With Heylo, Nth Degree makes the track a welcoming and social space for all runners

“Running is for everybody” says Jenni Dubman, cofounder of Nth Degree.

For runners, the track on a Tuesday night is sacred. It's the hardest workout of the week, where runners push their limits, full of sweat and long strides. And its intimidating, especially for new runners.

On a San Francisco track in 2019, Nth Degree was founded by Mando Torres, Jenni Dubman and Coach Mike Olzinski to make the track more welcoming and inclusive for runners of all paces. By uniting as a group, Nth Degree helped runners of all types realize that they too can work hard and belong on the track. Nth Degree created a true community; a welcoming and social space where fast and new runners alike can motivate and encourage one another to be better athletes and humans. To reflect Nth Degree's social and welcoming values off the track, they started using Heylo to keep everyone connected throughout the week.

Coach Mike Olzinski
Co-Founder, Nth Degree
There’s a huge benefit of “social” and “workout.” They do not need to be at odds with one another. In fact, they may even be mandatory together. I see it in Heylo, where members of Nth Degree are meeting up to run socially.

Initially Nth Degree comprised a few dedicated runners and a great coach. But each week, their numbers grew. Friends of friends came. Strangers approached the group to join. The welcoming and social values helped Nth Degree grow from 3 founders and a few friends to over 100 members in less than a year. They started seeing 50 members come to their track workouts, and Heylo helped motivate and hold everyone accountable.

Mando Torres
Co-Founder, Nth Degree
I love the RSVPs before a workout. Seeing who's coming in advance helped hold everyone accountable. I would always check... how many people do we have committed to this week?

But in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused track workouts to pause. Even as events were canceled and shelter-in-place took hold, the Nth Degree doubled down on its commitment of being social and welcoming to the community that they built. In a new topic on Heylo called "Social-Distance Training," Coach Mike posted workouts throughout the week. Members shared pictures or screenshots of their completed workouts. With sweaty selfies and run maps, it became the way Nth Degree members stayed accountable, in shape, and connected as humans too.

Image of Nth degree members jumping on the track.

Their continued growth, even through the pandemic, surprised the founders the most. Through Heylo, they found ways to continue with their principles as a community. Co-founder Mando Torres welcomes new members on Heylo by @mentioning their profile followed by a welcomes and reactions from other members. 50 person workouts were replaced with small groups coordinating runs and sharing photos after on Heylo.

Jenni Dubman
Co-Founder, Nth Degree
Heylo is the glue that keeps our group together.

When Nth Degree started, it was about conquering of the fear of hitting the track. What the founders didn't realize was how many friendships would be formed along the way. From wedding invitations to career help, members of the Nth Degree continue to support each other in all facets of life, on and off the track.

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