and threw her head back. I yelled out “Liger? Are you a Liger?” She just kept laughing. I never found out what she was.”-JZ
“Boundless, infectious joy. She radiated positivity and kindness…The girl had a gift for loving life and living every moment of it. I will miss her immeasurably.”-MA
“Her smile was like rays of sun parting clouds.”-BE
“…Can’t forget about that time when we all ( at least 5 of us) slept in Kat’s bed after the bike progressive. There was a training run for the lost coast the next morning and Sam was the only one who did it. Well, her and JMak…and before she owned a bed she slept on the floor of her room, on a sleeping pad and in her sleeping bag. #downtoearth”-KD
“Sam was the definition of contagious enthusiasm. She brought life, love, and joy everywhere she went. If there’s a picture of her without an enormous smile on her face, I haven’t seen it. Instead of focusing on what the world lost, I want to do what Sam would do: spin that baseball cap 180 degrees, put on an enormous smile, and be there for anyone and everyone. I hope you’ll do the same.”-IM
“…I remember getting into the campsite, and Sam came up to me and had the most beautiful smile on her face and hugged me like I was her best friend in the whole world. I had just come back from running in the Old Glory where I had spent many days away from the NP community. And I remember thinking how amazing it was that this girl embraced me like she did and made me feel like I was the most special person in the world…”-AH
“First memory I have of Sam is at Track Tuesday. She was all ECSTATIC to be on a track. Her kinda crowd. One Track Tuesday, she was extra giddy. Pointed to the corner of the bleachers to a man. Said he was visiting her from home, and he woke up early to go watch her run, but running isn’t his thing. She was so happy that he was just out there, at 6am, looking “like a weird homeless man”. Turns out that was Eric.
Her smile is stamped in my thoughts and heart forever.”-VO
“When I think of Sam:
- She never told me one way or another if she was dating Sasha. I mean, I obviously knew they weren’t… but we had this running joke that they were dating and everytime they’d see me come by they would hold hands, giggle, and frolick away. But she never broke.. she just kept up with it the entire time. The entire time.
- After texting Sasha once and not Sam, Sam immediately reprimanded me, causing me to never text only one of them again. I created a Facebook group message between the three of us called “Samasha.”
- On one of our first track-ish Tuesdays in GG park… I forget if it was a Stowe Lake lap day or if it was a full GG park loop… but everybody finished except for Sam, because Sam got lost. She came trotting over a good 10-15 minutes after, smile wide. We all had a good laugh that day.
- A week before the kayaking trip, I was biking home from watching the Pats game at Stivers’, and I texted Alaina to see what she was up to. She replied with just this picture, and I remember thinking that I was so jealous of all of them in that moment.. and that I wanted to spend much more time with the Samasha. “-SO
“… I told everyone that they could just hang there and I would go scout for awhile and find our lake. For the most part spirits were down, but I remember Sam, bright eyed, asking if she could come with me. We had an incredible time running up and down mountains with no trails and no rules. We pretty quickly found the lake and then went to find everyone else.
That night we shared a tent. She was telling me that she was having a tough time. She missed her family and really missed her boy back east. She said she usually goes to bed sad and wakes up crying. It was days like the one we just had that makes everything worth it and keeps her going.
I know she loved trips and she loved NP. I will never be able to totally remove what happened Sunday morning from my brain, but I am doing everything I can to remember the look in her eyes and smile on her face when we were running around those rocks in a beautiful surrounding with no civilization in sight.”-ST
“…While the rest of our full and exhausted friends rewarded our simultaneously burnt and undercooked offerings by pouring welcomed whisky into our mouths, Sam – realizing Sasha and I weren’t eating – began spoon-feeding us.
This is how I’ll remember Sam – always taking care of me, of everyone, and always thinking multiple steps ahead. Sam was a planner; Sam was a maker; Sam was a lover. I’ll remember her, shorts on, one curl bopping in front of her eyes, standing before her stove in Bernal Heights making pumpkin pancakes, granola, roasted chicken, quinoa, veggies, and cinnamon-raison bagels(who makes their own bagels?!). I see Sam operating the French-press with chemist-like attention and timing and I see her using measuring cups the way I’ve never had patience for…”-AM
“As we began training for the Lost Coast run, I was fortunate enough that Sam pushed everyone to get up early one Saturday and run, and that I was the only one who took her up on it. During that 1-on-1 of 10 miles of beach and trails, I got to know what makes Sam so special. Though it was her longest run to date, and she was a bit trepidatious about the distance and pace, she made it look so effortless. She knew she was strong, but she was also infinitely stronger than she thought. We started going on adventure trips that Andy and Molly planned, and became even closer friends. We made silly faces in the photo booth, and Sam showed an affinity for wearing my hats, glasses, and even my sweater vest during the NP yearbook photos. She of course wore them all better than I.
Sam counted her blessings regularly, and encouraged others to do the same. I’ll always remember when she gave a #thankful expressing that she had found her people, referencing NP and this group of explorers. I knew that I had found my people, too, and I knew that Sam was, and is, one of them. “-JM
Best friend & backwards-hat wearing antelope & low-key master of sass & floral-wearing kale farmer & badass chef & loud giggler & sustainability advocate & temporary-tat-wearing gymnastics champion & curl queen & lover.
Forever. Forever. Forever.
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