It Was A Group of Crazy People – They Called Themselves A “Tribe”


One Saturday morning in November 2016, an article in the Kansa City Star caught my attention.  (  It was about a group of crazy people – they called themselves a “tribe” – who met every Wednesday morning at the Liberty Memorial to exercise.  A month earlier, I’d been diagnosed with what amounted to over-training, to the point where blood tests showed I was breaking down muscle tissue.  Turns out, training every day at race pace is not a good idea.

So I had taken October off, no workouts except yoga, to recover, and was looking for a way to get back into a training routine, when I saw the article.  I thought, “This is PERFECT.”  I live near the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum and work downtown, so I drive past the Liberty Memorial every day on my way to work.  We have a shower in our office – why not stop by next Wednesday at 6:29 and check out this “tribe”?

Primarily a runner, I ran alone.  Years ago I joined a running group to train for a marathon, but didn’t much care for it.  I wasn’t sure a group thing was for me.  I was wrong.

At my first workout, I had to introduce myself to the group, near the tower.  We “bounced” and shouted; I tried to follow along as best I could (it took me a couple of workouts to get the response right to the “WHO ARE WE?  NPKC!” call-response).  Then the group headed down the steps to the base of the memorial on the north side — I actually got lost immediately, mistakenly following someone from the 5:29 group heading toward their car near Union Station.  They pointed me back up the hill, I pretended like, “Yeah, I meant to do that,” and jumped in with the rest of the group.

The workouts themselves are a great mix of aerobic/anaerobic exercises, some body weight work, some running, and LOTS of stairs.  I love the diversity of group.  I’m older than most, but I feel right at home with tribe members younger than my two children.  The fitness level in the group ranges from the insane John “Run through the desert and up a mountain” Kohler to folks who may have to walk from time to time. But everyone’s equal in terms of effort – we all work hard at our own fitness level, and people push and encourage each other throughout the workout.

I make it every Wednesday I’m in town (and not down with the flu).  The camaraderie is great.  The workouts are almost secondary now – you “just show up” to see your friends, and – oh yeah, there’s a workout!

-Bert Braud

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